Educational Articles

Dogs + Breeding

  • This handout discusses the growing trend for designer dog breeds – the crossing of pure dog breeds to create dogs that combine “the best of both worlds.” The pros and cons of this practice are highlighted, along with some of the more common designer breeds currently available.

  • This handout discusses the need for ensuring your pregnant dog is receiving adequate nutrition to make sure both she and her puppies thrive during this time of increased demands on her body. Feeding and diet suggestions are provided.

  • All dogs evolved from a common ancestor and over the course of tens of thousands of years, evolution (mainly driven by humans looking for specific behaviors and characteristics) created the multitude of breeds in existence today. Humans started breeding dogs for pleasure in the 19th century and this led to dog shows and an intense diversification of the dog species into over 400 breeds recognized today. DNA tests can be performed on mixed breed dogs to determine their breed ancestry.

  • Hemophilia A and B are clotting disorders involving a deficiency of a specific clotting factor (A: Factor VIII, B: Factor IX) needed for appropriate homeostasis. They are caused by a sex-linked recessive genetic mutation. Affected dogs will show inappropriate hemorrhage including bruising, lameness induced by bleeding into joints and body cavity hemorrhage. It can be diagnosed with a slow APTT and demonstrating low levels of the factor involved. Hemophilia A is more common than B and is generally, more severe. Because it is sex-linked recessive, males are more likely to be affected than females but females still act as carriers, so genetic screening is important prior to breeding to prevent this disease.

  • There are many possible causes of infertility in female dogs, including behavioral, physical, and medical factors. Your veterinarian will perform a thorough examination and testing to diagnose the reason for your female dog's infertility, and treatment will depend on the underlying cause.

  • There are many possible causes of infertility in male dogs, including behavioral, physical, and medical factors. Your veterinarian will perform a thorough examination and testing to diagnose the reason for your male dog's infertility, and treatment will depend on the underlying cause.

  • Miscarriage refers to the death of a fetus during pregnancy. Miscarriages that occur early in pregnancy may be completely asymptomatic, while later-term miscarriages may result in stillborn puppies or mummification. Miscarriage can be caused by infection or hormonal influences. Diagnosis is key to appropriate management. If a dog develops a fever during pregnancy antibiotics may prevent miscarriage.

  • Many herding breeds (most commonly Collies and Australian Shepherds) have a mutation at the MDR1 gene that makes them more sensitive to the negative effects of certain medications. These drugs include several antiparasitic agents (when given at high doses), the antidiarrheal agent loperamide (Imodium®), and several anticancer drugs. The effects of the mutation vary in severity, depending on whether the dog carries one or two copies of the mutation. There is a cheek swab or a commercially-available test that assesses blood samples for the presence of the MDR1 mutation.

  • Although uncommon, cats and dogs are at risk for several diseases during the two months of their pregnancy. Pre-eclampsia occurs if the mothers cannot keep up with the demand for calcium to produce bones and milk. Gestational diabetes can occur due to high concentrations of hormones and result in increased drinking, urination, inappropriate weight loss and lethargy. Mastitis is a bacterial infection of one or more mammary glands that is contracted either through the blood (sepsis) or from the external environment from unsanitary conditions and/or injury from babies’ teeth or nails. Retained placentas can occur and will result in lethargy, pyrexia and abnormal vulvar discharge. Be aware of the signs, symptoms and management for all four conditions.