Soundness Examination of the Dog
- The identification is not only important for
the medical records, but is essential in the case of a pre-purchase
- Failure to positively identify an animal could
cause legal problems in the future.
Physical Exam General
- Has the dog ever been bred?
- Has he ever sired a litter? If has bred, but
never sired a litter, you may consider congenital infertility.
- If he has sired litters, and is now infertile
you may consider acquired infertility.
- Frequency of use
- Every other day breeding is usually
- Breeding more than that may be overusing the
- Has there been any exogenous drug therapy
- What is the dog's habitat?
- Is he in a kennel?
- Is he housed with bitch? If so, the bitch may
- Is he 'mommies little boy', who has not had any
- Has he had any exposure to sex?
- Has he been punished for showing sexual
- Has his libido changed?
- Has he ever been shown?
- Does he have any endocrine disease?
- Look for signs of endocrine problems.
- Check for any congenital disorders that would
make him an unsuitable potential breeder.
- Reproductive Exam
- Check for shape, size, and consistency.
bad way to measure dog testes.
good way to measure dog testes.
- Testicular asymmetry can be indicative of
- The normal size of the testes can be estimated
using the equation:
- log Scrotal Width = 0.324(log Body Weight) +
- Check to make sure he is not cryptorchid.
testes should be present by 16 weeks.
- You can give them 6 months,
but they probably will not descend.
- There is generally no acceptable
treatment, but hCG is cited to help (100-1000 IU 2 times/week for 2
weeks) at less than 16 weeks of age
this link out about testicular prostheses for those of you who are
- Check for abnormalities, including:
- Short Sheath
- Short Penis
- Priapism - Seen
with Spinal Injury
- Os Penis -Fractures,
- B. canis - covered in bitch notes.
canis status of the male should be
ascertained. The rapid slide agglutination test has many false
positives and a true positive titer may wane over time.
- It is recommended that the dog have five days
of sexual rest before obtaining a semen sample for evaluation.
Conversely, if the dog has not ejaculated within ten days, a higher
than normal number of detached heads and distal droplets will be
seen because of prolonged storage.
- This problem will normally
resolve if a second ejaculate is collected.
Click to see 'semen collection'
- Use a rubber cone and collection tube or a
disposable plastic cone with end sealed.
- Slide the prepuce over the bulbous glandis.
(Erection normally occurs after intromission into the vagina.)
the cone over penis and apply a gentle 'stoke' pressure to penis, bulbous.
- Three portions to ejaculate
- Pre-sperm is the clear, first portion seen
during the initial thrusts.
- Sperm rich -
White portion seen during thrusts.
- Prostatic portion
- Clear portion seen when thrusting is
done. It may be seen after the 'stepover', when the dogs are rear to
- The prostatic portion is not needed for
can be collected to evaluate the prostate.
Problems with collection
No interest by male
- An estrus bitch is helpful for collection.
- Sperm numbers have been found to be greater if
an estrual bitch is present.
- You can give estrogen to ovariectomized bitch,
but there are potential problems doing this.
- You can use the dog pheromone, hydroxy benzoic
acid, or ICG's 'Eau d' Estrus', or frozen swabs from an estrual
- Recent work
from VPI shows that 0.1 mg/kg PGF2alpha 15 minutes prior
to semen collection significantly increased sperm output over that
of saline or GnRH or oxytocin treated males. No comparisons were
made with estrual bitches.
- The swabs usually give a better response than
synthetic chemicals. These attempts may help, or may not.
- There may be technique problems in the
collectors performance, such as being too vigorous or not vigorous
- The dog may be in an unfamiliar environment,
such as a clinic. The distractions at a clinic include the smells,
noise, and 'gapers'.
- It may be better to not have the owner present,
or it may be better to have the owner present, or it may make
difference at all.
- Poor sexual experience, pain with sex resulting
from orchitis, prostatitis, lumbar and stifle pain may hinder
- At the 1992 Annual Meeting of the Society for
Theriogenology, guidelines for the breeding soundness examination of
the dog and a canine semen evaluation form were introduced.
- The first step in semen evaluation is to
examine the color of the different fractions (Fraction 1 - F1,
Fraction 2 - F2 and Fraction 3 - F3). F1 and F3 should be clear,
whereas F2 should be cloudy.
- Yellow, brown or red samples may indicate the
presence of urine or blood, respectively.
- Always remember to use warm slides and
equipment when examining semen samples for motility.
- A cytologic examination of the non-sperm cells
(F2 and F3) can be made by smearing a drop of semen and staining it
with modified Wright's (e.g. DiffQuick). White cells indicate an
inflammatory process and a culture may be indicated.
- Macrophage -
associated with azoospermia
||0.4 - 3.0
||1.0 - 2.0
||6.1 - 7.0
||8.2 - 8.4
||6.1 - 8.9
||6.5 - 8.7
|Total Sperm (106)
||390 (200 acceptable)
|Normal cells (%)
- The standards set forth by the Society for
Theriogenology are not absolute and do not guarantee fertility or
sterility, but are set forth as guidelines for the practicing
veterinarian to use as a standard method to evaluate a dog's
- Canine semen evaluation forms are available
from the Society for Theriogenology.
Breeding with Fresh Semen
requires no special treatment of the semen
Always examine the ejaculate
The prostatic portion
is not needed - you may want it to increase the volume
You may want to extend
to have an easier volume to handle (usually do not want more that
5 to 6 cc.
as low as 2.2 ml and up to 3.6-3.9 ml have been reported to
yield good pregnancy rates.
should be around 90% if the bitch is bred every other day while in
least 220 x 106cells
need to be inseminated to achieve optimum fertility.
AI on 3 consecutive days after acceptance of the male by the
female using 50 x 106 spermatozoa in fresh semen
extended 1:4 for each breeding resulted in lower fertility
(20%) than AI on 3 consecutive days with 200 x 106 cells
of fresh semen extended 1:1 (80%) or natural mating (80 %).
Vaginal AI is
has been shown that if AI is performed twice, rather than once,
around the time of best fertility conception rate is significantly
also appeared to be a trend toward increasing pregnancy rates when
the number of inseminations increased
when the dogs have normal fertility is not needed
has been shown to help when fertility is low
Breeding with Chilled Semen
AKC requires the proper paperwork
to be completed, as well as DNA identification of the stud and the
bitch before a litter can be registered.
Ovulation timing in the bitch is
It may take 1-2 weeks to train a
male to ejaculate in a veterinary office without an estrual bitch
present. Therefore, it is ideal for the dog to have had semen
collected and to be familiar with the collection procedure long before
any semen is actually needed.
It is also advisable to prepare a
“test shipment” in advance.
A semen sample should be
extended, stored a minimum of 24 hours in the container that will
be used for transport, and evaluated after 24 hours to ensure that
extension and storage do not have detrimental effects on the semen
Not all males’ semen
will respond to extending, cooling and storage in a similar
fashion, and this ‘test shipment’ will determine the viability
of the sperm after extension and cooling.
Not only must the male be trained,
but also shipping company schedules and venues to which they ship need
to be carefully assessed well before the need arises.
Some destinations are
serviced by shipping companies and some are best served by
counter-to-counter airline shipments.
In some cases shipments
cannot be sent out on the appropriate day and in others
shipments cannot be delivered on the appropriate day.
Semen is analyzed
semen extender is added to the ejaculate, usually 1:1.
extenders provide an energy source and buffers that enhance the
survival of chilled sperm cells.
can be obtained from commercial sources that are manufactured
exclusively for extending canine semen (Synbiotics, San Diego, CA
92127; CLONE, Chester Springs, PA 19425; Camelot Farms, College
Station, TX 77842; International Canine Semen Bank, P.O. Box
651,Sandy, OR 97055),
semen (Lane Mfg., Denver, CO 80231; IMV Intl, Minneapolis, MN
55430) work well and are much cheaper.
semen extenders can also be prepared, however proper laboratory
extender must be pre-warmed before adding it to the semen or the
spermatozoa will suffer cold-shock.
prostatic portion of the ejaculate may have detrimental effects on
the storage of canine sperm cells,
found no detrimental effects on pregnancy rate or fecundity when
whole ejaculates were extended 1:1 and inseminated after 24 or 48
hours of storage.
the entire prostatic portion of the ejaculate is collected and the
semen is extended, the volume of the resulting extended semen may
be such that it cannot be completely inseminated without some
LSU research (EVSSAR 2007 Estoril, Portugal)
Semen collected from 6 dogs and extended in INRA 96 for horses
Diluted 1:1 and:
Prostatic fluid and centrifugation have no effect on the membrane integrity of the cells when semen is extended in a commercial equine extender.
Semen extended should have the prostatic fluid removed before storage and it should be stored at a relatively high concentration.
If a sample does arrive that has a large volume because the prostatic portion was included in the extended semen, centrifugation to remove the prostatic fluid yields progressive motility that is not different from removing the prostatic fluid before extension.
designed to ship semen can be obtained from many of the same
sources that provide canine semen extenders. (Synbiotics, San
Diego, CA 92127; CLONE, Chester Springs, PA 19425; Camelot Farms,
College Station, TX 77842; Bio-Flite, Anaheim Hills, CA 92807;
International Canine Semen Bank, P.O. Box 651, Sandy, OR
containers usually consist of a Styrofoam box, an ice pack, and
container for the semen.
commercially available semen containers maintain semen well enough
that acceptable pregnancy rates result.
available shipping containers offer a predictable, attractive and
easy way to ship semen.
of these containers are relatively expensive when compared to the
disposable equine shipping containers.
commercially available (although no longer marketed)
disposable equine shipping container allowed storage of
extended canine semen for up to 48 hours and the resulting
pregnancy rates were equivalent to AI with fresh semen.
have used other brands of
disposable equine semen
shippers and have had good success in maintaining semen
advantage of the equine shippers is their lower cost than the
canine semen shippers
semen need not be warmed prior to AI.
is recommended to save a small aliquot of the semen for evaluation.
Same as natural breeding if
sufficient spermatozoa are inseminated at the proper time.
Vaginal AI on 3 consecutive
days with 200 x 106
with semen extended 1:1 and stored for 24 hours gave the same
pregnancy rates as natural mating using the same breeding schedule
50 x 106 cells extended 1:4 and stored for 24
hours resulted in lower fertility (20%).
Reports from Sweden that
summarized data from chilled semen inseminations show pregnancy
rates can vary from 28-60% depending upon the type of extender
Pregnancy rates are lower when
ovulation is timed and the number of breedings is limited compared
to the 90-100% conception rates when an average of 3.9 breedings
of 250-350 x 106 cells/breeding
were used by us.
AKC requires the proper paperwork
to be completed, as well as DNA identification of the stud and the
bitch before a litter can be registered.
simple method to freeze canine semen that is currently used by the
authors’ laboratory is as follows:
the semen is collected, a complete analysis is performed.
the evaluation process, the semen is diluted 1:1 using a
commercially available semen refrigeration extender (Refrigeration
Media - TEST Yolk Buffer (TYB) - 9972 - Irvine Scientific, Santa
Ana, CA 92705-5588) and centrifuged for 10 minutes at 900 x
centrifugation the supernatant is removed and the pellet is
resuspended to a concentration of 400 x 106 cells/ml
using the same refrigeration extender.
standardized semen sample is then placed in a 5o C
refrigerator for one hour.
the hour of cooling, an appropriate number of 0.5 ml French straws
are labeled with all the data required by the dog’s registry
(name, registration number, breed, date, collection facility,
one hour, a commercial freezing extender containing 12% glycerol
(Freezing Medium - TEST Yolk Buffer (TYB) with Glycerol - 9971 -
Irvine Scientific, 92705-5588) that has also been kept at 5o
C is added to the cooled semen solution
at 1:1, v:v, to make a final concentration of
200 x 106 cells/ml containing 6% glycerol.
a 5o C cold box, the 0.5 ml straws are then filled and
the ends are sealed.
straws are then placed on a screen that is attached to a 3 cm
thick Styrofoam frame, which is floating in liquid nitrogen.
10 minutes, the straws are plunged into the liquid nitrogen before
Semen is stored at -196o C in commercially available liquid nitrogen tanks.
Storage and inventory are critical aspects of frozen semen use. Meticulous records must be kept as to the location and number of straws frozen from each male.
The liquid nitrogen must be routinely monitored to ensure that there is sufficient liquid nitrogen to maintain the temperature at -196o C. If frost starts to accumulate on the tank, the semen should be transferred immediately to a new tank and the damaged tank discarded.
Most dog breed associations are not as concerned about the quality of the frozen semen as they are about identification of the semen. The quality control of the final product is dependent upon on the integrity of the freezing facility.
Frozen semen is usually shipped in ‘dry dewars’.
These are small tanks that do not contain any liquid nitrogen, but keep the sample at -196o C for a short (e.g. 1 to 2 weeks) period of time.
Since there is no liquid in the tanks, the airlines and shipping companies will allow their shipment, unlike liquid nitrogen tanks.
If a liquid nitrogen tank is available at the shipping destination, the semen may be shipped well in advance and transferred to the liquid nitrogen tank upon arrival.
If, however, a liquid nitrogen tank is not available at the insemination site, shipment should be timed in accordance with the intended date of insemination.
in the Dog
procedures for frozen semen vary as much as freezing
thaw straws at 50o C for 10 seconds.
facilities recommend thawing at lower temperatures for a longer
recommend adding thawing media during the thaw.
to use the freezing facility’s recommendation
- It is a heritable condition (sex limited
autosomal recessive....action not really understood).
- The testes have normally descended by 10 days,
but we usually give them 16 weeks.
- If the condition is bilateral, the increased
temperature destroys the germinal cells and there is primary
spermatogenesis failure, because the germinal layer disrupted.
results in inhibin being low, so FSH is high (> 15 picograms).
- The Leydig cells
are normal, so the testosterone and LH concentrations are normal,
which gives normal libido.
- Diagnosis is by palpation, ultrasound, and blood tests
- LH testing - Witness LH
- A small study of intact (n=6) and castrated (n=3) post-pubertal male dogs Samples collected from all of the intact male dogs were ≤1 ng/mL (negative) whereas samples collected from all of the castrated male dogs were >1 ng/mL (positive). No cryptorchids were done and the time from castration was not noted. Interesting, but needs further testing to confirm.
ng/ml, whereas adult dogs with one or two scrotal testes
usually have serum testosteroue of 1-5 ng/ml.
a pretest blood sample.
either hCG (100 IU intramuscularly) or GnRH (50 ug
post test samples 12 and 24 hours later.
twofold to fourfold increase from the baseline value is
- There is no treatment but:
- 100-1000 IU hCG IM 4 times in 2 weeks
resulted in 85% descending in vs 0% in the controls if the dog
was < 16 weeks
- Should recommend castration as there is an
increase incidence of neoplasia in retained testes and the
condition is heritable
Nutriceuticals to treat sperm problems
I do not recommend these, but
this is information that clients will have and will request that you
try. None of this information has been documented. The mechanism of
action has not been documented and the effects of many supplements
on canine semen quality are currently unsubstantiated. This
information was summarized by Milan Hess (Theriogenology 66
Glyco-Flex® and other
Omega 3 fatty acids and
suggest a form of Omega 3 fatty acid supplementation to
enhanced semen quality.
OM3 Gold® (Cepav
Laboratories, Säo Paulo, SP, Brazil;
acid, linolenic acid, oleic acid and Vitamin E.
Anecedotaly 50% of
dogs with a high percentage of proximal droplets will
show significant improvement after 6 weeks of treatment
with OM3 Gold
Vitamins C and E for their
potential beneficial effects on semen quality.
Docosahex-aenoic acid (DHA)
Stallions fed a DHA
supplement had improvements in motility following cooling
America, Inc., Minneapolis, MN, US A)
concentration, total sperm number in the ejaculate and
sperm motility in the boar
Contains DHA, Vitamin
E and selenium
Advocated as a
treatment for subfertility in the dog by one clinician
Cell Advance® (Vetri-Science)
Motility Plus* (Platinum
Performance, Buellton, CA, USA)
Urinalysis - for sperm cells
Alkaline phosphatase of semen375577
- The Alkaline phosphatase is normally
5,000-40,000, which indicates the ejaculate came from the epididymis.
- If it is lower, then the ejaculate may not
contain a fraction from the epididymis. This could indicate a
blockage of the ductus deferens.
- Using a 25 ga needle you can aspirate the tail
of the epididymis to check for the presence of sperm cells.
- You can use a Trucut needle, and take a biopsy
of the testis.
- Research at LSU has shown that the epididymal
aspirate and testicular biopsy do not decrease sperm output and only
cause transient antisperm antibodies.
- This is caused by an internal urethral
- You see no cells in the ejaculate, but cells
are in the bladder after ejaculation.
- Do a UA to check for sperm cells in the urine.
- Treatment includes sympathomimetics
- pheynylpropylalamine - 3 mg/kg PO BID
- pseudoephedrine - 4-5 mg/kg PO TID or 1 and
3 hours before collection
- There may be congenital problems (testicular
aplasia, ductus or epididymal aplasia, or a congenital weakness of
the sphincter that allows the ejaculate to enter the bladder.
- Check for chromosome abnormalities.
- The dog may be an intersex. This is associated
with cryptorchidism occasionally.
- The germ cells are absent completely , or the
dog may be oligospermic.
- The Leydig cells are present, so libido is
- Wait until the dog is 2 years of age to condemn
him for small testes.
- Do a testicular biopsy.
- The prognosis depends on if any germ cells are
- LH normal to slightly elevated
- Should be high
- Release is episodic so take 3 samples at 20
minute intervals 10 minutes after 250 ng/kg GNRH
- 'Normals' (labs do not readily run this
- FSH - 62-293
- BET labs - canine validated? (Send in normal to compare)
Sertoli Cell Only Syndrome
- In this condition there are only sertoli cells
in the tubules.
- The FSH is high
- This may cause testicular degeneration if the
blockage is at the head of the epididymis.
- LH and FSH are normal if there is no
degeneration, but the condition needs to be bilateral to cause
- An epididymal aspirate may help confirm the
- This is caused by a pituitary dysfunction.
- It may be congenital, caused by trauma or
- The FSH and LH are low.
- On biopsy all testicular cells are cells
- Treatment may be hCG or androgens.
- This is seen in hard worked dogs (field trial)
- There are no cells in the ejaculate.
- GnRH is low in marathon runners (male and
female humans), is it low in dogs ???
- Treatment is to back off the exercise.
- This decreases sperm output via feedback on the
- If a dog is > 10 years old, litters are not
recognized by AKC (unless DVM confirms).
- may be end product after progression through acquired
acute disease and oligospermia
Primary Spermatogenesis Failure
- You may see some cells if the germinal tissue
is on its way out.
- These dogs may respond to Clomid (a non
steroidal estrogen that releases GnRH)
Leydig Cell Failure
- Plasma testosterone may be normal, but usually
libido decreases and LH increases. Since testosterone is needed for
spermatogenesis, the sperm cell production goes down.
Immune Mediated Orchitis
- This results after damage to the blood testis
- Antibodies develop and the testis degenerates.
- Possibly hereditary in Labs
- See infiltration of lymphcytes in testicular
- This results from sperm accumulation in blind
pockets and a gradual inflammatory response that results.
- It resembles duct blockage and signs depend
upon the site blocked.
Inguinal Scrotal Hernia
- Normally seen as a painless swelling in the
- The hernia may impair temperature regulation of
the testes so you may see oligospermia.
- Treatment is to castrate, because the condition
- The testosterone may be normal, and exogenous
testosterone is harmful.
- It may be a primary testicular failure.
- Leydig cells lost (also germinal cells)
- LH is high.
- HCG can help differentiate. HCG should
stimulate an increase in testosterone output.
Leydig cell failure
- You usually other signs seen first.
Acute problems Orchioepididymitis
- It is usually caused by trauma, septicemia, or
- B. canis is a ruleout
- You see acute pain at first and swollen testes.
You eventually see a range of testicular degeneration.
- It may become a chronic problem.
- You must rule out Brucella at a semen
evaluation. Use the RSAT (may be early false negatives, so culture may be better)
- Castrate after the animal is stabilized.
- Unilateral castration.
- If you do not castrate, use anti-inflammatory
drugs and hydrotherapy.
Testicular torsion (actually torsion of
the spermatic cord)
- It is seen in abdominal testes mostly.
- It is often associated with neoplasia of the
retained testes and is rare in scrotal testes.
- You see a dog with pain in the abdomen.
- The treatment is exploratory surgery and
Inguinal scrotal hernia
Penile, testicular, and prepuce
problems in the Dog
- This may present as a dog with an acute
- Most dogs with testicular tumors are greater
than 10 years if the testis is scrotal. They may be younger if the
testis is retained.
- They are in retained abdominal testes mostly.
(The heat destroys germinal cells.)
- About 10 % are malignant.
- There is estrogen production that causes
feminization in about 25% of the cases.
- There is atrophy of the contralateral testis.
- There may be bone marrow aplasia from the
- Theses are from the Leydig cell.
- Normally they are benign incidental findings.
- Again, these are usually benign and in inguinal
Transmissible Venereal Tumor (TVT)
Posthitis (inflammation of the penis)360546-549
- Usually have balanoposthitis (inflammation of
the penis and prepuce)
- Cannot get it out preputial orifice
- Treat by opening the orifice.
- Cannot get it in.
- This is one of the few male genital
- You must get it back in (surgically if needed)
and remove the cause.
- May need to amputate
- Priapism is erection unrelated to lust.
- It has only been reported in cases of spinal
- No reports of dogs successfully breeding after
- Generally it is caused by trauma or licking.
- Treat by replacing or excising the end of the
- Some discharge of 'pus' is normal.
- Urogenital Anomalies Rare
- Urinary Infections
- Urinary Infections
- Inflamation of penis and prepuce
Canine Prostatitis covered in medicine
- No sperm changes were seen experimentally after
induced prostatic disease.
- Semen is probably OK, but dog may refuse to