Harry W. Momont, DVM, Ph.D., DACT, of MSD Veterinary Manual, a source of animal health information for students and practicing veterinarians, said the reproductive system of dogs consists of organs that produce offspring. It consists of primary sex organs and primary regulatory centers in males and females.
In males, the primary sex organs include the testes and genital tract. In females, the organs are the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus. The primary regulatory centers are located in the brain, and these are the pituitary gland and hypothalamus. They control hormone production, influencing the primary sex organs’ function. With that, let’s take a look at the reproductive disorders that occur in male and female dogs.
Surveys On Reproductive Disorders (2011)
T. Sathuamoorthy and Raja S. of journal portal Research Gate studied 1,283 stray dogs in Chennai city, India to assess the prevalence of reproductive disorders. The most prevalent reproductive disorder was mammary tumor, affecting 4.22% of dogs. This was followed by transmissible veneral tumor, affecting 3.90% of females and 2.69% of males. Other disorders that were prevalent among dogs were pyometra (3%), cryptorchidism (1.19%), ovarian cyst (0.48%), and ovarian tumor (0.32%). The researchers concluded that reproductive disorders were prevalent at varying degrees among stray dogs.
Ajala I. Oluwatoyin and O.E. Fayemi of Research Gate obtained clinical records from veterinary clinics and hospitals in Oyo, Osun, Ogun, Lagos, and Ekitiki States in southwestern Nigeria from 1999 to 2008. Questionnaires were also distributed to some dog owners, breeders, and veterinarians to extract more detailed information about dystocia in dogs.
Dystocia occurrence in Lagos was 7.5% (versus the occurrence rate of 92.5% in the other reproductive conditions and procedures category), followed by Osun (4.2% versus 95.8%), Oyo (2.4% versus 97.6%), Ogun (1.7% versus 98.3%), Ondo (1.5% versus 98.5%), and Ekitiki (1.5% versus 98.5%). Dystocia was highest among Alsatian dogs (61.9%), followed by local dogs (23.8%), Rotweiller (9.5%), and local pitbull (4.8%).
The top indications for seeking veterinary help when bitches had dystocia were lack of straining when pregnancy as termed (23.8%), weak straining (23.8%), and ceased straining (23.8%). Other causes of said disorder were missing data (14.3%), strong straining with notdelivery of puppy (9.5%) and other reasons (4.8%). The top causes of dystocia were maternal (52.2%) and fetal (43.5%). The methods of treatment included caesarian section (37.5%), Oxytocin injection (33.3%), forceps delivery (16.6%), and calcium injection (12.5%).
The researchers observed that many dog owners and breeders consulted a veterinarian when their dogs were afflicted with health problems. More enlightenment campaigns should be launched in the region to educate clients on the significance of routine veterinary care. Breeding education should also be done to inform clients. The government should pay attention to animal healthcare with regard to improving the facilities of veterinary hospitals.
Reproductive Disorders Among Female Dogs
Dystocia can be caused by uterine problems, a too-small birth canal, an oversized fetus, or abnormal position of the fetus during birth, explained Mushtaq A. Memon, BVSc, Ph.D., DACT, of MSD Veterinary Manual. Dystocia should be considered if your dog has a history of dystocia, if the birth does not occur within 24 hours of a drop in rectal temperature to below 100 F, if there has been continuous strong contraction for over one to two hours with no birth, or if there has been active labor for over one to two hours without a birth.
Other factors you should take note of are pain or illness and abnormal discharge from the vulvar area. Once the causes have been identified by your vet, they can determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your dog. An x-ray or an ultrasonography can be done to show how many fetuses are present. Medication may aid the labor progress if your dog and its fetuses are still in stable condition and if there is no obstruction. Otherwise, surgery is performed.
2. False Pregnancy (Pseudopregnancy)
This occurs at the end of the heat cycle. False pregnancy is indicated by weight gain, enlarged abdomen, swelling of the mammary glands, milk production, and changes in behavior. Some dogs behave as if they have delivered puppies, nesting inanimate objects and refusing to eat. Your vet will rule out the possibility of true pregnancy by checking your pet’s medical history or conducting physical examinations, x-rays, and ultrasonography.
False pregnancy usually goes away in one to three weeks, so treatment is not recommended. Avoid milking out the mammary glands as this will lead to increased milk production. However, treatment can be administered if your pet is uncomfortable due to milk production or if it exhibits troublesome behavior.
Also known as the inflammation of the vagina, it may happen before puberty or in adult dogs. However, vaginitis is more prevalent in puppies. This condition occurs due to bacterial infection, but viral infections, vaginal foreign bodies, or cancer may also lead to vaginitis. The most common symptom of vaginitis is discharge from the vulva, frequent urination, and attracting males.
Dogs with vaginitis appear healthy. Even so, vaginitis can be diagnosed with physical exams, endoscopy, x-rays, ultrasonography, and lab tests. Vaginitis in puppies usually resolves on its own once they physically mature. Antibiotics are prescribed if vaginitis persists.
Reproductive Disorders Among Male Dogs
This refers to the failure of one or both testicles to descends into the scrotum, according to Autumn P. Davidson, DVM, MS, DACVIM, of MSD Veterinary Manual. As a common disorder of sexual development among canines, it can be inherited from either of your dog’s parents. Your dog is sterile if both testicles are affected. In the case of unilateral cryptorchidism, it can still mate normally as the normal testicle can still produce sperm. Since cryptorchidism is inherited, dogs afflicted with this condition should not be used for breeding.
This is the inability to completely retract the penis into the preputial cavity, which oftentimes occurs after erection. Paraphimosis is usually observed after semen collection or breeding. Blood circulation is impaired when the skin at the preputial opening traps the penis. Other causes include a small preputial opening, foreign material around the penis, trauma to the penis, and a constricting band of hair at the preputial opening.
Paraphimosis should be treated quickly since the penis becomes swollen, dry, and painful. This condition can be easily treated if paraphimosis is recognized early, particularly before severe swelling and pain occurs. Treatment plans include gentle cleansing and lubrication of the exposed penis. Once circulation is restored, it is replaced inside the prepuce, thereby resolving the swelling. However, severe cases of paraphimosis may require surgery or additional treatments.
This is a persistent erection that is caused by sexual stimulation. A physical exam is performed to diagnose priapism. It is caused by neurologic dysfunction, blood vessel abnormalities, masses on the penis, or trauma. Priapism can also occur due to an unknown cause, noted Davidson. Priapism is considered a medical emergency if the blood circulation is blocked. Neutering does not help, but some medications may help cure priapism.
Watch out for any signs and symptoms of reproductive disorders, as some conditions require immediate medical attention. Consult your vet for a diagnosis and early intervention so that they can provide you with medications to help alleviate the condition.