Indian Pet Journal - Online Journal of Canine, Feline & Exotic Pets
(An Initiative of Pashupati Foundation India)
Indian Pet Journal Issue October’ 2009 Volume-2 http//indianpet.vndv.com
The Reproduction Anatomy and Functions of the Female Dog
Dog Care Library*
The uterus of the female dog is not like the human uterus, which is pear, shaped. The dog uterus is Y shaped. The base of the Y is the cervix, which is usually tightly closed to prevent infection from getting into the uterus. It opens for the birthing of the puppies. The two arms of the Y called the uterine horn are where the puppies develop, each in its own individual compartment. The two oviducts sort of dangle over from the top of each arm of the Y and are each attached to the 2 ovaries where the eggs are made and then released to the oviducts when the egg is mature. The eggs are not released all at once by the ovary to the oviduct. Females are multiple ovulators, which means that they make several eggs, and release them over a period of several hours. Or even a day or so. It is the female who determines the number of puppies to be born. The male determines the sex of the puppy. The ovaries not only make the eggs, they also produce the estrogen and the progesterone hormones. The vagina extends from the uterus to and is located within the pelvic canal. This area where the sperm is deposited during breeding. The vulva is the external opening of the female reproduction tract.
Once the male has entered the vagina, the bitch tightens these muscles to hold the penis in place. This “tightening action” creates what is commonly known as a “tie”. Once the tie has occurred, you MUST WAIT until the female relaxes the muscles and breaks the tie to release the male. If you attempt to pull them apart, you will cause serious pain and damage to both the male and female dog, pulling them apart WILL NOT prevent pregnancy. By the time the female has tied the male, he has already ejaculated (deposited the sperm) and enough of the sperm are on their way to the oviducts (where her eggs wait to be impregnated) to make a pregnancy. The tie only assures that the seminal fluid will not leak back out and the slower sperm have a chance to swim up the oviducts. This Tie can last from 3-20 minutes.
Females can start to reproduce between the ages of 5 – 12 months of age. This is when most will come into their first heat cycle. The heat cycle last about 3 weeks and the female will come into heat approximately every 7 months. Week 1: The female vulva swells and secretes blood and an aroma that will attract the male dogs from miles around. Week 2: During this week the female’s vulva will still be swollen but her vaginal discharge will usually stop having visible blood this is the week that she is mostly likely to get pregnant if a male dog is bred to her. Week 3: The discharge has become less the vulva is less swollen and very little discharge if any. The female is no longer interested in males chances of her getting pregnant if bred is less likely at this stage. The female’s gestation (pregnancy) is nine weeks.
Nine weeks have passed and it now time for the impending delivery of the puppies. What signs to look for that the birthing process is about to begin. The presence of milk usually is seen about 2-7 days prior to delivery. The presence of a clear jelly like vaginal secretion is usually seen 1-3 days prior to delivery. The female’s temperature will drop from the normal 101.4 F to about 99 F within 24 hours of delivery.
ANATOMY OF THE FEMALE DOG
THE REPRODUCTIVE ANATOMY OF THE MALE DOG
Much of the male dog’s reproduction anatomy is visible on the outside, whereas the females are hidden. He should have two testicles that should be completely descended into the scrotum by 6 months of age. The testicles (testes) have bulges on either side called epididymes. This is where the sperm undergoes development and are stored there. The bulk of the sperm (semen) is produced by the Prostate gland The prostate encircles the urethra-urinary bladder junction area. The sperm., looking like Tadpoles and very temperature sensitive, are stored in the testicles which are held in the sac away from the body. Body heat as well as cold will kill sperm. The penis is used for passing urine and for transmission of semen . It is enclosed within the sheath or prepuce for protection. The penis has a small bone in it, as well as a bulb near the base on either side, which swells 5 times its size with blood, once the dog has his penis inside the female and begins ‘thrusting’ in preparation to ejaculation. Upon ejaculation, the sperm is transported to the prostate gland by the vas deferens. With in the prostate, additional fluids are added to the sperm to nourish it and aid in its transport from the penis and through the uterus. This bulbous, along with the female’s vaginal muscle, ensures that the ‘tie’ cannot be broken until all the semen is pumped from both testicles, which happens as alternative spurts from each teste. Once the tie has occurred, you must wait until the female relaxes her vaginal ‘locking’ muscle and breaks the ‘tie’. Pulling them apart will prevent pregnancy, enough sperm has entered the female to cause pregnancy. A healthy male will have 250 million to more then a billion sperm in on ejaculate of spermatic fluid. The extra sperm, if not required by an egg, will die in about 4 days.
As the puppies arrive, it is important to make sure they are in good condition and given some attention to ensure their health. The basic things that should be performed are:
ITEMS TO HAVE ON HAND DURING BIRTHING OF PUPPIES
Well the time has come for the puppies to arrive this is called whelping. Here is a list of suggested items that may be needed for the delivery.
Preferably children’s scissors to cut and trim umbilical cord. These scissors should not be to sharp or they could cause the cord to bleed.
2. BULB SYRINGE:
For removing amniotic fluid from the puppy’s nose and throat.
3. TINCTURE OF IODINE:
Helps in drying out umbilical cords. Use twice daily on cords until they fall off use and continue to use on umbilical site for one more day.
4. HAND TOWELS:
Lots of them. For drying off puppies rub the puppies firmly to stimulate them.
5. LATEX GLOVES:
In case you have to reach in and help a puppy that is stuck.
6. PUPPY BOX:
This is the box you place newborns in.
7. HEATING PAD:
To keep in the puppy box to keep puppies warm. Never raise temperature above low. Wrap heating pad in towel or flannel receiving blanket.
To listen for heartbeats and to make sure all puppies are whelped.
To weigh pups at birth. Monitor pups weight until you see them double their birth weight.
10. PEN & PAPER:
To record the time each pup is born, how much time lapse between pups. Record each placenta. Identify each pup.
COMMON REPRODUCTIVE TERMINOLOGY
When dealing with canine reproduction, the following terms may be used by veterinarians or breeders to describe the breeding and labor process:
STUD - Intact male dog, usually intended for breeding
BITCH - Intact female dog, usually intended for breeding
WHELP - Young dog or pup
LITTER - Multiple offspring born during the same labor
PARTURITION - The act of giving birth, also referred to as labor
WHELPING - Term used to describe parturition specifically in canines
GESTATION - The time between fertilization and parturition with the fetus develops in the uterus
PLACENTA - Female organ of female mammals that develops during pregnancy to allow an exchange of nutrients, oxygen, and waste products between mother and offspring, also called the afterbirth.
DYSTOCIA - Difficult birth, many different causes in which the mother cannot pass the fetus
PSEUDOPREGNANCY - False pregnancy in which a female may display signs of pregnancy 2-3 months after the heat cycle, but is not truly pregnant.
PYOMETRA - Pus or infection in the uterus, causing illness, usually requires an ovariohysterectomy
CESARIAN SECTION - Surgical removal of the offspring through an incision in the abdomen, may be required in cases of dystocia, also referred to as a c-section.
OVARIOHYSTERECTOMY - Surgical removal of the female ovaries, oviducts, and uterus, also called a spay. Commonly perfomed on dogs that are not intended for breeding and to prevent heat cycles.
CASTRATION - Surgical removal of the testes of a male, also called a neuter. Commonly performed on males that are not intended for breeding.
STAGES OF PARTURITION
As the time approaches, the female should be closely monitored for signs of parturition. The stages occur as follows:
Head first or butt first is considered normal deliveries. The time between delivery of one pup and the next is quiet variable, usually a few minutes, but it’s pretty common to have several puppies then have a more in 4-24 hours. But it is not normal for a pup to be in the actual birth canal for more than 10 minutes. If you cannot get it out with a reasonable twist and tug. Call a vet there is a problem. Do not wait to long because mom and pup could be in danger. If after labor, the afterbirth is not passed then veterinarian attention may be needed. A retained placenta can cause severe infection. The puppies should be processed as discussed earlier and be closely monitored with the mother. Observe each puppy for nursing and normal activity. Record changes in behavior and weight. The mother and puppies should be brought to the veterinarian for a check up and evaluation once the are strong enough.
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