Having a canine fertility test you can use at home is invaluable. Determining the fertile period for breeding dogs is the biggest challenge dog breeders face in consistently achieving all the big litters they want. A home fertility kit for dogs based on vaginal cytology is a great solution.
The old rule of thumb – to breed on days 9 and 11 after heat starts – works fine for only about half the bitches out there, so what about the rest? Fact is that around half of all bitches fail to show an obvious bloody discharge to mark the start of the heat (pro-estrus). Many more are also far enough away from “average” in their cycle timings to make hitting the fertile period close to impossible without expensive testing.
The good news it you can easily, quickly and inexpensively deal with this situation at home using a combination of behavioral testing and vaginal smears (detailed in the DIY Canine Fertility Kit available below).
Use Vaginal Smears to Pinpoint the Fertile Period of Breeding Dogs
The cells lining the vagina change in appearance in response to rising and falling levels of the hormone estrogen, with a lag of 3 to 6 days. So they are an effective rear-view “window” to see what stage the bitch is in in her estrus cycle and have been used routinely for decades as a canine fertility test. The practice of taking smears of the vaginal cells, staining the smears and looking at them under the microscope is called Vaginal Cytology.
When she is in estrus, nearly all the cells of the vagina are distinctively different from normal, being large and flat with sharp angled edges and a tiny or absent central dark spot (the nucleus). At all other times, such as in Pro-estrus and Di-estrus, most cells present are plump and round with a much larger dark central spot (nucleus). So once estrus is over, diestrus begins and the appearance of the vaginal smear under the microscope changes abruptly back again to soft, round plump cells with large dark nuclei, very similar to those seen in an-estrus.
How Vaginal Cytology Helps Breeders
It only takes a few minutes to prepare a vaginal smear of your bitch. As a canine fertility test, they are very useful for timing:
- When to start natural matings and knowing when to take your bitch to the dog.
- When to start artificial inseminations with freshly collected semen.
- When to start progesterone testing for artificial inseminations with chilled or frozen semen. Starting too early costs breeders a small fortune in time, vet bills and unnecessary hormone tests!
Fresh, good quality semen will last up to 6 days inside the bitch, while the eggs are only fertilisable for a small window of opportunity lasting around 3 days (approximately days 4, 5 and 6 after the onset of estrus). This underscores the importance of achieving one or more matings early in estrus. Late matings when the eggs are tired or dead will lead to very small litters or no litters at all!
Vaginal cytology will tell you when she is ready to take to the dog, thus ensuring you achieve the earlier matings that result in the biggest possible litters. On its own it does not however tell you exactly when she ovulates nor when her most fertile period is likely to be.
This DIY Canine Fertility Kit makes it quick and easy to conduct Vaginal Cytology on your own breeding dogs at home. It includes:
- Full instruction manual with colour step-by-step photographs to illustrate every part of the Vaginal Cytology procedure, from collecting the sample, making and dying the slide, examining the slide and interpreting what you see on the slide.
- Manual also shows you exactly How to Use Breeding Reflexes in the Bitch to Pinpoint the Start of Estrus – even without a male dog present.
- Educational DVD that shows you exactly how to do every step of the procedure.
- Stained example slide set comprising vaginal smears taken at Estrus and Pro-estrus/Di-estrus in my own dogs to make interpretation easier for you.
- Powerful pocket microscope now upgraded to 400 X zoom magnification.
- Professional Staining Kit comprising 3 separate staining formulations that should last you for years.
- Spare microscope slides to use with samples from your own bitches (they can be reused over and over again).
Investment is $247 including postage and will pay you back over and over again with more successful matings and bigger litters for years to come. Click here to get yours.
DIY Canine Artificial Insemination at Home
What if her breeding reflexes and vaginal smears tell you that your bitch is fully ready to breed, but she won’t? It is likely that your boy just doesn’t turn her on! If trying her with another stud just isn’t practical, don’t despair. An easy way around it is to do your own Artificial Insemination at home. Cheap, easy, quick and highly effective, DIY AI is a great skill to master.
You can get our full Canine AI Kit including instructional DVD, user’s manual and the re-usable equipment you need here.