Breeding, Pharmacy Tips, Reproductive Health Advice

Cabergoline and Bromocriptine for Canine Reproduction

If your female dog is not going into heat, you’ll first want to look into drug-free options that typically solve the problem. However, if you’ve tried drug-free options and she still isn’t going into heat, you may want to ask your veterinarian about prescription cabergoline or bromocriptine.

Both of these drugs induce estrous heat by removing what is inhibiting the cycle, rather than by attempting to drag the female into heat. It’s important to note though that pregnancy rates may be lower in induced cycles than in naturally occurring estrous.

Cabergoline for Dogs

Cabergoline for dogs is preferred over bromocriptine because it has a longer duration of action and is less likely to cause vomiting. Cabergoline, or Dostinex, is given orally once daily for 10 days. If the female has not started her estrous cycle by day 10, it is continued at the same dose every other day for 10 additional days. Approximately 70 percent of the females treated will show signs of estrous within 30 days of starting cabergoline. Cabergoline is also used to treat canine mastitis and as a treatment prior to breast tumor surgery.

Bromocriptine for Dogs

Bromocriptine costs less than cabergoline and is more likely to cause vomiting, but can be an effective alternative. Neither cabergoline nor bromocriptine should be used in dogs or cats that could be pregnant as this will cause the female to abort her litter.

Inducing Heat in Dogs

Watch the female carefully for heat once either of these medications are started. Induced heat cycles tend to be different than natural heats. She is likely to ovulate sooner and have a more rapid rise in her progesterone once the heat cycle starts. Start progesterone testing on day three of the induced heat and then test again every other day. Also, be certain the male dog is going to be available before you initiate the medication. You would be disappointed to have a heat cycle and no male available at the time she is ready to breed.

If you have questions on canine reproduction, call a Revival Pet Care Pro at 800.786.4751.

Written by: Marty Greer, DVM

Director of Veterinary Services

Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, has 40+ years’ experience in veterinary medicine, with special interests in canine reproduction and pediatrics. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 1981. She’s served as Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services since 2019. In 2023, Dr. Greer was named the Westminster Kennel Club Veterinarian of the Year.

If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.