Dog Breeding - Stud Dog ProblemsBreeding dog issues center on low sperm count or volume most of the time, but the causes must be addressed. Males make sperm constantly; sperm matures in the epididymis at the base of the testicle where it is stored until needed. This process takes 45 to 60 days, so if a dog runs a fever or has testicular trauma, the stored sperm will die, and the dog will ejaculate dead sperm for a 60 day minimum.
InfertilityInfertility is the inability to settle females, and it can be caused by a mechanical issue. An exam is needed to rule out abnormality of the penis, sheath or testes or epididymis – looking for anything that can block the transfer of sperm through the urethra. Often, trauma is difficult to overcome and overlooked until infertility happens.
BrucellosisBrucellosis causes testicular swelling, early soreness and infertility. The RAST slide test can be run in the veterinary clinic to rule out Brucellosis. It is very sensitive but can give false positives. Any positive should be confirmed with another test before moving forward. If negative, we can feel comfortable moving on to treatment.
Sick Stud DogSickness and fever are major issues with stud dogs. If males run a fever, stored sperm will die so sick males should be addressed immediately. We need to bring the fever down and use an appropriate antibiotic to correct the infection. If the fever reaches 103º or 104ºF, males may be infertile for 45 to 60 days. They will have sperm, but it will all be dead. When ill, monitor the fever and the effectiveness of the antibiotic for several days and evaluate sperm motility after recovery.
Urinary tract issues can cause infertility in males over five years of age, in spite of keeping the fever down. Use a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) to keep the fever in check, and put them on enrofloxacin or Clavamox. If you do not know the cause, go straight to enrofloxacin.
Stud dog fertility peaks at five years. If the stud is over five years old and has fertility issues, prostate must be ruled out.
ProstatitisThe prostate is the only accessory sex organ in the dog. Prostatic fluid is the largest component of semen volume. Prostate issues are common in males over four years of age and can be diagnosed with a rectal exam. Infected prostatic fluid and the white blood cells it contains can kill much of the sperm. There are few signs of prostatic disease, but you should always be suspicious if the stud dog is dribbling or has recurrent urinary tract infection. Rule out prostate issues any time you have a stud dog reluctant to breed, dribbling from prepuce, with stiff back legs, or showing blood or pus in semen, which are both toxic to sperm.
The treatment for prostatitis is long-term antibiotics (four week minimum) and monitoring to make sure the semen clears. Sulfa-trimeth or enrofloxacin are commonly used. Painful breeding passes when prostate swelling goes down. In severe cases, castration is the only good treatment to solve the issue.
Low Sperm NumbersLow numbers of sperm are common and must be investigated. This can be corrected if cause is removed and the testicle is given nutritional support.
- Frequent breeding can lower sperm count. The reason is daily sperm production can't keep up with demand. This can be corrected with rest and Oxy Stud™ nutritional support. Remember, you can use males once a day without dropping sperm count.
- Recent testicular insult is more common and must be observed to ensure recovery. Many of these dogs will completely eliminate sperm if we do not address the cause. Any infection, inflammation or trauma must be corrected if possible, and sperm production should be supported with Oxy Stud™ to avoid scaring of testicular tissue.
- Partial obstruction can be caused by trauma or testicular tumor. Palpation of the testicle (feeling for issues) may find the issue. Even dogs with a testicle tumor can regain fertility if one testicle is removed and the remaining one is nutritionally supported to increase sperm production.
Sub-Fertile - Common
- Post-infection with dead sperm or very few sperm produced is common.
- Sometimes for no good reason, males do not have enough sperm or volume to be considered fertile.
- Trauma needs the free radical scavenging of grape seed extract and traces of vitamin E and selenium to prevent permanent injury to cells. Literally, it keeps testicular cells from "rusting," while L-Carnitine, zinc and vitamin D work to support healing.
- After two weeks on Oxy Stud™, collect male sperm twice a week for two weeks. Collecting the dead or damaged sperm will stimulate testicle cells to produce new.
- Run sperm count in 60 days to confirm viable numbers of normal sperm to settle female.
- Five-year-old males benefit from Oxy Stud™ to maintain sperm counts. Sperm-producing cells want to decrease production with age. Oxy Stud™ will help maintain production as they age.
Dead SpermDead sperm means something killed the sperm after production by the testicle. A common cause is latex toxicity from syringe or soap and disinfectant in reuse of equipment. You cannot use disinfectants on AI equipment without residue! The use of a Disposable Artificial Insemination Kit solves the issue!
Acquired DysfunctionPreviously normal males suddenly becoming infertile with no sperm at all is rare, but it does happen. One cause is males develop antibodies to sperm, causing the immune system to kill sperm with resulting testicular inflammation. Autoantibodies to sperm are described in certain families of Labradors, Shelties and Welsh Springer Spaniels. You can prove the presence of antibodies to the sperm in the blood and confirm the cause, but there is no treatment. The testicle can be sore and swollen, so Brucellosis must be ruled out.
Passing your male's genetics on to his puppies depends on a high level of sperm production. Protect your males. Remove infection or trauma and use Oxy Stud™ to keep damaged cells from "rusting" and to stimulate the production of healthy sperm. Using Oxy Stud™ once a day can help you manage your stud dogs and keep them breeding effectively!
If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.
- Dr. B
Don Bramlage, DVM, Director of Veterinary Services at Revival Animal Health
The materials, information and answers provided through this website are not intended to replace the medical advice or services of your personal veterinarian or other pet health care professional. Consult your own veterinarian for answers to specific medical questions, including diagnosis, treatment, therapy or medical attention.