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Fertilization is a complex process that requires a normal heat cycle, ovulation of normal eggs, a healthy reproductive tract, successful embryo implantation in the uterine lining, normal fetal development, and successful pregnancy maintenance and delivery. If any part of that process is hindered or interrupted, it could result in infertility.

Infertility in female dogs is most commonly the result of improper breed management or male infertility, but can be the result of something more serious, such as ovarian cysts or tumors, hormonal problems, and infectious diseases. Possible symptoms include refusal to breed, failure to cycle, split heats, and uterine infections.

Treatment depends largely on the symptoms and cause of the condition, but may include hormone administration, antibiotics, or surgery. Depending on the cause prognosis can range from good to bad.


Infertility can affect dogs of all ages, but tends to be more common among older dogs. An underlying cystic endometrial hyperplasia — uterine cysts — is more common among dogs past the age of six. Dogs that have had previous uterine infections can also have subsequent difficulties with implantation. However, one of the most causes of seeming infertility is insemination during the improper time in the estrous cycle.

Symptoms of Infertility in Female) Dogs

  • False pregnancy due to an ovarian cyst
  • Metabolic hypothyroidism
  • Uterine infections
  • Increased swelling of vulva
  • Decreased bleeding of the genital tract at the time of ovulation
  • Irregular ovarian cycles
  • Split heats
  • Hypoluteoidism (insufficient progesterone secretion)
  • Failure to cycle
  • Refusal to breed

Treatment of Infertility in Female Dogs

The treatment of infertility depends upon the results obtained during the diagnostic workup, and the resulting diagnosis. Ovarian cysts or tumors may require surgical excision, hormonal imbalances may need to be corrected, and infections may require treatment.

The use of antibiotics is also very effective, and since it is relatively simple, its use is recommended – under veterinary supervision and advice.

Improper breeding is often at the root of the perceived infertility. To prevent this, the male dog may be bred to another bitch to test his ability to impregnate.


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