Health and Fertility – Breeding Animals

This article has a focus on dogs but is relatable to livestock.

Fertility has always been an indication of health in any production system. If animals are not healthy then fertility is the first thing to decline; they’ll have lower conception rates and lower birthing percentages. We all want to have a strong healthy baby, pup, calf or lamb that copes well with weaning; has a nice strong immune system and continues to grow and thrive into adulthood.

As breeders we need to be thinking of the big picture. Not only conception but also the animal’s health; right through to adulthood. This is where our duty of care at Heal with Ease is coming in with not just a quick fix, but an overall program or health plan to get the desired results.

I know a lot of dog breeders don’t always own the sire, so it’s hard to work on both sides of the genetics. If you own the bitch you’re wanting to breed from, and you want the best outcome for your bitch and her pups then this is the best place to start.

Physically fit but not cycling

All too often people tell us that their bitch is in perfect health. They are fit, shiny and working well.

My question is: If your bitch is in perfect health then why is it a problem to get her to cycle or to conceive properly?

Obviously what we are viewing as health and what true health is, must be different otherwise we wouldn’t have any problems. All we can say is that many things that can affect health at the most basic levels. Now I’m not saying improving health needs to be hard, but it is a process. We need to identify what is going on within the body, and then we need to be able to help the body to clear the load and free up the immune system. Whilst also leaving enough resources in the body to do what it needs to do to create optimum health.

Fertility problems used to be mainly related to older bitches, but this is no longer true. We are now seeing young bitches not cycling properly, so what’s going on? The first couple of things to think about are parasites, nutrition and workload, these are easy things to work on and most people should start here, but don’t get lost in all the information that’s out there. If you are doing the basics right, such as:

  • Feeding good quality food
  • Making sure the dog isn’t full of parasites
  • Lowering their workload
  • Keeping them in good condition

Then cycling and conception shouldn’t be much trouble however, in some cases this isn’t enough. There are lots of other things that can be causing these problems as well; some of these can be chemical, bacteria, viruses, inherited issues, physical or emotional trauma and many more. Using our unique process at Heal with Ease these issues can be cleared relatively easily and once they are these issues will greatly improve the chances of a successful mating and ultimately healthy, young replacement dogs.

The right tools for the job

I have seen over the years that modern medicine is great for fixing physical problems. When it comes to fertility there are so many issues involved.

Modern medicine is limited by the tools they’re able to use. A lot of which add to the load of an already compromised system. A fertility expert in the cattle game once said to me “it’s like trying to preform microsurgery with a shotgun”.

Fertility is one of the most important aspects of health. It is something that we need to be paying attention to all the time, not only when it comes to the point of wanting to breed a few pups. All to often we cruise along oblivious to problems, and time gets away. There can be major problems that develop from an unhealthy system and therefore we need to be proactive in managing our dog and bitches health.