Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Infertility: female - overview

Synonym(s): Barren; failure to conceive

Contributor(s): Autumn P Davidson, Carlos Pinto, Angelika von Heimendahl

Introduction

  • Deviation from anticipated, typical estrous cycle events in a bitch intended for breeding can prompt presentation to a veterinarian for evaluation.
  • Considerable physiological variation may occur within the normal canine reproductive cycle, breeders commonly interpret such variation as an indication that an abnormality exists. The clinician must differentiate bitches having normal estrous cycles with unexpected patterns from those with true abnormalities. Detection of individual variation within the normal range of events in a fertile bitch can be crucial to providing effective counseling concerning breeding management. Additionally, evaluation of the estrous cycle for actual abnormalities is an important component in assessing the apparently infertile bitch. Variations from normal estrous cycle events in the bitch can sometimes be traced to specific ovarian or uterine disorders. Frequently, infertility results from inadequate timing of breeding in relation to optimal fertile time of the bitch.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

Predisposing factors

General
  • Irregular or atypical proestrus or estrus.
  • Irregular or atypical interestrus intervals.
  • Husbandry problems.
  • Male inherent infertility (oligospermia, asthenospermia or teratospermia; often all three present).
  • Malnutrition; poor body condition.
  • Iatrogenic.
  • Endocrinopathies (disorders of the thyroid gland).
  • Age.
  • Genetic.

Specific

  • Silent heat, split heat, shorter or longer than anticipated parts of the estrous cycle; relatively long interestrus intervals (>10 months); relatively short interestrus intervals (</=4 months).
  • Prolonged proestrus/estrus Prolonged pro-estrus and estrus.
  • Bred outside of the fertile window (most common cause of infertility in the UK), improper breeding technique.
  • Subfertile male, infertile male, inadequate use of chilled or frozen semen.
  • Inadequate plane of nutrition.
  • Metabolic disease.
  • Administration of abortifacients, hormones.
  • Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism , hyperadrenocorticism Hyperadrenocorticism , disorders of the hypothalamic pituitary ovarian axis.
  • Uterine pathology.

Pathophysiology

  • Uterine pathology: repeated exposure to estrogen and progesterone predictably results in cystic endometrial hyperplasia which may or may not be associated with other uterine disorders (hydrometra, mucometra, pyometra Pyometra ).
  • Ovarian follicular cysts: prolonged proestrus or estrus, anovulation.
  • Ovarian luteal cysts: prolonged diestrus, increased risk of cystic endometrial hyperplasia.
  • Non functional ovarian parenchymal cysts suppress normal cycling.
  • Immune mediated oophoritis (rare).
  • Premature ovarian senescence (rare).

Timecourse

  • Evaluation of the ovarian cycle must take place during the estrous cycle. Average interestrus interval (diestrus and anestrous) is 7 months; the average proestrus and estrus are 9 days each, average diestrus is 45-70 days.

Epidemiology

  • Screen every breeding dog forBrucella canis.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Prevention

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Wilborn R R, Maxwell H S (2012) Clinical approaches to infertility in the bitch. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 42 (3), 457-468 PubMed.
  • Johnston S D, Olson P N, Root M V (1994) Clinical approach to infertility in the bitch. Semin Vet Med Surg (Small Anim) (1), 2-6 PubMed.

Other sources of information


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