Management of the Breeding Dog

General Services

Management of the Breeding Dog

Services we offer for the entire or breeding bitch

  • Control of heats - we can provide an injection to end a dog's unwanted heat pr to prevent further heats
  • Misalliance treatment - if your bitch has been served by mistake then an injection called Alizin can be administered. This is normally given in 2 doses 24 hours apart at the end of your dog's heat.
  • We offer a pre-breeding check to make sure your bitch is fit and healthy enough to breed.
  • Swabbing the dog and bitch to screen for herpes virus and other infections
  • Pregnancy scanning is available from 4 weeks of pregnancy
  • Treatment of false pregnancies
  • Assistance in finding a suitable stud dog
  • Assistance in predicting the ideal time of service by blood testing and examination of smears
  • Health checks and dietary advice for the bitch in late pregnancy
  • Worming and vaccination of the pregnant bitch
  • Assistance in predicting the exact day of birth of puppies
  • Herpes virus vaccination to prevent one cause of fading puppy syndrome
  • Assistance with whelping
  • Caesarean section for difficult births
  • Care of neonatal puppies and treatment of fading puppy syndrome
  • Treatment of mastitis
  • Treatment of agalactia - poor milk production
  • Worming and vaccination of your new litter
  • Medical and surgical treatment of pyometra (womb infection)
  • Emergency stabilisation of the bitch with eclampsia

How do I know my bitch is having difficulty with delivering her pups - when should I call the vet?

  • If your bitch appears restless, inappetant or nest building for longer than 36 hours
  • It has been more than 2 hours since the allantochorion (waterbag) has ruptured with any pups born
  • Up your bitch has been straining hard for more than an hour
  • It has been over 2 hours since the last pup was born and then bitch still looks heavy or hasn't settled
  • If your bitch has been straining for over 30 minutes with intermittent protrusion of a pup from the birth canal
  • If your bitch has had irregular, infrequent or weak straining for over 3 hours
  • If your bitch is vomiting
  • If you notice a foul smelling or very dark green / black discharge




Top tips for successfully breeding your bitch to have a healthy strong litter

  1. Plan Plan Plan. Do your homework. Make sure you understand how much work is involved in doing it right and make sure that there is a good market for the pups you breed. Sadly many pups end up in rescue shelters every year because breeders have been unable to get them good homes. The ideal time to breed your bitch is between 2 and 5 years. Don't breed your bitch just because you think there is a health benefit in doing so - there's just as much risk in it.
  2. Research the stud dog you want well in advance of your bitch's heat
  3. Check that the stud dog is KC registered and has had the relevant KC checks done such as hip and elbow scoring or eye tests (especially if your bitch is registered and has had these checks done)
  4. If the stud dog is used a lot, ask if the breeder can get their vet to provide a certificate that the stud dog is free of herpes virus-this should have been tested for very recently.
  5. Have your bitch health checked before you breed her - make sure she is up to date with her routine vaccinations and worming. If your bitch is up to date with her vaccinations this will ensure that the pups receive strong protection from the mother's milk. Sadly, many cases of fading puppy syndrome occur simply because the breeder has not kept the mother's vaccinations up to date and the pup's have no protection against serious infection at a time when they need it most.
  6. Get your bitch the herpes virus vaccine - this is normally given within 10 days of service and then again 1-2 weeks before the pups are due. This will protect against one type of fading puppy syndrome.
  7. Have your bitch scanned at around 4-5 weeks into the pregnancy - this will let you plan things better for the delivery.
  8. Discuss the dietary requirements of your pregnant bitch with the vet,
  9. Check out natural deliveries on u tube so you are familiar with the whole process
  10. Let us know a few days before the delivery that your bitch is due - this will ensure a much more pleasant vet should you need to ring them in the middle of the night.
  11. Familiarise yourself with the signs of a difficult birth and have a note of the vet's emergency telephone number. We are at the end of the phone to talk you through the delivery if anything is worrying you about the impending birth.
  12. DON'T USE oxytocin - some breeders may have access to this drug. It is often associated with a HIGHER foetal mortality rate and can even cause the bitch to rupture her womb. If oxytocin is used it must only be used by the vet with close monitoring of the bitch.
  13. Have a whelping box made up a week before the expected due date and have a heat lamp if it is a colder time of year. Get in any sundries you might need if things do not go as smoothly as planned - things like artificial powdered milk (Welpi),colostrum, Puppystim and feeding bottles.
  14. If your bitch is having a difficult birth you will be expected to bring her to the clinic - the vet is unable to bring the full array of obstetrical equipment on a house call. Please make sure you have made transport arrangements in case of any difficulties.
  15. Once the pups are born give them some Puppystim to give them any energy boost - this will encourage more vigorous suckling. Check that your bitch has enough milk - sometimes you may have to hand rear the pups. The vet will give you specific advice on feeding new born pups where the bitch in unable to feed them herself. Keep the pups very warm - they are unable to regulate their own body temperature yet.
  16. When you think the bitch is finished delivering the pups, have the vet check out the bitch to make sure that there is not still one or more in her. The vet will usually check the pups for cleft palates and hernias.
  17. Start your bitch on a veterinary calcium supplement to prevent eclampsia.
  18. We offer a service to weigh and worm your pups - the cost of this is only the price of the wormer, usually only a few pounds for the full litter. We start worming from 2 weeks of age and this is then done every 2 weeks until the puppies get to their new home.
  19. Contact the kennel club as soon as the pups are born to start the registration process.
  20. Think about some basic vaccine protection for the pups - this can be done from 6 weeks of age. The vet will give the litter a full health check at the time of the vaccination and provide certificates for the new owners.
  21. Was it fun? Would you do it all again? Remember to give your bitch a break - we recommend only one litter per year.
  • NOTE - MOST INSURERS AND THE PDSA DO NOT COVER AGAINST BREEDING RELATED PROBLEMS. Make sure you have made financial provisions in case your bitch has problems with her pregnancy or delivery.


Fading puppy syndrome is where healthy pups stop feeding, start to cry more, lose weight and gradually fade and die - this tragic condition usually occurs in the first week after birth. There is no one cause - many factors contribute to it....

  • Viral infections e.g.. herpes, adenovirus
  • Bacterial infections e.g.. Staphs, Strep, E coli
  • Hypothermia
  • Not enough milk
  • Poor mothering
  • Crushing injuries from the mother
  • Heavy worm burdens

It has a high mortality rate and can wipe out full litters in spite of intensive treatment. Please ensure that you take all the necessary
steps to prevent it.


Eclampsia is caused by a calcium deficiency. It is most common in small breeds like Yorkshire Terriers and occurs around 3 weeks after the birth especially with larger litters. The main symptoms include restlessness and agitation which progresses to severe panting,
shivering and trembling. It can lead to seizures and coma. At All Creatures we treat eclampsia with intravenous fluids and calcium. It is
a true emergency and without treatment the bitch could die within a few hours. If you suspect your bitch has eclampsia contact us without delay. Treatment has a very high success rate.


A pyometra is a serious womb infection and without urgent treatment can kill your bitch. It usually occurs in the weeks after a season, especially in middle and older aged heavier bitches.

You need to keep a close eye on your bitch's health for a few months after her heat. Serious signs to watch for include:-

  • Poor appetite
  • Increased thirst
  • Wetting more
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy and depression
  • Stiffness
  • Swollen abdomen
  • An abnormal discharge at her hind end

Provided we see your bitch early, we have a high rate of success in treating pyometra at All Creatures - the treatment usually involves intravenous fluids and an emergency ovariohysterectomy.