As many canine enthusiasts will tell you, dog breeding is often more of an art than a science. But that science is still important, and it can help you both produce higher quality dogs and increase the safety of your breeding stock in the process. Radiology, more commonly known as x-rays, have been an invaluable tool in veterinary medicine for some time, and they are useful for both preventative and emergency care. These are three benefits radiology can offer dog breeders who want to produce only the best and healthiest puppies.
Screening Potential Breeding Stock
Dogs are the descendants of wolves, but it isn't always obvious by their appearance. Through hundreds and even thousands of years of careful breeding, humans have sculpted these creatures into tiny Chihuahuas and statuesque Great Danes, with a host of shapes and sizes falling somewhere in between. Unfortunately, these structural changes can sometimes lead to painful or debilitating congenital disorders, including hip dysplasia and other bone or joint conditions. The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals is one of the largest support services for dog breeders, offering certifications and analysis of your dogs' x-rays to ensure that they will not pass down any skeletal problems to their puppies. Many buyers of purebred dogs will demand to see these certifications before committing to a purchase, so having your dogs radiographed prior to breeding is also simply good financial sense.
Checking in on Gestating Puppies
Once your female has been bred, you will likely want to check in on her progress as her pregnancy moves along. This is routinely done through x-rays, which do not appear to harm the mother or her puppies in small doses. Radiology can help you determine how many puppies the mother is carrying, as well as their growth and positioning. This allows you to notice potential issues early on, and if nothing else, it will leave you with the peace of mind that comes with knowing the puppies are developing normally.
Catching Emergencies Quickly After Labor
Within a few months, the puppies will be ready for delivery. Most breeders have designated whelping areas to keep the mother feeling safe and comfortable through labor, but you will need to monitor her closely both during and after labor. It is not uncommon for a puppy to get stuck inside the birthing canal, where it may die and lead to a serious infection for the mother if not noticed. You should have a good idea of the number of expected puppies, and if you end up with less or notice the mother acting strangely, you should get her to a veterinarian as quickly as possible. There, a quick x-ray can reveal any remaining puppies, and your vet can begin the necessary measures to save as many as possible, along with the mother. Whether you fall more on the art or science side of dog breeding, there's no denying the importance of regular radiology for your breeding stock.
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