In our clinic we perform progesterone tests during a season. Progesterone is a hormone which is involved with the reproductive system of the female. A progesterone test involves collecting a blood sample from the bitch and is usually a short appointment. We run the test in house, meaning we can have same day results when the sample is collected in the morning.
Why we perform this testing
- The first is that it identifies the fertile time for mating. At our clinic, progesterone testing is compulsory for an artificial insemination so we can identify the time of ovulation, increasing our chances of pregnancy. For natural matings we recommend progesterone testing to accurately identify the fertile time for a mating to occur
- The second reason is for accurate prediction of a whelping date. Whelping dates can vary from 58 – 72 days after a natural mating, with the assistance of progesterone tests we can estimate the whelping date within 48 hrs either side of the date provided. When progesterone testing isn’t performed we rely heavily on the dam going into labour or daily progesterone testing in late pregnancy.
An appointment will be arranged with you by our reproduction team to have the first progesterone test and assessment of the bitch between days 5 – 7 of bleeding or vulval swelling (start of heat cycle). At this appointment a cytology will be performed to assess the cells of the vagina, as well as a general health check of the bitch. A blood sample is collected and tested in clinic.
The results are interpreted by our reproduction specialist in small animal, Dr. John Watts. A common misconception is that a certain progesterone level is the most important thing, when in fact all the results collectively are important when timing an insemination. From the results a second progesterone will be booked 2 – 3 days after the first. We collect every 3 days for a natural mating or an insemination with fresh semen and every 2 days for a frozen insemination. The reason for this is that frozen semen does not last as long as fresh semen, therefore timing is more critical. The amount of tests required will vary greatly between different bitches. Usually 2 – 6 tests are required depending on the results.