A touchy subject it seems within the dog breeding community.
Why? Well, some breeders swear by progesterone testing whilst others like myself favour cytology. Let me explain the difference..
What is cytology?
Cytology is a procedure which involves inserting a swab into the female dogs vulva and scraping cells off the vaginal wall. These cells are then analysed under a microscope to see if the female is in Estrous and is ovulating. This helps with the decision of when to mate.
You can also see if a dog is coming out of Estrous and the opportunity to mate has been missed.
How does cytology work?
This procedure is pain free for the female and takes around 10-15 minutes. You may need to do more than 1 swab which increases the cost.
Most clinics offer cytology around £30 per test.
What is progesterone testing?
Progesterone testing is a procedure that involves taking blood from the female dogs forearm, spinning down the blood to separate the serum and then putting this serum into a machine which then gives you a result. There is a scale which tells you when is the best time to mate, this is usually in nanomoles.
How does progesterone testing work?
This procedure can be very stressful for the dog as it involves a needle and numerous attempts are often made as taking blood from a dog takes a lot of practice and according to the RCVS only vets should be carrying out this procedure.
The procedure can take up to 40 minutes and you may need to do more than 1 test. Most clinics offer this type of testing for around £40 per test.
So why do I only do Cytology here at K9 Fertility Stockport?
It comes down to these 2 points:
It is less stressful and evasive for the dog
It is a legal procedure
Having used both methods on my own dogs and experienced the stress, I will never progesterone test again. You simply do not need to. You can achieve optimum results using cytology and mating at the right time.
As a clinic owner - progesterone testing also involves a lot of expense.
The machine to do the tests on can cost up to £18k and only 1 company in the uk provide them. There are others that sell a refurbished version but these can sometimes be unreliable, not calibrated correctly, resulting in false results.
Cytology can be learnt like any other skill and takes practice to get right. Luckily there are fantastic resources available to ensure dog owners are given the correct information for when to mate their dogs.
At K9 Fertility Stockport the welfare of your dog underpins everything we do and every decision which is made.
Cytology perfectly aligns to my clinic values and I will continue to use this procedure instead of progesterone testing time and time again.