November is all about boy dogs! Dr. Marty Greer joins host Laura Reeves for a conversation about the causes of infertility in the stud dog. From poor collection technique to managing enlarged prostate and more uncommon problems, Greer provides invaluable insight into the causes and potential treatments of sterility or low fertility in male dogs.
“We can start with defining the difference between fertility, infertility and sterility,” Greer said. “Infertility is low fertility. Sterility is a permanent condition. So if your dog is sterile, there's no going back. The implication is that his fertility is low and in some cases, not all but in some cases, we can restore fertility with the combination of appropriate diagnostic work up, appropriate intervention for medications and nutritional supplements and diet.
“So those are kind of the four hallmarks of what we can do for your stud dog. Sterile would be, by my definition, on more than one occasion doing a collection of the stud dog and getting no sperm. Zero live or dead sperm on multiple collections. So there may be sperm that are there that are dead. There may be sperm there in low numbers. But if you see absolutely no sperm on more than one occasion, and you think you had a pretty good collection based on his libido, then I would probably classify him a sterile. But we can certainly talk about some of the diagnostic testing that should be done.
“The sperm are made in the testicle and then the epididymis is the conduit by which the sperm leave the testicle and make it up into the urethra and are ejaculated. So it's this series of really cool, tightly little coiled tubules that run on the backside of the testicle and up around and then into the urethra where the ejaculate comes from. So the epididymis, if it's blocked somewhere in that on both sides, then you're not going to get sperm.
Hands off the junk, lady!
Some young or inexperienced stud dogs may not fully ejaculate because “their head’s not in the game,” Greer noted. She shared tips for getting a better collection from the male.
“Mostly it's practice. A lot of those are dogs that have been in pet type home, not a breeders type home. You basically need some practice. You need a dog that has a really good female in heat standing in front of him. A really cooperative female. So not a bulldog that's making weird snorting noises, even if she's nice, 'cause sometimes that's misconstrued as a growl. Not a dog that's going to turn around and kind of nibble at the boy. But a girl that's going to back into him and send an engraved invitation, ‘hey big boy it's over here.’ So you want to have an experienced, really cooperative, in heat, at the appropriate time in heat, female. That's not always easy to achieve, as you know, you don't always get to pull one off the shelf when you need one.”
“Many people are confused about what to do with prostate disease,” Greer observed. “There's basically four different categories of disorders we can see in the prostate. We can see benign prostatic hypertrophy, prostatitis, prostatic cysts and there can be cancer of the prostate. So those are the four general diseases that we see. A lot of dogs when they’re age 5 and older, when they're around a female in heat … will stimulate the dog to develop some enlargement of his prostate. After age 5 will see these dogs stand up from laying down or walk into the house and blood will be dripping from the penis. Every veterinarian that doesn't do reproduction says ‘oh OK, there's two things we have to do here. One we have to put him on an antibiotic and two we have to neuter him.’ Well actually, both of those things are incorrect.”