Progesterone Testing the Bitch
The purpose of progesterone testing is to map the bitch’s reproductive cycle, and plot her progesterone rise.
The hormone progesterone rises in blood stream of female dogs at oestrus, around the time of ovulation. When it has risen to a critical level, we can predict egg maturity and the best time to mate or inseminate for pregnancy.
The bitch is unique in that she starts to produce progesterone in the ovary whilst her eggs are getting ready to be ovulated. Hence progesterone is a useful predictor of the cycle in the dog.
Start testing bitches from day 7 of their season, unless the bitch is problematical, in which case, it may be wise to start even earlier.
Look for 15 – 20 nmol/l progesterone at the time of ovulation.
High progesterone levels are maintained through a healthy pregnancy.
Progesterone testing can also be useful at the time of whelping, when the bitch shows no progress and the urgency of intervention is not clear.
We find that bitches that are ready to deliver their pups show a sudden and dramatic fall in blood progesterone and this can be useful in deciding whether procedures like caesarian intervention are urgently needed.