Our Blog

February 2018
15: Family Day 2018
January 2018
11: Dental disease is a real and serious issue
December 2017
05: Holiday Closures 2017
November 2017
01: Thank you for your support in the 2017 October Farley Foundation Fundraiser!
October 2017
03: Prizes and pie for our annual Farley Foundation Fundraiser!
September 2017
13: Keetah's Story
11: September is Cancer Awareness Month
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28: Labour Day 2017
10: What's that smell?!
July 2017
27: Clicker Training
24: Our Commitment to a Low Stress Environment
13: The threat of rabies in southwestern Ontario
07: Wildlife in the city
June 2017
21: Lyme Disease
March 2017
06: The Value Of Education
January 2017
17: 33 years of practice, the changes I have witnessed
December 2016
20: Holiday Closures
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28: 2016's October Farley Foundation Fundraiser was a huge success!
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20: Cajun's story
01: September is Cancer Awareness Month
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21: Cat Carriers
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29: Dog Park Etiquette
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31: Heartworm Q & A
12: Tick Troubles
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10: Anticipated tick bloom
February 2016
22: Introduction to TCVM – Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine
January 2016
14: The difference dental care can make
December 2015
30: Raccoon Rabies reported in Hamilton, Ontario
08: Understanding Aging
November 2015
25: Our new, state of the art, Ultrasound machine
October 2015
09: Fun and Delicious Fundraising for the Farley Foundation
September 2015
23: Cancer Awareness Month: Texas' Story
14: September is Cancer Awareness Month
July 2015
28: Exciting news for our hospital!
June 2015
11: Mosquito Prevention
May 2015
08: Heartworm cases
April 2015
24: Changing your pet's food
March 2015
01: Veterinary Technician Specialties in Dentistry!
January 2015
13: January and February are Dental Education Months!
December 2014
18: The Internet at its Best
November 2014
28: Westbridge's Change of Hours
October 2014
07: October is Farley Month - Spa Day's, Paw Prints and Pies!
September 2014
22: Cancer Awareness Month - Ruby's Story
20: September is Cancer Awareness Month!
02: Ways to a Happy, Healthier Pet
July 2014
03: A New Way to Save Your Pet's Teeth!
June 2014
26: Veterinary Dentistry in San Diego!
March 2014
20: Happy Smiles
January 2014
22: The 15 Steps to Your Pet's Dental Cleaning!
15: January and February are Dental Months, and We Have a Contest to Celebrate!
09: Baby Teeth in Puppies and Kittens
06: An Update on Dr. Hylands
December 2013
27: Dentistry in New Orleans!
17: Wishing Dr. Hylands a Safe and Uneventful Recovery
13: The Holidays are Here!
04: A Potential Mandible Fracture - A Tale on Missing Teeth
October 2013
10: Fundraising for Farley
July 2013
11: Tried and True, For Humans Too!
June 2013
20: Therapeutic Laser's Beneficial Effects on Arthritis
12: Pet Education Day and Open House a Huge Success!
May 2013
25: 5th Annual Pet Education Day and Open House!
April 2013
29: We've Brought 'Light' into our Clinic!
March 2013
10: We're Constantly Learning!
February 2013
21: Small Dogs Require Big Dental Care!
08: Missing Teeth in Your Pets - Should You Be Worried?
January 2013
13: Periodontal (Dental) Disease in our Pets
December 2012
19: Senior Month - It's Not Just Old Age!
04: Senior Month - A Focus on Kidney Disease
November 2012
15: Farley Month a Huge Success!
October 2012
27: Possessive Aggression in our Dogs
22: Thinking of Breeding Your Dog? Here Are Some Things To Consider First
03: October is Farley Month!
September 2012
20: Litter Boxes - Everyone's Favourite Task!
August 2012
14: Exercising Your Pets in the Summer - Heat Stroke
June 2012
28: Non-Invasive Diagnostic Imaging - Ultrasound Case Study
21: A Heartfelt "Thank You" for Attending our Pet Education Carnival!
19: Non-Invasive Diagnostic Imaging - Ultrasonography
May 2012
23: A Logical Approach to Unwanted Barking
07: Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug Use in Companion Animals
April 2012
21: Wellness Examinations Help to Maintain Your Pets Health
10: OVC Pet Trust Animal Cancer Centre Needs Your Help!
01: Heartworm Disease in Ontario
March 2012
19: A Dedication to a Great Man and an Dedicated Veterinarian
February 2012
06: Why Anesthesia-Free Dental Care is Wrong, Cruel, and Medically Inappropriate
January 2012
16: The Why's and What's of Dental X-ray
09: Cats Are a Unique Species, with Unique Dental Disease
05: Six Easy Steps to Brushing your Pets Teeth!
02: Dental Awareness Months!
December 2011
21: Chocolate... Good for you?
November 2011
11: Farley Month was a Huge Success!

Thinking of Breeding Your Dog? Here Are Some Things To Consider First

Posted: 2012-10-22

Mom with her puppy.There’s no question about it – there are very few things that are as cute as newborn puppies and kittens, and many people want to experience this miracle first hand. What most people don’t realize that along with this miracle of life comes with huge commitments in both time and money, as well as some inheritent risk to our beloved pets. The decision to breed should be one that includes some serious thinking, planning and self reflection.

Female dogs of any age can die giving birth, with increased risk associated with young or old animals. Dystocia, or difficult or abnormal birth, can be a medical emergency that puts the lives of the mother and puppies at severe risk. In the event of a difficult birthing, medical hospitalization and potentially an emergency C-section may be likely realities. This inevitably is associated with potentially significant costs, and therefore an emergency contingency fund should be in place for veterinary care. In some cases, it can be normal for 1/3 of puppies to become ill and require medical and extensive nursing care. Even with a perfectly routine whelping, and a medically sound litter, medical and veterinary costs are significant. Responsible breeding includes physical examinations, vaccination, and deworming of each puppy. The females calorie requirement is increased both before and after birthing, and therefore requires additional quality dog food. This is of course in addition to feeding the hungry mouths of the puppies once they are weaned off their mothers milk.

In the majority of cases, most breeds should not be bred prior to a minimum of 2 years of age, at which point basic testing can be done for important genetic conformation issues such as hip dysplasia, a condition which is shockingly high particularly in large breed dogs. This condition contributes to the development of arthritis and early mobility issues in our canine companions. Of course, there are many other organs that can be negatively affected by genetics, including occular (eye) and heart conditions. Responsible breeding involves the screening of both the dam and sire to ensure their genetics are optimum for the propagation of the breed.

There are also some medical and behavioural considerations with having pets that are not spayed or neutered. Housetraining can be much more difficult in intact male dogs, and urine marking both in and out of the house can be a regular occurence. This is often something that cannot be corrected, and can continue even after neutering if it becomes a learned behaviour. Unneutered male dogs are predisposed to prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate) and prostate infection. Dogs who reach middle age and are not neutered are predisponsed to benign prostatic hypertrophy (benign elargement of the prostate), with 80% developing this condition by 5 years of age. While beningn, suggesting not cancerous, a significant number of them will have chronic bacterial prostate infection and urinary tract infections. Unneutered male dogs may be more predisposed to aggression, particularly territorial aggession, and can be more difficult to train. Females who are unspayed are prone to ovarian cancer, 50% of which are malignant. There is also a significant risk of pyometra – a life-threatening uterine infection that requires immediate veterinary attention.

There are thousands of dogs in shelters without homes, so the decision to breed should be one that is taken extremely seriously. A responsible breeder invests in a quality dam or sire that fits perfectly the ideal representation of their respective breed. After this, they should be carefully selected based on a detailed examination by a veterinarian, which may involve a physical exam, radiographs, blood testing, and more. Equally important, breeding dogs should be carefully selected for a temperment that fits todays society where dogs are considered a family member and closely integrated into our culture. In the case of a small breed dogs, proven ability as an excellent companion dog may be acceptable, provided the health clearances are done. There is not a need, though, for dogs who bite, dogs who can’t be housetrained, or dogs who will have painful and expensive medical problems that are then passed on to further generations.


This blog entry was written by Westbridge Veterinary Hospital, an animal clinic in Mississauga dedicated to providing high quality, modern veterinary care to our beloved pets and their families.

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