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Infectious causes of infertility and pregnancy loss in dogs

There are numerous causes of non-pregnancy at any stage. While some are non-infectious, many are infectious in nature.


Infectious causes of infertility and loss of a pregnancy in dogs can include various bacterial, protozoal, and viral causes. This post covers some of the more common or more severe infectious causes of non-pregnancy in dogs.


It is important to note that these infections can also cause other symptoms in the dog such as fever, vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss. A veterinarian should be consulted to diagnose and treat these conditions, as they may require specific treatments, such as antibiotics, antiparasitics, and antiviral drugs. Vaccinations, proper hygiene, and sanitation practices can help prevent these infections and protect the health of the breeding dogs as well as close monitoring of the dog's health during and after treatment.


Bacterial causes

Bacterial infections of the reproductive tract, such as pyometra, can cause infertility and spontaneous abortion in dogs. Pyometra is an infection of the uterus that can cause inflammation and pus accumulation in the uterus, which can make it difficult for the fertilized egg to implant, or can cause the dog to reabsorb the pregnancy. Other bacterial infections such as leptospirosis, brucellosis and campylobacteriosis can also cause infertility in dogs.


Endometritis

Endometritis is an inflammation of the uterus (endometrium) caused by bacterial infections. The inflammation and infection can cause damage to the uterus which can make it difficult for the fertilized egg to implant, leading to infertility or spontaneous abortion. Additionally, endometritis can cause hormonal imbalances that can affect ovulation and fertility.


Endometritis can also lead to the formation of scar tissue in the uterus, which can impede the growth of the placenta, leading to the death of the fetus and spontaneous abortion.


Endometritis can also cause other symptoms in the dog such as fever, vaginal discharge, and abdominal pain.


Brucella canis

Brucella canis (brucellosis) can cause loss of pregnancy or infertility in dogs. Brucella canis is a bacterial infection that can infect the reproductive organs of dogs, particularly the uterus and testicles. It can cause inflammation and scarring in the uterus, making it difficult for the fertilized egg to implant and leading to infertility or spontaneous abortion. It can also cause testicular atrophy and epididymitis in males.


Brucella canis can also cause testicular atrophy and epididymitis in males, leading to infertility.


Brucella canis can be transmitted to humans and other animals, so proper hygiene and sanitation practices, as well as quarantine and testing of breeding dogs, are important to prevent the spread of the disease. Brucella canis is a reportable disease in some locations.


Campylobacter jejuni

Campylobacter jejuni is a bacterial infection that can cause spontaneous abortion and infertility in dogs.


Campylobacter jejuni is a bacterial infection that can cause inflammation in the reproductive tract of dogs, leading to spontaneous abortion, and infertility. The bacteria can infect the reproductive tract, and cause inflammation which can make it difficult for the fertilized egg to implant and can also lead to the death of the fetus. It can also cause infertility by affecting the sperm and testicles in males.


Salmonella

Salmonella can cause loss of pregnancy or infertility in dogs. Salmonella is a bacterial infection that can cause inflammation and damage to the reproductive tract of dogs, leading to spontaneous abortion and infertility. The bacteria can infect the uterus and placenta, which can make it difficult for the fertilized egg to implant or can cause the death of the fetus.


Salmonella can also cause infertility by affecting the sperm and testicles in males.


Leptospirosis

Leptospirosis can cause loss of pregnancy or infertility in dogs. Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection caused by the Leptospira bacteria, which can infect dogs through contact with contaminated urine, water, or soil.

In dogs, Leptospirosis can lead to various reproductive issues, including:

  • Loss of pregnancy: Leptospirosis can cause damage to the placenta and cause the death of the fetus, leading to spontaneous abortion.

  • Infertility: Leptospirosis can cause inflammation in the reproductive tract that can affect ovulation and fertility. The infection can also cause damage to the sperm and testicles in males, leading to infertility.

  • Congenital defects: Pregnant dogs infected with leptospirosis can also give birth to puppies with congenital defects.

Protozoal causes

Protozoal infections such as Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora caninum can cause spontaneous abortion and infertility in dogs. These infections can damage the placenta and cause the death of the fetus.


Toxoplasma gondii

Toxoplasma gondii can cause loss of pregnancy or infertility in dogs. Toxoplasma gondii is a protozoan parasite that can infect dogs through contact with contaminated food, water, or soil.

In dogs, Toxoplasma gondii can lead to various reproductive issues, including:

  • Loss of pregnancy: Toxoplasma gondii can infect the placenta and cause the death of the fetus, leading to spontaneous abortion.

  • Congenital defects: Pregnant dogs infected with Toxoplasma gondii can also give birth to puppies with congenital defects.

  • While Toxoplasmagondii is not known to cause infertility directly, it can cause a loss of pregnancy and congenital defects, which can have a significant impact on your breeding program.

Neospora caninum

Neospora caninum can cause loss of pregnancy or infertility in dogs. Neospora caninum is a protozoan parasite that can infect dogs through the consumption of infected tissue, such as placenta or aborted fetuses.


In dogs, Neospora caninum can lead to various reproductive issues, including:


  • Loss of pregnancy: Neospora caninum can infect the placenta and cause the death of the fetus, leading to spontaneous abortion.

  • Congenital defects: Pregnant dogs infected with Neospora caninum can also give birth to puppies with congenital defects.

  • While Neospora caninum is not known to cause infertility directly, it can cause a loss of pregnancy and congenital defects which can have a significant impact on the breeding program.


Viral causes

Canine herpesvirus can cause spontaneous abortion in dogs, as well as puppies born with congenital defects. Canine distemper virus and Canine parvovirus can also cause abortion, stillbirth and congenital defects.


Canine herpes virus

Canine herpes virus can cause spontaneous abortion and infertility in dogs.


CHV can infect the reproductive tract of dogs and cause inflammation and damage to the uterus and placenta, which can make it difficult for the fertilized egg to implant or can cause the death of the fetus, leading to spontaneous abortion. It can also cause congenital defects in puppies born to infected mothers.


In addition, CHV can infect the testicles in males, leading to inflammation and damage, resulting in infertility.


Canine distemper

Canine distemper is a highly contagious viral disease that affects multiple systems in the body, including the reproductive system. Canine distemper can lead to spontaneous abortion and stillbirth, as well as congenital defects in puppies born to infected mothers. Distemper is easily prevented by vaccination and is highly contagious and can be fatal if not treated promptly.


Canine parvovirus

Canine parvovirus is another highly contagious viral disease that can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea and suppression of the immune system. Although uncommon, canine parvovirus can cause spontaneous abortion, stillbirth and congenital defects, it can also cause infertility in males and females by damaging the testicles and ovaries. Parvo is easily prevented by vaccination and is highly contagious and can be fatal if not treated promptly.


Conclusion

There are several infectious causes of pregnancy loss and infertility in dogs, including bacterial, protozoal, and viral infections. These can include conditions such as endometritis, brucella canis, campylobacter jejuni, salmonella, toxoplasma gondii, and Canine herpes virus. These infections can damage the reproductive tract, the placenta and affect the growth and development of the fetus, leading to spontaneous abortion, congenital defects and infertility.


It is important for breeders to be aware of these potential risks and take steps to prevent infections through proper hygiene and sanitation practices, vaccinations, and regular veterinary checkups. If an infection is suspected, prompt diagnosis and treatment by a veterinarian is crucial to ensure the best outcome for the dog and to prevent the spread of these diseases.



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