Progesterone Testing

The most successful time to mate a bitch is two days (48 hours) after she has ovulated, but how do you know when this is?

Price: from £35.00

Unlike most vet practices who send blood samples to external labs, often taking 24 hours to process, we at North West Breeding Services have a progesterone analyser in house which gives a precise result within an hour of inserting a blood sample.

Progesterone testing is especially important if your bitch has failed to produce a litter on previous matings or is to soon reach breeding maturity and you don’t want to miss the opportunity to produce puppies.

Even the most experienced of breeders can have difficulty judging the best time to mate. Some bitches may ovulate as early as day four or five of the season and some as late as day 26 even day 28.

The ovulation period can also change from one season to the next so there really is no pattern to plan by despite previous thoughts from an older generation of breeders. The “a bitch always ovulates on day 12” olde wives tale is just a myth unfortunately.

In general, we would recommend to start testing progesterone levels between day 5-7 after the start of the vaginal bleeding and swelling. It may then be necessary to repeat the test every two, three or four days depending on the result. We advise our clients fully after each test as to what we recommend going forward. Our advice is always tailored to each client, their arrangements for stud and their specific breed.

Ovulation occurs two days after the luteinizing hormone (LH) surge when progesterone levels are between 8 – 10 ng/ml and the only reliable method of predicting ovulation in your bitch is a progesterone blood test.

After ovulation it takes approximately 48 hours for eggs to mature before they can be fertilised, so although the best time to mate is two days after ovulation, mating’s just before ovulation can still produce puppies. It also depends how fast your girl has risen to ovulation as to whether it’s possible for all eggs to have dropped into place.

Hence why a personalised service is offered from us to interpret the results and guide you on the best time to mate from the test results.

If possible, two mating’s (24 – 48hours apart) are recommended. Early/late matings made without pin pointing ovulation can result in smaller litter sizes such as singletons. Singletons, and small litters in bigger breeds of dog bring their own issues and are a concern. Something we as breeders would always attempt to avoid. For the ideal opportunity of producing a pregnancy and optimal litter size, a progesterone test is vital and used as standard by many reputable breeders and show kennels.

Free test kits will be sent out on request for your vet to add a blood sample. The kit can then be posted back to us next day delivery or hand delivered to our premises. We also work closely with a number of vets and can arrange for bloods to be drawn locally with a collection service available.

As soon as the sample is received, we run the test and call you with your results same day, typically within 2 hours.

This service is available seven days a week including Bank Holidays by appointment only.

From £35.00 per test.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will my bitch be ready on day 12?

Unfortunately this is a bit like saying will both my friend and I ovulate on a Saturday. Once we have pinpointed the start of the season, the actual day of a girls season is irrelevant. Some girls ovulate as early as day 3 or 4 some we have seen as delayed as day 28! These dogs, if always mated on day 12 would have a very high probability of never having pups.

Can we progesterone test to see when she will come into season?

Unfortunately a progesterone test can only give us a snap-shot at the time the sample was taken. It will tell us whether she has, or has not yet ovulated. It will not tell us when she will come into season, but it can be used to identify bitches having a silent (non bleeding) season.

Will one test tell me all?

Unfortunately this isn’t a question we can answer until we actually run that first test. Some clients are lucky, one test tells us their girl has ovulated and we can advise when to mate. However this isn’t always an ideal scenario. With just one test confirming the LH surge has occurred, we can advise using the proverbial text book as to when to mate but, as we know from experience, not every dog follows said text book. By testing early and tracking your dog’s rise we can much better calculate the optimum time for a mating and tailor our advice for a more positive outcome.

Do I have to pay per test?

Unfortunately yes, each test has its own consumable fee and is payable although in some circumstances, if one more test will allow us to be more accurate in our response we do offer to run a 4th test FOC.

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