Zene is fairly predictable as far as her heat cycles go -- she came in season on August 16th which is six months after her last heat. In looking at dates, I realized we may have the opportunity to breed her to Teak the end of August. Teak's owners were heading to Santa Barbara for the prestigious Santa Barbara Kennel Club dog events so the timing was perfect. When doing a breeding, step #1 is to do progesterone testing. Good breeders do progesterone when organizing each breeding (whether "live cover" or an AI - artificial insemination breeding).
What the heck is progesterone testing, you ask?
Basically, progesterone is a hormone produced by the ovaries that rises as the heat cycle progresses. Early in the canine heat cycle the progesterone values will usually read less than 1.0 ng/ml. The first significant, sustained rise in progesterone usually coincides with the "LH Surge". The LH stands for luteinizing hormone and is released by the pituitary gland in the brain. This is important because ovulation occurs about 48 hours after the LH surge. The progesterone value at the time of the LH surge is usually about 2-3 ng/ml. The progesterone will rise to about 5-8 ng/ml at the time of ovulation. Canine eggs are not ready to be fertilized at the time of ovulation and take about 2 days to mature. Once mature, the eggs remain fertile for 2 to 3 days and then begin to deteriorate. Of note: progesterone stays elevated for about 2 months whether the bitch is pregnant or not. We like to know when the "surge" is so that we have an idea of ovulation, when to breed, and to estimate the whelping day.
Zene's progesterone testing came back as 2.4 on Thursday, August 24th. We're looking for the LH Surge of 5+. She met up with Teak over the weekend and there was a "love connection" regardless that she was lower than a 5. Over the next few days we had successful breedings and Zene travelled with Teak to his home in San Diego for more of the same.
More details to follow . . . We will we plan to do an ultrasound in four weeks to verify a pregnancy. So please check back . . .