Myth Busting in Veterinary Medicine
Dr. Marty Greer, our veterinary voice, joins host Laura Reeves for a fun episode by multiple listener request. They tackle old wives tales and do a bit of myth busting on veterinary medicine.
Q: Do bitches in season cycle together?
“I think it’s true. I really do believe that happens. There’s hormones, there’s pheromones. It’s called convent syndrome or dormitory syndrome in humans. Absolutely it happens in dogs too.
“There’s a reason for that… it was thought that bitches would cycle together so that there would be additional mothers available to lactate should puppies be orphaned or otherwise the bitch wasn’t available to nurse her puppies.
“They cycle together, they all come into heat at the same time, they start excreting or secreting a pheromone weeks before they come into heat so that they can start recruiting male dogs so that they are available at the time that the bitch is ready to breed.
Q: Do intact male dogs need drugs when bitches are in season?
“There’s no reason not to put a male dog on some kind of an anti anxiety medication.”
Q: Matings can happen through chain link?
“The drive to have a sexual encounter is a very, very strong drive in every species. We all know that … we’ve got pictures of dogs that know how to unlatch their kennel door, walk across the top of a kennel, drop down into the female’s pen, breed the female and then walk back out and get back into their own kennel. We have proof that these dogs are doing this because we now have video in people’s kennels.
“It’s a fascinating study in canine behavior but yes the boys do have a pretty strong drive and the females are very cooperative at that point. Yes you can use drugs. Keeping them separated physically is useful. But there is nothing that you can do that they can’t undo faster because they’re spending 23 hours and 49 minutes a day trying to figure out a way to get that particular encounter to happen and you spent 11 minutes that day figuring out a way for it not to happen.
“Anybody that tells you that they’ve never had an accidental breeding, that owns both males and females that are intact at their house, is either lying to you or it hasn’t happened to them yet.
Q: Does chlorophyll when given immediately when the bitch comes in season reduce the odor?
“It’s gonna help to a small extent, but it’s not going to be enough to cover up everything. No charcoal, chlorophyll, vanilla, Vicks, you name it, all the things that people try (is) going to overcome every single molecule. Remember dogs have probably 10,000 times the number of scent cells an inside their nose (than people).
Q: Will females that have pyometra always have a fever?
“The uterus is a privileged organ. It isolates proteins that aren’t part of that particular individual’s DNA. That allows the little puppies to develop and grow and be born as little puppies and the uterus doesn’t say ‘oh you don’t belong here and have some kind of immune response that kicks them out.'”