Studies on some reproductive parameters in German shepherd bitches in Kenya
Mutembei, H M
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Survey results on reproductive parameters in registered German shepherd bitches in Kenya are reported. Data collection forms were distributed to randomly selected kennel owners seeking information on: (1) Onset of puberty, (2) Heat incidences, (3) Breeding, (4) Whelpings and (5) Puppy survival of the bitches under their custody over the previous 15 years (1982-1997). Details OJ) the above were verified using the East African Kennel Club (EAKC) records. Records so obtained were then analyzed using the SAS statistical method. A total of 594 bitches from 280 breeders were recorded. From these, 798 heats were observed, 594 of which were bred resulting in 3592 puppies. The mean age at puberty was 519.0 ±41 days. Heat periods occurred all the year round though significantly (p<0.05) higher and lower incidences were observed in October and April, respectively. Pregnancy significantly (p<O.OI) increased interoestrous interval which was 247.8 ± 99.6 days and 183 ±52 days among bred! pregnant and non-bred bitches, respectively. Majority of the bitches coming on heat (73.70/0) were bred and breeding was carried out all year round with a distribution closely related to that of heat incidence. Subsequently, whelping occurred all year round' with 94.5% of the bitches mated whelping. A mean gestation period of 60.6 ± 5.1 days were observed. The mean litter size was 6.4 ± 0.4 puppies and did not differ significantly between months. There were 2.30/0 stillbirths, 0.9% culling and 11.40/0 mortalities. From this study it was concluded that GSD bitches in Kenya are not seasonal breeders, .reach puberty as early as six months of age and pregnancy significantly affects their interoestrous interval in such a way that breeders can only get three litters per bitch every two years.