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Laboratory evaluation of the reproductive system

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Abstract

Investigation of diseases of the reproductive tract requires a detailed breeding history and a thorough clinical examination, followed by careful application of a number of laboratory tests. The purpose of this chapter is to describe the logical application of laboratory testing to common clinical presentations met by veterinary surgeons in first-opinion practice. Case examples are included.

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Figures

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19.1 Schematic representation of the various phases of the oestrous cycle of the bitch in relation to ovulation and the secretion of progesterone. LH = luteinizing hormone.
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19.2 Schematic representation of progesterone concentrations during pregnant and non-pregnant luteal phases of the bitch. LH = luteinizing hormone.
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19.3 Schematic representation of progesterone concentrations in pregnant, pseudopregnant and non-ovulating queens.
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19.7 Changes in the percentage of anuclear vaginal epithelial cells in relation to ovulation and the periovulatory changes in progesterone concentration in the bitch.
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19.8 Exfoliative vaginal cytology from bitches. (a) Anoestrus. The predominant cell types are small parabasal epithelial cells, which have a small volume of cytoplasm compared with the size of the nucleus. The majority of cells are roughly circular in shape. Neutrophils may be present in small numbers but are not evident in this example. (b) Pro-oestrus. The predominant cell type is small intermediate epithelial cells, which have an increased volume of cytoplasm compared with the size of the nucleus. The cells are irregular in shape and appear somewhat flattened with sharp edges. Erythrocytes are present in large numbers. Neutrophils may be present in small numbers, as in this sample. (c) Oestrus. The predominant cell types are large intermediate epithelial cells and anuclear epithelial cells, which have a large volume of cytoplasm compared with the size of the nucleus, and no nucleus, respectively. The cells are two-dimensionally flattened and very irregular in shape (often referred to as ‘cornflake cells’). Erythrocytes are present in small numbers. Neutrophils are absent from the smear. (d) Metoestrus. The predominant cell types are large and small intermediate epithelial cells. Large numbers of neutrophils are again present. Erythrocytes may be present in small numbers. (Diff-Quik stain; original magnification X400)
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19.15 Dog semen stained with nigrosin–eosin. (a) Normal sperm morphology (one centrally positioned sperm has a coiled tail). Nigrosin provides the background colour and eosin stains dead sperm (none is present in this field). (b) A large number of sperm have significant bending of the tails and midpieces. These morphological changes are either secondary or tertiary sperm abnormalities. The sperm positioned in the top right corner has a distal cytoplasmic droplet. (c) Individual sperm with a spherical swelling in the neck region. This is a typical proximal cytoplasmic droplet. (d) Two sperm with broken/abnormal necks and a significant tail abnormality. (e) In the centre of the image two live sperm (white) and one dead sperm (pink). One of the live sperm has a neck abnormality, and the dead sperm has also lost the acrosomal cap. There are two further live sperm one of which has a bent tail.
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19.17 Vaginal cytology smear.

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