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What is Therigen . . . Therionol . . . Theriogenology?

Veterinarian in surgery, surgery suite
Veterinarian in surgery

For most of us, the most we worry about our pets and their reproductive systems is simply deciding when we should spay or neuter our little furry friends. The vast majority of pet parents really have no desire to deal with a female dog in heat, a female cat in heat, or the consequences of an unplanned pregnancy.

But, believe it or not, just like with people, there are pets that have trouble getting pregnant or even trouble delivering the tiny bundles of joy. Sometimes, the various organs and parts of the reproductive system can be problematic for some pets. Breeders are often interested in improving a breed or avoiding genetic issues in their animals. In all of these cases, a theriogenologist might be the veterinary specialist your four legged friend needs to see!

According to Wikipedia, theriogenology is the branch of veterinary medicine concerned with reproduction, including the physiology and pathology of male and female reproductive systems of animals and the clinical practice of veterinary obstetrics, gynecology, and andrology (male health). The American College of Theriogenologists is the organization that certifies specialists in animal reproduction, or Theriogenologists.

Herd of beef cattle standing in snowy field
Cattle standing in field

As I mentioned above, most of us are simply happy that our pets neutering surgery goes smoothly and that we get it taken care of before babies arrive. But, the need to promote excellence in standards of animal reproduction is a vital part of veterinary medicine. While those of us focused on dogs and cats may not think much about it, making sure that our livestock is reproducing appropriately is an important part of agriculture and our economy. In addition, as we learn more about genetic diseases and problems that are inherited through family lines, professional breeders working with theriogenologists can help reduce the incidence of significant illness and congenital issues in our beloved pets.

Red Pomeranian dog
Pomeranian at dog show

Regardless of how you feel about purebred pets vs. mutts, the fact is that there are people who will prefer the looks, personality, or history of a purebred animal. From Siamese and Persian cats to Dalmatians, Corgis, or Pomeranians, there is a desire to for these unique animals in our homes. But theriogenologists don't just help pet owners with purebred pets...sometimes a dog needs help with a caesarean section or a cat with a unique anatomy in their urogenital system needs special attention. Theriogenologists are available to provide expert advice for these pets as well.

So . . . now that you know a little more, tell me about your experiences with these veterinary reproductive experts!


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