Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)TiHo eLib

Ovarian and uterine changes during the oestrous cycle in female dogs


An accurate staging of sexual cycle is essential for the optimum timing of medical interventions.


Here, an updated insight into clinical, endocrinological and vagino-cytological parameters, and their correlation with histomorphology of ovarian and uterine tissue samples is presented.


Samples from 39 dogs were collected at various stages of the oestrous cycle: pro-oestrus (n =8), oestrus (n =12), dioestrus (n =9) (luteal phase) and anoestrus (n =10), according to clinical observations. Final allocation of samples was done after histomorphological evaluation of all tissues. Peripheral oestradiol-17ß (E2) and progesterone (P4) concentrations were measured, P4 by both chemiluminescent immunoassay (CLIA) and radioimmunoassay (RIA).

Key results

Differences were observed between determination of the stage of the oestrous cycle, either by clinical, endocrinological or histomorphological evaluation. Individuals considered to be in clinical and endocrinological oestrus, had entered the luteal phase according to histomorphology. P4 concentrations measured by two different assays differed, underlying the importance to understand that absolute P4 concentrations may deviate depending on the used assay. Comparison of E2 and P4 concentrations is suggested to be useful when defining the transition from early follicular phase to the time of ovulation.

Conclusions and implications

Based on parallel histomorphological observations, combined with clinical and endocrinological findings on the same individuals, the present study emphasises that an accurate classification of the stage of the cycle in female dogs based solely on clinical and endocrinological assessments can be difficult. The histomorphological findings presented herein provide new insights into the transitional phases between the different stages of the oestrous cycle in the dog.


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