A decline in canine fertility is said to be caused by human contamination of the environment.
The fertility levels of dogs may have suffered a decline over the past 30 years. This may be because of certain pollutants that are rife in the environment. The study was published in in the academic journal Scientific Reports.
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Sperm quality of dogs suffered over a 26 year period. This was due to environmental contaminants. The chemicals were found in high concentrations in the sperm and testes of dogs. Also some pet foods had these chemicals in them.
A dog has been said to be man’s best friend. This study on the fertility levels of dogs may help us determine the reason behind the decline in sperm quality of human beings too.
Dogs are said to have been the companions of men throughout history. Early man used to throw leftovers from meals to dogs. Dogs and humans share the same milieu, show the same symptoms as far as some diseases are concerned and respond to similar therapies.
The study concentrated on stud dogs. Five breeds of dogs were studied: Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, curly coat retrievers, border collies and German shepherds.
Semen samples were taken from these dogs and analyzed for its quality. Its patterns of motility were also noted down. Over a 26 year time span the decline in sperm quality was evident.
Between 1988 and 1998, sperm motility declined by 2.5% annually. From 2002 to 2014, this trend continued at a rate of 1.2%. Also the male pups, that were sired by these sperm-deficient dogs, were more likely to have cryptorchidism.
In this case, the testes of the pups do not completely descend into the scrotum. Environmental contaminants spread by man’s polluting ways were responsible for all of this.
Ironically, these selfsame contaminants were found in greater than average concentrations in pet food for dogs. Especially brands meant for puppy consumption contained these harmful chemicals.
While genes may have something to do with it, 26 years are too small a period of time to alter canine genes. Such is not even remotely possible.
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Testicular dysgenesis syndrome is a common ailment that has reared its head since the past 70 odd years. It has an impact on male fertility. Overall the issue of undescended testes is a controversial one though.