We offer canine AI (Artificial Insemination) services including collection of semen for immediate artificial insemination and surgical insemination using frozen or chilled semen.
(Note: We do not at this time collect semen for either chilled or frozen storage. Collection is for immediate insemination with the female present.)
Fresh Collection and Immediate Insemination of the Bitch:
Timing is very important for the success of Canine AI breedings. We routinely use Progesterone blood testing to determine the date of ovulation of the breeding bitch. Our Progesterone tests are run at an outside laboratory. We typically get results within 12-24 hours so the use of this tool to determine the ideal breeding time is very beneficial. Serial progesterone tests are run (usually every 2 days) to determine the point of ovulation. Natural cover (natural breeding) or freshly collected AI is best performed 2-3 days post ovulation.
***Whelping due date is calculated to be 62 days following ovulation (regardless of breeding dates!)***
Surgical Artificial Insemination With Frozen Semen:
Please note for AI (Artificial Insemination) using frozen semen we only offer surgical insemination. (It would be nice to have a scope!)
With the frozen AI the timing is even more important than that of a regular, fresh AI so progesterone testing is crucial. We typically test every 2nd day until progesterone starts to rise or the heat cycle advances (as some bitches love to sit at a real low level for 7-10 days then spike like crazy!). You know your bitch the best so using the history of past heat cycles as a quide is a big help. If it is a situation where the progesterone is beginning to rise then daily testing is necessary. Once they hit or cross 16 nmol/L we know they have ovulated. Where live cover or fresh AI is then best done 2-3 days after ovulation the frozen AI needs to be done 3-4 days after ovulation. Timing is critical so it is really important that we know exactly when she ovulated. Usually we have the semen tank shipped here once the progesterone testing is underway. The tanks are usually stable for 7 days.
The surgical procedure:
The surgery itself is handled much like a spay. We use a full general anaesthetic (using the same safe, efficient protocol we use for C-sections). A complete surgical prep is performed and an abdominal incision is made along the linea and the horns of the uterus are exposed. The semen sample is prepared using precise handling techniques (this is really THE MOST critical part of the entire procedure) and it is delivered by needle/syringe into each horn of the uterus close to the ovaries. The incision is then closed and the patient is recovered. (We always like to make a slide of discharge from the vulva after the surgery to check for sperm). Post operative precautions are as per any abdominal surgery. (Unlike a spay though there really isn’t any risk of bleeding as no vessels are ligated.) Usually the patient is able to go home as soon as they are able to stand and walk after surgery but we do ask that she stay quiet for the following week keeping in mind she has undergone an abdominal surgery. We do like to send the bitch home with some pain medication post operatively for a few days to keep her comfortable.
Success of surgical AI:
The success of the frozen insemination has many variables. We have had great success and we have also had some who did not end up pregnant. The quality of the semen coming to us is very important and there seems to be quite a range of standards to which the semen is collected/kept and documented. Timing of the insemination is critical as the frozen semen has a reduced ‘lifespan’ once thawed so the bitch needs to have ovulated and have had time for ova to mature and be ready for fertilization. There is a maturation process once ovulation occurs which is why frozen inseminations are conducted later than live cover or fresh AI.
If you have a bitch which would be a candidate for breeding using frozen semen please contact us at 613-624-5554. One of our Technicians or Veterinarians experienced in surgical insemination would be happy to discuss the procedure further and address any questions or concerns.