By Merry Fitzgerald, DVM
Now that I know when she is ready, what is the best
way to breed her?
INSEMINATION TIMES and procedures can vary depending on the type of breeding and the type of semen being used. Natural breedings or artificial insemination with fresh semen (dog and bitch are both present) can be done 2 to 6 days after the LH peak or a progesterone level of 2 ng/ ml is reached.
Good quality fresh semen can live for 5-7 days. It is preferable to breed earlier if possible in these situations to ensure the semen is present when the eggs are receptive. By pinpointing the bitch's fertile period, one well-timed breeding should be adequate for conception, although multiple covers or inseminations can be done if desired.
Fresh chilled semen is prepared by collecting the dog and separating out the second, or sperm-rich, fraction. Extender is a nutrient broth which is added to protect and preserve the sperm during the chilling process. Fresh chilled semen has a shorter life span of 3-5 days. Insemination should be done on days 4, 5, or 6. Shipping arrangements, especially around weekends and holidays, can be tricky,so it is best to have a backup plan if the semen gets delayed.
Frozen semen can be sent a few days ahead of time and will be fine in the shipping container for up to a week. Since frozen semen survives only 12-24 hours after being thawed, exact ovulation timing, proper thawing procedure and precise insemination technique are required to ensure success. Days 5 or 6 are best for insemination. Occasionally, a surgical insemination on day 5 will be combined with vaginal inseminations on days 4 and 6.
There are several methods of artificial insemination to consider. These include vaginal deposition, surgical implantation,and trans-cervical insemination. Dog-to-dog, or side by-side,artificial inseminations using fresh semen and a long, semi- rigid insemination pipette deposit the semen
in the vagina, as far forward, or close to the cervix as possible.
Fresh Al's afford the opportunity to examine the semen prior to insemination. If the quality is poor, another collection can be attempted or an alternate stud can be chosen. Aggressive bitches
or those with narrow or small vulvar openings may not be able to be bred naturally. Males with low libido or trouble mounting may be more comfortable being collected.
Frozen semen breedings are almost always done by surgical implant. The bitch is anesthetized and a small incision is made near the umbilicus. The uterus is located and the semen is injected into both horns. Surgical inseminations are recommended if the semen quality is poor or the amount of frozen semen stored is limited.
Another option for insemination of frozen semen is the trans-cervicaltechnique. This is done by using a rigid endoscope or "Norwegian catheter". The endoscope is more widely used than the Norwegian catheter. With the endoscope the operator can see the deposition in the uterus on the monitor. Trans-cervical inseminations rarely require the bitch to be sedated.
Fresh chilled semen can be deposited in the vagina using a pipette,or placed direct ly into the uterus surgically or with a trans
cer vical technique. The samp le should be prepared according to which type of insemination is being performed. A smaller amount of extender, l-2 mis, would be added to the sperm-rich fraction for a surgical or trans-cervical procedure,and a larger amount of
extender, 4-8 mis, would be added for a vaginal insemination.
The use of chilled and frozen semen provides access to stud dogs all over the world, without the worry of shipping valuable bitches for breeding. Artificial insemination greatly reduces the risk of injury and disease transmission during breeding. With reproductively normal bitches and stud dogs, proper collection and insemination techniques, and accurate ovulation timing,chilled and frozen semen inseminations have close to the same success rate as natural breedings.