Sometimes mating isn’t an option. Whether it be that the sire isn’t able to mate, the dam won’t allow mating, or there is a need for the use of frozen or chilled semen from the sire. Artificial insemination is a good alternative in these circumstances to achieve a pregnancy.
We perform transcervical artificial inseminations in our clinic. This means we use an endoscope to visualise the cervix and pass a catheter through into the uterus. This is usually done consciously (no anaesthesia required) and is a non-invasive option for insemination. You can be present during the procedure if you want to be.
We will always require progesterone testing to be performed prior to an AI in our clinic. Progesterone testing gives us an indication of when the bitch is fertile and therefore provides us with the best time for insemination to increase the chances of pregnancy.
We are able to perform AI’s with fresh, chilled or frozen semen with this technique. We perform an analysis of the semen at the time of insemination so you can see the quality of semen being used. We also send you a report detailing the recommended dates for a pregnancy ultrasound (to confirm pregnancy) and pregnancy radiographs (to determine numbers) and expected date for whelping.
We do not perform vaginal or sugical inseminations. Vaginal insemination, in our opinion, is an inferior technique. Semen is normally deposited into the uterus during mating. We do not perform surgical insemination as we believe it is unnecessary and unethical to put a bitch through a surgical procedure when there is a non-invasive option.
Type of semen used
Fresh semen is used when there is easy access to the dog. A natural mating is usually preferred, however there are many circumstances when a natural mating cannot take place and we perform an AI instead. Generally, the success rate should ne higher than with chilled or frozen semen and with good sperm should be close to at least 90% chance of pregnancy
Chilled semen is often used with the dog is not readily available such as interstate. The semen is mixed with an extender to support the sperm and chilled to a refrigerator temperature. It provides a useful alternative to transporting the bitch and is an under utilised technique in Australia. The sperm stay alive for 2 – 4 days in general, although they may last up to a week. The success rate should be close to that of fresh semen if correct techniques are used Arrangements need to be made with the stud dog and their local vet. The bitch has progesterone tests to determine ovulation and then we contact the owner of the dog and organise collection and transport of the sperm to our clinic. Two inseminations are performed one day apart.
Frozen semen is often used when the dog is not available in Australia or the dog has passed away. Close monitoring of the bitch is needed and at least two artificial inseminations are performed a day apart. The success rate of the procedure varies depending often on the quality of the sperm but would range between 50 to 70% chance of pregnancy. The freezing process damages the sperm and they do not survive as long in the reproductive tract as fresh sperm. That is why close monitoring of the bitch is necessary and the success rate is lower than with other methods.