Vaginal – Fresh or Fresh Chilled Artificial Insemination (AI)
What is Side by Side Canine Artificial Insemination
At its simplest AI describes collecting semen from the male in the presence of the bitch and using a catheter to place the semen in the vagina, referred to as “side by side” AI. In theory, this method is as likely to produce as many puppies as a natural mating. One point worth considering is that this does not require the bitch’s co-operation so without progesterone testing it is difficult to know if the timing is correct.
Vaginal Artificial Insemination with good quality fresh chilled extended semen
Next in order of simplicity is vaginal insemination with good quality fresh chilled extended semen. One problem for the breeder doing their own insemination is in assessing semen quality. This is an area where Calder Vets can help. It is possible for our trained staff to look at a small sample of semen and evaluate the quality.
In general, vaginal inseminations may be used when:
- Motility is 40% or greater
- Sperm numbers are adequate – at least 200 million live sperm cells should be used with a vaginal insemination
If when evaluated the semen is not of good quality the breeder then has the chance to use Transcervical Insemination (TCI) and perhaps semen enhancing products from Cani Pro/Mini tübe to improve the chances of conception.
There are many different types of catheters that can be used for vaginal AI. At Calder Vets we insert a special artificial insemination catheter, the Mini Tübe MAVIC catheter, which introduces semen into the region of the cervix at the very end of the vagina. A bulb at the end of the catheter is inflated to mimic the swelling of the dog’s penis during mating. This not only prevents back flow of semen but stimulates the vaginal wall resulting in oxytocin release and stimulation of vaginal and uterine smooth muscle contractions which facilitates transport of the sperm into the uterus.
After the bulb is inflated, fresh semen is slowly injected down the catheter into the far end of the vagina. This is then followed by warm canine semen extender which functions to help flush the semen into the uterus in the same way prostatic fluid does during natural mating.
This is a technique that can be used in all bitches, is non-invasive, requires less skill and equipment than the intra-uterine AI techniques and therefore is also economical. It works well because it mimics the features of the natural mating which are intended to aid the sperms progress into the uterus and hence maximizes conception rates. Also, as the bulb prevents back leaking of semen, there is no need to elevate the hind quarters of the bitch after insemination.
Transcervical – Fresh, Chilled, Frozen
Artificial Insemination with poorer quality fresh chilled or frozen semen
The freeze-thawing process significantly reduces the sperm’s lifespan in the bitches’ reproductive tract compared to fresh or fresh-chilled semen. Furthermore, usually lower numbers of sperm are available per mating, i.e. 100 million motile frozen-thawed sperm compared to 400-1000 million sperm in a natural mating.
For these reasons placing the frozen- thawed semen directly into the uterus is recommended this maximizes the chances of pregnancy and increase the chances of a normal litter size. This technique was developed, in New Zealand, by Dr. Marion Wilson in the 1980s and involves placing a rigid scope, with a camera attached, into the vagina. A special catheter is then guided through the cervix and into the uterus which deposits the semen directly into the uterus. TCI achieves direct intrauterine insemination without surgery.
It is straightforward and stress free in most bitches without sedation. A TCI when the chilled semen quality is marginal (40 to 50% motility) may make the difference between success and failure. A TCl when the chilled semen quality is very poor (<20%) may not make any difference at all, although it is difficult to declare semen as useless as some litters have been produced by TCI using semen which looked very poor quality indeed.
Canine Artificial insemination and the Kennel Club
The kennel club will accept registration of puppies whelped from bitches bred by artificial insemination provided that:
- At the time of insemination the sire is not alive and resident in the UK (except Irish Wolfhounds over 8.5 years old)
- The sire must have previously produced a litter by natural mating
- Litters produced by AI from female progeny of a bitch that has not produced a litter by natural service will not be registered unless she has previously produced a litter by natural service
- Litters produced by surgical AI will only be registered in exceptional circumstances
For further information refer to Kennel Club.
To find out about our other canine reproduction services please contact one of the team today who will be happy to answer any questions you may have.