Canine Artificial Insemination
The Fuller household has now experienced their second German shorthaired pointer litter via artificial insemination (AI). Our first AI litter was during the spring of 2016 and consisted of eight robust healthy puppies. Our current litter is seven robust healthy puppies.
Artificial insemination has been used for many years. I can recall my father, a veterinarian, using AI in the 1960s for cattle. However, the old method was the use of frozen semen. Frozen semen has a rocky history. Due to the quality of the semen, there were times the frozen product simply didn’t work. Plus, it was more difficult to insert into the female animal. The more modern method is the use of chilled semen.
Before we discuss the actual chilled semen process, let’s look at the reasons for using artificial insemination for a breeding program. The most common reason is geographic. Although a kennel may have a fine bloodline they’ve developed, they may want to introduce new genetics. Perhaps a different stud dog may have preferred coloring, known to have a superior nose, be a natural backer or has produced numerous field champions. In the old days, you would either ship your female hundreds of miles or take a week-long road trip to bring your female to the desired sire. Those days are over if you have an experienced artificial insemination veterinary hospital near-by.
The Fuller artificial insemination success is based on using an experienced veterinary technician for both the semen collection and the instillation of the semen into the bitch. After ensuring that both the female and male are in good health and free of communicable viruses and infections, the first step is to identify when the dam is approaching her prime breeding period. Once the estrus cycle begins (spotting is seen by owner), the veterinary hospital will ask that the female be brought to the hospital five to six days after the beginning of the cycle. At this time, the veterinary technician will perform a progesterone test. This test helps predict when ovulation will occur. This is very important since we need to notify the owner of the sire that the need for semen is upcoming.
There are different methods of collecting fresh semen. In the veterinary hospital we use, a very experienced technician can manipulate the male to produce fresh semen within a minute or two. However, often an in-heat female is brought into the picture to stimulate the male into an erect penis. The excitement of the female makes manipulation and collection much easier.
After the semen has been collected, it is examined with a microscope to determined concentration, mobility and anatomical correction of the semen. All of these factors help ensure the success of the artificial insemination process. Once the semen has been determined to be suitable, it is chilled, packaged and sent via overnight delivery to the veterinary hospital representing the female. Once the semen has been received, it is again checked for concentration and mobility. Again, if both factors are good, the chances of a successful breeding are much higher.
Upon receipt of the healthy semen, the hospital contacts the female’s owner and asks that the bitch be brought to the hospital for insemination. From simply being an observer, I believe the method used for chilled semen was called intra-vaginal. The semen is placed into a syringe which is attached to a long plastic catheter. The catheter is inserted into the vulva and then gently pushed forward into the vagina. When the technician senses that the catheter cannot go any further, the bitch is held at a 45 degree angle with hind feet in the air. The syringe is then depressed which releases the semen. After insertion of the semen, the catheter is removed and the bitch continues to he held up for another 15 minutes to allow the semen to migrate into the uterus and locate the eggs. Nature now takes over.
That, my friends, through a layman’s eyes, is the process of chilled semen artificial insemination. It’s a very effective method of using a desired stud dog that lives hundreds of miles from the bitch. I would like to mention that we have used The Broadview Animal Hospital’s Canine Repro Division in Rochester, NH for our two successful AI procedure.
AI allows you to select a very desired sire anywhere in the continental United States and never leave home with your female.
Copyright 2017 Paul Fuller
Paul Fuller is a life-long sportsman. He’s been an outdoor writer since 1971. He’s the host and producer of the award winning Bird Dogs Afield TV show (www.birddogsafield.com) and produced the epic video Grouse, Guns & Dogs. Paul shot over his first German shorthaired pointer in 1961. Paul may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.