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While natural insemination is typically the preferred method of breeding, certain limitations present the need for artificial insemination, or AI. These circumstances include proximity between the bitch and the stud, the quality of semen, the fertility of the bitch, and behavioral challenges that prevent natural breeding from occurring, among other factors. Three primary methods of canine artificial insemination exist: transvaginal, surgical, and transcervical. Tier 1 Veterinary Medical Center can help you determine the best breeding method for your dog’s particular situation.
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Methods of Artificial Insemination
- Transvaginal - This type of insemination requires the least expertise and special equipment. Breeders often perform the procedure themselves. They insert a pipette into the bitch’s vagina, depositing the semen in front of the cervix. Depending on the quality of semen and the bitch’s fertility, the dog’s hindquarters may need to be elevated for 15 minutes after the procedure to increase the conception rate. Fresh or chilled semen is optimal for this method of insemination.
- Surgical - Surgically inseminating the bitch is the most invasive breeding method and requires anesthesia. For surgical insemination, a veterinary surgeon makes an incision in the bitch’s abdomen and locates the uterus. The semen is then injected into the uterus. Surgical insemination offers the highest conception rate but also presents the most risk to the mother.
- Transcervical - During transcervical insemination (TCI), the semen bypasses the cervix and is deposited directly into the uterus. Using an endoscope to the see cervix, the veterinarian administers the semen into the uterus with a catheter.
Benefits of Transcervical Insemination
Tier 1 VMC offers transcervical insemination. This breeding method provides a variety of benefits compared to the transvaginal and surgical methods. The goal of breeding is always to improve conception rates, increase litter sizes, produce healthy puppies, and --- above all --- to protect the health of the mother. Transcervical insemination does not require anesthesia and, when performed correctly by a veterinarian with extensive reproductive experience like Tier 1 VMC’s Dr. Emily Clinton, preserves the health of the bitch’s reproductive tract. The procedure is performed with the dog in a standing position and takes between 15 and 30 minutes. The dog can return home immediately after the procedure with minimal recovery, as opposed to the lengthy recovery period that a surgery of any kind entails. TCI also allows for the use of fresh, chilled, or frozen semen. This presents a flexibility that is not possible with transvaginal insemination, which requires high-quality fresh or chilled semen.
Considerations Before Breeding
Transcervical artificial insemination, as well as any other breeding method, necessitates careful planning and thoughtful consideration. You must track your dog’s ovulation cycle to identify the optimal time to schedule the procedure in order to maximize conception rates. You must also plan the sourcing of the semen well in advance. Will you use fresh, chilled, or frozen semen? Is the insemination method you’re considering conducive for the type of semen you will be using? Tier 1 VMC can help you navigate this exciting yet overwhelming process as you plan to bring a healthy litter of puppies into the world!