Artificial Insemination Helps Pet Owners Improve Canine Breeds
Los Altos, CA (WiredPRNews.com) Dog owners seeking to mate their pets with championship canines are increasingly turning to a specialized service offered at Adobe Animal Hospital: artificial insemination (AI).
Long used to produce prize-winning horses and healthier cattle, AI is becoming a popular option for breeding dogs as well – thanks, in part to the speed of cross-country shipping services.
“We can get the frozen sperm of a male dog delivered to us overnight,” explains Jane Johnson, DVM at Adobe. “And a female can be inseminated the next day at our hospital. It works well for our clients who want purebreds because they don’t have to send their dogs all the way across the country. The process can take place right here at our hospital.”
To increase the odds for success, the concentration and motility of the male sperm is first evaluated before being chilled and shipped to Adobe. The progesterone levels in females are also checked to verify ovulation and to pinpoint the optimal time for fertilization.
Before an AI procedure begins at Adobe, dogs are screened for brucellosis, a test that is somewhat akin to checking humans for STDs (sexually transmitted diseases). If a male dog mates with an infected female, it can result in infertility in the male.
Through surgical insemination Adobe vets use a syringe to place semen into the uterus of the female. But AI does not always involve delivery trucks and long-distance mating. Sometimes both the male and female can be in the same room. In that case the semen is collected from the male and placed directly into the female’s vagina.
Approximately 21 to 30 days after the female is inseminated, Adobe vets do an ultrasound test to diagnose the pregnancy. Gestation lasts a little over two months (generally 65 days), and a week to 10 days before the due date the pregnant dog gets x-rayed to verify the number of pups in the litter.
“Some animals get stressed out during labor and will stop giving birth before all of the puppies are out!” said Dr. Johnson. “By having the x-rays done in advance we can count the number of skulls and spines of the fetuses, so we know when the dog is done giving birth.”
Pregnant females should optimally deliver their litters at home. But in some cases, veterinarians need to assist in the process and even perform a c-section for particular breeds, such as English Bull Dogs, which have large heads and small hips that make it hard to deliver the brood naturally. In those cases, a c-section is a good option to protect the health and life of the female.
The Benefits of Artificial Insemination
Because most female dogs are only fertile for a few specific days twice a year, it could prove difficult in the past to precisely coordinate mating with a prized male. AI overcomes that problem. At Adobe female dogs that undergo the AI have an 80 to 90 percent success rate. The litters produced via AI however are often smaller than those bred through natural means.
Besides streamlining the mating process AI also affords pet owners and professional breeders the opportunity to develop certain traits in their dogs, such as a gentle disposition – or to weed out potential health problems, like a tendency toward canine hip dysplasia.
Because frozen sperm can be maintained for lengthy periods, AI also makes it possible for championship males to continue reproducing even after their deaths, or in cases where illness or injury to their legs prevent them from coupling with females normally.
Owners of male stud dogs may also prefer AI because it can help protect their animals from infections.
“Most people are responsible breeders and want to bring something to the breed,” said Dr. Johnson. “Suppose I have a rottweiler that’s not only good looking but also has a good temperament and is gentle with toddlers and children. Those qualities could potentially be replicated through AI. Or someone may want to improve the breed by matching two dogs that have good hips. AI is a good option for that kind of situation as well.”
For more information contact Adobe Animal Hospital at (650) 948-9661