Canine Artificial Insemination
In some countries where sire and dam may live thousands of miles apart, or where contagious diseases such as Brucellosis exist, then artificial insemination(AI) of dogs is considered the norm. In the UK natural matings are by far the most common method of producing puppies. (And indeed for KC registered dogs there are regulations to be followed, please check the KC website for up to date information)
AI however does have its place for inseminating imported semen, frozen semen and semen of poor quality, and for inseminating a bitch if a natural mating is not possible. For example if the stud has suffered an injury, or if the bitch will not allow mounting/mating by a particular dog. Some anatomical abnormalities of the female reproductive tract will mean AI is the only chance that bitch will have of producing puppies. The abnormality should obviously not be of a hereditary nature
There are three ways of performing artificial insemination
- Vaginally – this is usually carried out with good quality, fresh semen. The semen is inserted into the cranial part of the vagina with a catheter. Mavic catheters have a ‘balloon cuff’ which prevents the semen flowing back out of the vagina and also stimulates contractions of the reproductive tract by simulating the ‘tie’ of a natural mating.
- Transcervically – this method deposits the semen through the cervix into the uterus. It can be carried out with a Norwegian catheter (by palpation) or with an endoscope where the catheter can be viewed passing through the cervix. Insemination directly into the uterus is the preferred method for chilled semen and semen of poor quality and is the only recommended route for frozen semen. Most bitches will stand without sedation for the TCI procedure to be carried out, and although not an easy technique to master it is usually possible for most bitches to be inseminated in this manner. Maiden bitches and bitches with a long reproductive tract can prove particularly challenging.
- Surgically – this involves inserting the semen directly into the uterus via a small abdominal incision. It has to be carried out under a general anaesthetic and because of this the RCVS, BVA and the KC will only allow this procedure under exceptional circumstances. It does however allow the vet to examine the uterus and also the ovaries and cervix visually and manually if a problem is thought to exist. Surgical insemination has proved very successful and continues to be widely used in the racing greyhound industry and many other countries worldwide. XX —Please note, canine surgical AI has recently (Feb 2019) been banned in the U.K.—XX