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Canine Reproduction

//Canine Reproduction
Canine Reproduction 2017-12-14T20:07:10+00:00

Pre-Breeding & First Visit

Prior to breeding, it is important to determine if your stud dog or bitch is a good candidate to either sire or carry a litter.  On your first visit, your dog will receive a comprehensive physical exam to assess his/her health.

  • Please bring the following information with you for your first visit:
    • Copy of registration certificate (AKC, UKC, etc.)
    • Most recent brucellosis test (if already done)
    • Copy of DNA (if already done)
    • Any recent bloodwork from the past 6 months (including progestone for females)
    • Medical records if any recent or chronic problems
    • Vaccination records
  • Please fill out the appropriate form for your first visit and bring the completed form to the appointment:

OFA

Appointments Only with Dr. Joann Randall

The Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) was established “to promote the health and welfare of companion animals through a reduction in the incidence of genetic disease.”  The OFA screens for many inherited diseases for particular breeds.

There are different inherited orthopedic diseases for different breeds of dogs.  Some inherited diseases that are screened by OFA prior to breeding include: hypothyroidism, cardiac disease, congenital deafness, and a skin condition called sebaceous adenitis.  As far as orthopedic inherited diseases, smaller breed dogs have a higher incidence of patellar luxation where as larger breeds are more prone to hip dysplasia.

Responsible breeding acknowledges that hip dysplasia and other inherited diseases can be minimized by selective breeding. Learning the history of animals involved in breeding programs, and striving to breed healthy animals that have sound body structures and good dispositions will increase the chances of producing healthy offspring.

Radiographs of hips, elbows, knees and shoulders can be submitted . There is a standard by which all veterinarians must follow regarding the positioning of the animal being radiographed, the labeling of the radiographs and forms submitted.  In this way, the x-rays are consistent.  The Orthopedic Foundation of Animals keeps a database of all breeds over many generations.  When dogs are radiographed, owners need to bring in their AKC registration forms and their pet should be micro chipped for identification.

Prior to your OFA appointment, we require that you visit the following website to download, fill out and print the proper application.  This application, along with a copy of your animals registration papers must accompany at the time of your appointment.  Your dog will be scanned to verify the microchip number at the time of the evaluation.

Reminder

We can only run the tests you are scheduled for if you have:

  • the filled out OFA application
  • a copy of your dogs registration (i.e. AKC, UKC, etc.)

If you have any questions concerning the process, please don’t hesitate to contact us: (724) 717-2273

Chilled Semen

What is “chilled” semen?

Chilled semen is one of the most popular ways semen is transported and used today. “Chilled” means that the semen is collected and then chilled down, or held at refrigerator temperature (40° F), using ice packs during transport overnight.This slows the semen activity down so that it does not use up much energy until it is warmed up inside of the bitch after inseminating.

  • Benefits for Using Chilled Semen for Breeding
    • Convenience of getting semen overnight from a stud dog located far away without having to ship either the stud dog or the bitch.
    • Longevity of storage as extended, chilled semen lives several days so can be collected and refrigerated if the stud dog is going out of town and the bitch is not yet ready to be bred.

Chilled Semen Procedure

Once the semen has been collected and evaluated for quantity, motility and quality, it is mixed in a test tube with an extender. Extender is a solution that contains nutrients, buffers, antibiotics, and cell wall protectants to help preserve the sperm quality and integrity while being chilled and shipped. We always check the semen again, after it has been extended, and show you the sample prior to shipment so you can see how it looks.

There are many different brands of extenders and some dogs do better with one versus another. If we have a semen sample that doesn’t seem to survive well in a particular extender, we will collect him and do a “semen trial.” We divide up his sample into different extenders, put it in the refrigerator overnight to simulate shipping and then examine the sample the next day to see which extender works the best for him.

The tube is then properly labeled with the dog’s name, owner’s name, date, breed and AKC number and securely packaged in a Styrofoam box containing ice packs. Paperwork is placed in the box displaying the quantity of semen and extender so the veterinarian receiving the semen knows the details of the sample they are using.

Requirements and Recommendations

AKC requires that all dogs used for chilled, extended semen have DNA numbers to register the litter. We can collect the DNA sample on the day of the collection (should the stud dog not have a number), fill out appropriate paperwork and mail to AKC.

We also highly recommend that all stud dogs have a negative Brucellosis test within 1 year of collecting and shipping chilled semen.

It is also recommended that the stud dog be collected and have a semen analysis done a week or so before the semen is needed. Prostate disease, the stress of showing, summer heat, or recent illnesses are some of the factors that may significantly decrease semen quality and/or quantity. Unless tested, the stud dog owner is unaware of the status of the dog’s semen. It is an inopportune moment at the time of shipment to discover that he is subfertile!

Please contact our office early when the recipient bitch starts her heat cycle so we can initiate communication with everyone involved. Good communication is the key to making the process run smoothly!

Shipping chilled

After processing the semen, the tube is properly labeled with the dog’s name, owner’s name, date, breed and AKC number and securely packaged in a Styrofoam box containing ice packs. Paperwork is placed in the box displaying the quantity of semen and extender so the veterinarian receiving the semen knows the details of the sample they are using.

We ship all of our semen using FedEx as the carrier. Most of the semen is shipped overnight with a guarantee that the recipient will receive it by 10:30 AM the next morning. Our facility is a known shipper, so we can ship or receive semen 365 days of the year, although it can be quite costly to ship “same day” to many areas of the country or on holidays. We send the recipient the tracking number after the box has been picked up, so they can watch the progression of the shipment on-line.

For the stud dog owner/handler

We will need the following pieces of information at the time of collection for shipping chilled semen:

  • Copy of his registration papers
  • Copy of his DNA certificate (This can be done on the day of the collection at our clinic. Just a reminder: AKC requires DNA when registering a litter from chilled semen)
  • Copy of his most recent Brucellosis test results (if last test was run more than 1 year ago, we will require one be run in house at time of collection)
  • If you are sending an agent to handle your dog, the follow form is required:
    Agent authorization for semen collection, evaluation and usage​ FORM #2

For the bitch owner requesting semen

Please fill out the entire form below and return (email, fax, etc) . If you are emailing the form please send it to Reproduction@UVSCares.com.
Please do not call us with the information as we don’t want to risk any mistakes resulting in delayed shipment!
Shipping chilled canine semen request FORM #3

Artificial Insemination

Vaginal Insemination

This is where semen is placed directly into the bitch’s vaginal canal just outside of the opening into the uterus, at the cervix.  Usually this type of insemination is performed using fresh semen which has just been collected minutes prior from the stud dog or chilled semen shipped in overnight after collecting the stud dog from a distant location.

The procedure is done using an insemination tube gently inserted into the vaginal canal. The female’s hind legs are then elevated to help the semen move forward to the opening into the uterus with the aid of gravity.

ONLY fresh or chilled semen (not frozen) can be put in vaginally.

Requirements for Vaginal Insemination

  • Copy of most recent Brucellosis test results for BOTH stud dog and bitch (if last test was run more than 1 year ago, we will require one be run in house at time of collection)
  • Both animals require a reproduction exam by Animal Hospital of Woodstock within the past year
  • Copy of progesterone test confirming ovulation (can be run in-clinic if needed)

On the day of insemination, if you are bringing in your bitch (you are the owner) and the stud dog owner is bringing in the stud dog for collection, there is no paperwork required.

For the bitch agent/handler

If you are sending in an agent/handler with your bitch, the following form needs to be completed and returned to us. (If you are emailing form, send to Reproduction@UVSCares.com)

Agent authorization for bitch breeding FORM #1

For the stud dog agent/handler

If you are sending an agent/handler with your stud dog to be collected for the insemination, the following form needs to be completed and returned to us. (If you are emailing form, send to Reproduction@UVSCares.com)

Agent authorization for semen collection, evaluation and usage FORM #2

Transcervical Insemination

With the aid of a long, slender scope slowly introduced into the vaginal canal, the cervical opening is visualized and a sterile, flexible catheter is passed through the opening into the uterus, where the semen is directly deposited.  One of the main advantages of this type of insemination is that there is no anesthetic needed as the bitch usually will stand quietly for the procedure.

Fresh and chilled semen can all be inseminated using this technique.

Requirements for Transcervical Insemination (TCI)

  • Copy of most recent Brucellosis test results for BOTH stud dog and bitch (if last test was run more than 1 year ago, we will require one be run in house at time of collection)
  • Both animals require a reproduction exam by Animal Hospital of Woodstock within the past year (fresh semen usage only)
  • Copy of progesterone test confirming ovulation (can be run in-clinic if needed) Please contact us for progesterone protocol if you are inseminating with frozen semen
  • LH testing (frozen semen usage only)

Inseminating with fresh or chilled semen:

On the day of insemination, if you are bringing in your bitch (you are the owner) and the stud dog owner is bringing in the stud dog for collection, there is no paperwork required.

For the bitch agent/handler

If you are sending in an agent/handler with your bitch, the following form needs to be completed and returned to us. (If you are emailing form, send to Reproduction@UVSCares.com)
Agent authorization for bitch breeding FORM #1

For the stud dog agent/handler

If you are sending an agent/handler with your stud dog to be collected for the insemination, the following form needs to be completed and returned to us. (If you are emailing form, send to Reproduction@UVSCares.com)
Agent authorization for semen collection, evaluation and usage FORM #2

Surgical Insemination

There are definitely times when it is advantageous to surgically inseminate a bitch.  For example, if she has a history of losing successive pregnancies or is an older bitch having problems with conception, a great deal can be learned by visualizing her reproductive tract on the inside.  We can check for cysts, tumors, blockages, adhesions, etc. and take biopsy and culture samples to help diagnose a fertility problem.

With surgical insemination, the bitch is under a general anesthetic and an incision is made on her midline below her umbilicus.  The uterus is located and the semen is deposited directly into the uterus through a small catheter introduced with a fine needle.  The abdomen is sutured closed and the bitch goes home shortly after she wakes up.

Fresh and chilled semen can be used for surgical insemination.

Requirements for Surgical Insemination

  • Copy of most recent Brucellosis test results for BOTH stud dog and bitch (if last test was run more than 1 year ago, we will require one be run in house at time of collection)
  • Both animals require a reproduction exam by Animal Hospital of Woodstock within the past year (fresh semen usage only)
  • Copy of progesterone test confirming ovulation (can be run in-clinic if needed)

Inseminating with fresh or chilled semen:

On the day of insemination, if you are bringing in your bitch (you are the owner) and the stud dog owner is bringing in the stud dog for collection, there is no paperwork required.

For the bitch agent/handler

If you are sending in an agent/handler with your bitch, the following form needs to be completed and returned to us. (If you are emailing form, send to Reproduction@UVSCares.com)
Agent authorization for bitch breeding FORM #1

For the stud dog agent/handler

If you are sending an agent/handler with your stud dog to be collected for the insemination, the following form needs to be completed and returned to us. (If you are emailing form, send to Reproduction@UVSCares.com)
Agent authorization for semen collection, evaluation and usage FORM #2

Pregnancy Imaging

Ultrasound

After your female has been bred, you will be anxious to know if she is pregnant! The most common method used for pregnancy diagnosis is an ultrasound exam.

We typically recommend doing a pregnancy ultrasound 28 days after the first breeding.  A small area of her lower abdomen in the middle under her umbilicus will be minimally shaved and she is placed comfortably on her back in a padded trough.  There is no anesthetic used and you can be there to visualize the puppies!  We can also give you a file of your ultrasound so you can have the “first pictures”!

Another advantage of ultrasound evaluations is that we can assess the well-being and stability of the puppies in the uterus at that time by looking at puppy heart rates to evaluate fetal stress, evaluating the placentas, and determine developmental stage.  Oftentimes, we can detect a problem early in the pregnancy and take measures to help sustain a pregnancy to term.

Radiographs

In small litters we like to take an x-ray about 2-4 days prior to the expected delivery date to assess the positions of the puppies, number, and general size.  With large litters (greater than 6 puppies) we cannot give you a puppy count, so recommend taking an x-ray after whelping is complete to make sure everybody is out.  We use digitized radiography so we are able to give you a copy of the x-ray for your files.

C-Section (Planned)

There are situations when it may be safer for the bitch and/or the puppies to plan a scheduled c-section, or one that we plan during the daytime office hours.

Examples include:

  • Brachycephalic breeds (ex: Bulldog, Pug, etc.)
  • Bitch with certain illnesses (ex: Diabetes)
  • Dam with known reproductive anatomic problems (narrow pelvis)
  • Bitch known from previous litters to have uterine inertia
  • Extremely large number of puppies in uterus or singletons

Even when we plan to do a scheduled c-section, we need to be very careful not to take the puppies too soon, but to wait until they are fully mature.  We use collaborative information including the calculated expected due date, temperature patterns, progesterone numbers, and gut motility/fetal heart rates from ultrasound to determine the exact c-section date we are comfortable with on ALL of our scheduled deliveries.

Female Infertility Testing

Appointments Only with Dr. Joann Randall

If you have scheduled an appointment for an infertility evaluation, please print the following form and bring in the completed form to your appointment:
Bitch history for reproductive evaluation FORM #11

If your bitch is having problems with normal heat cycles, getting pregnant or carrying a litter to term, there are several reproductive tests that can be performed.

  1. Reproductive hormone testing:
  • Progesterone: We run this test in-house and have accurate results in about 2 hours.
  1. Laboratory tests offered:
  • Vaginal cytology: in-house vaginal smears to assess period in estrous cycle
  • Vaginal cultures: sent out for bacterial/Mycoplasma/Ureaplasmaevaluations
  • Brucellosis
  • DNA/genetics testing
  • Urinalysis
  • Herpes virus titer
  1. Ultrasound: For females with a history of losing litters or problems with conception, ultrasound can help visualize abnormalities of the uterus or ovaries. .
  2. Transcervical/surgical diagnostic procedures:
  • Uterine culture
  • Vaginal canal scoping/culture/ We utilize both a rigid and flexible scope with a camera to allow us to visualize growths or congenital abnormalities in the vaginal canal that may be causing unusual bleeding or breeding problems

Male Infertility Testing

Appointments Only with Dr. Joann Randall

If you have scheduled an appointment for an infertility evaluation, please print the following form and bring in the completed form to your appointment:
Male Dog History for Reproductive Evaluation FORM #12

If your male is having difficulty breeding or getting bitches pregnant, there are several diagnostic tests we offer.

  1. Reproductive hormone testing
  1. Laboratory tests offered:
  • Semen analysis – quantitative and morphology
  • Semen culture – bacteria/Mycoplasma/Ureaplasma
  • Brucellosis
  • DNA/genetic testing
  • Urinalysis
  1. Ultrasound: this is a good diagnostic tool to look for abnormalities of the male reproductive tract (prostate and testicles)
  2. Surgical procedures:
  • Testicular aspirates/biopsies
  • Prostatic aspirates/biopsies