*While we do not currently offer transcervical insemination, Dr. Katelyn Ellis is highly trained in this area, and this is a service we hope to provide in the coming months*
The #1 reason for missed pregnancies or perceived "infertility" is a lack of appropriate timing. Ovulation timing uses repeat vaginal cytology evaluation and progesterone testing to determine your female’s window of fertility and her optimal breeding dates. Progesterone testing pinpoints the day of her LH surge and subsequent ovulation, and tracks cycle progression. It is also helpful in determining an accurate due date (within 2-3 days) if she does become pregnant.
A bitch should be seen 5-6 days after she begins spotting to perform initial staging and to determine a plan of action based on the type of semen being used, the method of insemination, and the availability of the stud dog. We currently receive next day progesterone results.
During a vaginal AI, a small, semi-flexible catheter with an expandable balloon is placed in the vagina, ending just in front of the cervical opening. The balloon is inflated, mimicking the bulbus glandis of a male dog during a natural breeding, and semen is placed just in front of the cervix. This method of insemination is a great option for dogs with good fertility that are unable to be bred naturally or those being bred with good quality shipped, chilled semen.
TCI is a non-invasive method of artificial insemination that deposits sperm directly in the uterus, without the potential complications of surgical insemination and with no general anesthesia required. This technique can be used for any type of semen (fresh, chilled, or frozen), and is the method of choice for frozen or poor-quality semen.
Bitches are typically inseminated while standing, and with no need for sedation. An endoscope is placed in the vagina and used to visualize the cervix, and a small catheter is passed through the cervical opening and up a uterine horn, where the semen is placed. The procedure is painless and non-inflammatory, and can be performed more than once during a cycle.
A pregnancy ultrasound should be performed between 26-28 days after the documented day of the LH surge, if ovulation timing was used. If a bitch was bred naturally with no timing, an ultrasound should be performed between 28-30 days after the last breeding. Ultrasound is the optimal method to confirm pregnancy and evaluate fetal health, and can sometimes provide a rough estimate of litter size. However, a late-term x-ray is necessary during the last week of pregnancy to get an accurate puppy count.
For bitches that will be whelping naturally, we recommend that an x-ray be performed during the last week of pregnancy (day 55-60 post LH surge) to get an accurate puppy count and to compare fetal size to the birth canal size. If it is a very small litter (< 2 puppies) and/or the puppies are too large, a cesarean section will likely be necessary.