Basic Guide to Artificial Insemination
Basic Guide to Artificial Insemination for Dogs
While performing the AI procedure is relatively simple, there are a few things you will need to know to get it done right. We have created this post to give you a brief overview of the main principles of artificial insemination. Don’t worry about becoming an expert overnight or feeling like you have to know exactly how to perform AI before you get the tools to accomplish the act. Once you understand the procedures and have decided the best methods for your situation, practice makes perfect.
Our kit comes with a very detailed and comprehensive guide to AI. The first time or two actually going through the process may feel a little awkward, but as you become accustomed to the way artificial insemination works, you’ll find you pick up speed and relax more during the procedure. Following the step-by-step method it will help you develop the skills to perform the routine faster as you gain experience.
What Does AI Involve?
Stud dog owners and the owners of the bitches both have separate procedures to learn. For those who wish to artificially inseminate on-site, where both stud and bitch are present, it will be necessary to become comfortable with both sides of the operation (collections and Insemination). Each AI kit we have available has the tools needed for both stud collection and female insemination.
Collecting Semen for Use in Artificial Insemination
The collection process may feel strange at first, but once you get used to the technique it is simple and quick. Having a bitch in heat available will make the process easier. However, it isn’t absolutely necessary.
There are chemical preparations that resemble the estrus scent, or you can collect some secretions on gauze and freeze it for later use when needed. The scent of the bitch helps get the stud dog in the mood, and ready to perform. Once the male is excited, simple manipulation will produce the ejaculate that can be used immediately or stored for later use.
AI Semen Preparation
Once you have collected the semen, there are four ways traditionally used to prepare, store and ship it.
If you wish, collected semen can be examined for motility, volume and morphology. Fresh semen is collected on-site and used immediately in the selected bitch. Fresh-extended semen is basically the same as regular fresh, but it has additional fluid added that divides the number of sperm cells between multiple samples. Since each ejaculation contains millions of sperm cells, most of which go unused in a single breeding, extending the semen can allow each collection sample to cover multiple bitches, or allow it to be stored as many individual samples. Fresh and fresh-extended are the most effective and successful insemination sample styles.
The reasons for using AI usually dictate how it is preserved and delivered to the bitch. When incorporating outside genetics from a stud dog not within a reasonable distance from your kennel, you may have to ship the semen. That means you need to preserve it in a way that will allow it to remain viable until it arrives. Chilled and frozen semen make shipping over great distances possible. Of the two, chilled has the best survival rate. It needs to be used quickly, however, so shipping to its location using next day delivery is necessary.
Frozen is stored in liquid nitrogen. It has a long shelf-life, but requires special equipment to keep it. Many breeders make use of sperm banks (yes, they have them for dogs as well as many other types of livestock) to keep their collected samples in good condition rather than purchasing and maintaining high-cost equipment. Frozen semen has its drawbacks. It loses its effectiveness far quicker after being warmed up again.
Once you warm up frozen semen you will need to use it almost immediately, as it can die off as quickly as two hours after being thawed out. At most, thawed frozen semen will last only twelve hours, and every hour after it is thawed reduces its viability. In comparison, fresh or fresh-extended semen can live up to two days.
However, frozen semen has a few very attractive advantages. The biggest advantage to frozen semen is that stud dog owners can extend the genetics of top-performing and producing dogs well beyond their natural life by collecting and freezing their semen.
Artificially Inseminate the Bitch
Timing is everything when breeding, whether it is a live cover or AI. If you can, it is best to test for ovulation and perform the insemination on the day of ovulation with fresh or chilled semen, or, start first insemination once the female starts flagging her tail. For best results, we recommend inseminating the bitch every 24 hours after for a total of 4 inseminations each heat.
Frozen semen, however, has different requirements. When using thawed frozen semen it is best to deliver it 2 days following ovulation and then 48 hours after that for the second round. You get everything you need to perform the collection and insemination for each breeding in one of our kits.
Insemination can be done trans-cervically or surgically. Obviously, for breeders performing this process at home, the surgical method is not going to be an option. For trans-cervical insemination, the breeder simply inserts the loaded insemination tube into the vaginal opening, and past the cervical rings to deliver the semen. The entire process can be done in minutes with very little discomfort to the bitch.
Please feel free to comment on our post and let us know about your AI experiences, or ask any questions you may have regarding to process. We are always happy to hear from you, and look forward to your responses.