Breeding with Fresh Chilled Semen
Fresh chilled semen was first accepted by the AKC in the 1980s as an alternative to natural breeding. This process allows semen to be shipped all over the world, giving it some advantages over natural breeding. The preparation of fresh chilled semen begins with a collection of the stud dog. It is helpful if the dog has been collected previously as they are more comfortable with the process and are able to produce a better sample than dogs who have never been collected before. It is also advantageous to have an “in heat” teaser bitch. Studies have shown that semen samples are of better quality and numbers when a teaser is used. The sample is then evaluated for motility and deformities and then concentrated by centrifugation. An extender is added to provide a source of energy for the semen. The sample is then chilled which slows the metabolism of the semen allowing it to survive for use for up to 5 days. Once inseminated the life span is only 24 to 72 hours compared to fresh semen, which can live in the bitch for up to 7 days. Knowing when your bitch ovulates is invaluable information for breeding. It increases conception rates and allows for more precise whelping dates. The progesterone test involves a blood draw done 7 days after the first sign of bloody vaginal discharge. Progesterone test results should be received the same day until a level of 5.0 has been reached. This is the level at which ovulation has occurred. Breedings are scheduled at levels between 3.5 and 5.0 depending on what type of insemination is being done. Natural breedings and fresh semen inseminations are done earlier while fresh chill and frozen semen inseminations are usually performed 2 to 3 days after ovulation.
Breeding with Frozen Semen
Because frozen semen has a short life span once thawed, it is important to exactly pinpoint ovulation in the bitch. The Semen can then be deposited the shortest distance possible from the ova as they travel down the fallopian tubes into the uterus.
In order to determine ovulation correctly, the breeder must watch closely for the first signs of heat. It is best to begin drawing blood samples for the LH testing at about day 5 of the heat cycle. Progesterone testing can then begin on day 7 of the heat cycle. Daily blood samples are taken and saved for later use in determining the day of LH surge. Progesterone testing is continued every other day until a level of 5.0 is reached. When this occurs the Doctor and repro staff will determine which saved blood sample to test for the LH surge. This surge information is used to count forward to the ideal breeding date.
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