There are three methods for artificial insemination: 1) vaginal insemination using a sterile pipette and placing the sperm as close to the cervix as possible, 2) trans-cervical insemination using a sterile pipette with or without endoscopic visualization of the cervix, and 3) surgical intra-uterine insemination. When properly performed, including careful handling of the semen, methods 2 and 3 are the most successful.
The most commonly performed artificial insemination at DRAH is vaginal insemination with fresh semen or fresh chilled semen. The first step in fresh semen artificial insemination involves collecting from the stud dog while using the brood bitch as a teaser. The semen is collected in three fractions - pre-ejaculate prostatic fluid, sperm rich fraction, and post-ejaculate prostatic fluid. All three fractions are then evaluated by Dr. Scruggs. The sperm rich fraction is then diluted with either prostatic fluid or semen extender, or a mixture of both, and then deposited in the vaginal vault at the entrance to the cervix with an insemination pipette. The brood bitch is "feathered" for 5 minutes while held in a semi-vertical position with rump upright. After feathering is complete the bitch is held upright for an additional 10 minutes to allow gravity to assist in the semen's passage through the cervix.
The second method of insemination is called trans-cervical insemination, or TCI. Typically, this method of insemination requires a video endoscope for visualizing the cervix, and a sterile polypropylene pipette through which to deposit the semen into the cervix. The brood bitch may or may not require a mild sedative, but in most cases does not require general anesthesia. The procedure is relatively non-invasive, and as long as the bitch is cooperative, can usually be completed in a relatively short period of time.
TCI involves inserting a video endoscope in the vaginal vault until the cervix is visualized. Once the cervix is visualized Dr. Scruggs will insert a sterile polypropylene pipette into the port in the endoscope, advancing the pipette to the cervix and through it into the uterine body. The semen is then injected through the pipette directly into the uterine body. Once all semen is injected the pipette is withdrawn and the endoscope removed from the vaginal vault. The bitch is feathered and held upright the same as in vaginal insemination.
In the surgical insemination method of intra-uterine insemination, the brood bitch is put under general anesthesia. Dr. Scruggs then makes an abdominal incision over the body of the uterus and exteriorizes the body of the uterus. The semen is then injected directly into the body of the uterus aiming half toward each uterine horn (left and right) while at the same time compressing the cervix to prevent leakage. Once the injection is complete, the body of the uterus is gently compressed at the point of the cervix for a few more minutes. The uterine body is then put back into place, the abdominal incision is closed, and the bitch is woken up from anesthesia while elevating the hind end. Dr. Scruggs has performed many surgical inseminations in the past, but we now have the equipment for TCI which allows the bitch owner the choice between surgical or trans-cervical insemination.