F - InfoVet

F.A.Q.'s Regarding Frozen and Chilled Canine Semen
 I want to breed my dog - how do I begin? We start by running a blood test that
measures the bitch's progesterone level in her body to determine when she will ovulate.
Progesterone levels remain the same while a bitch is not in season (we call this a
"baseline" value), then begin to rise after she comes into heat. We like to begin
progesterone testing on a bitch with a typical and regular cycle on day 7 of her cycle.
Bitches who have irregular heat cycles may be tested earlier. Numerous progesterone
tests may need to be done so that we may precisely determine when is the best possible
time to inseminate. At this time we may also send a brucella screen (another blood
test) to the lab. This test is required for breeding. Once we have determined when the
bitch will ovulate, we can plan the time to inseminate.
What is chilled semen? Chilled semen is collected from the male dog by a
veterinarian and prepared by our technicians to travel in a chilled state and arrive ready
to be inseminated into the bitch. She should be progesterone tested by her veterinarian
to determine the best insemination date. Semen can be shipped via air: courier or
counter-to-counter airport service may be used. We recommend using Counter-tocounter Air if possible. Once the semen is prepared by our technicians, it is packaged
with a media to extend the life of the semen, and ice packs to keep it cool. It will be in
a box approximately 1cubic foot in size. You would then arrange for its transfer to the
bitch's location. Ideally, we want the time between semen collection and the
insemination to be under 12 hours. The absolute maximum would be 24 hours, but this
sample is not going to be as good in quality as a sample less than 12 hours old.
Insemination may be done by regular artificial insemination, but we usually
recommend a surgical insemination undergeneral anesthetic for a better chance of
What is frozen semen? Frozen semen is collected from the male dog by a veterinarian
and is evaluated by a technician to determine its viability. Some problems that may be
present are dead sperm, immature sperm, or deformed (bent, coiled, detatched, etc.)
sperm. We also gage the motility of the sperm. You will be given an evaluation form
which a technician will go over with you to explain exactly how the sample looked. It
also details how well the semen thawed back. After freezing, we thaw one pellet to see
how well the semen thaws back. Semen may look fairly good after collection, but
thaw back poorly. This gives us a good idea of how well the semen will thaw back in
the future. We then decide together with you whether or not to proceed with the
freezing process. If we go ahead, the semen is prepared and frozen into pellets. We
measure the number of sperm in "breeding units." One breeding unit is the number of
semen to be used for one breeding. The actual number of sperm in each breeding unit
depends on the breed of dg. Some semen banks use "straws" to store the semen, so do
not be surprised to hear this term from another semen bank.
How is frozen semen stored? Frozen semen can be stored on-site at Newton Animal
Hospital. It is stored in vials in a tank of liquid nitrogen. It can also be shipped
anywhere around the world.
What do I need to know to ship semen? Regulations differ depending on the
importing country. We must know in advance where we will be shipping to and when
so that we may be sure that your dog's bloodwork and other requirements are in order,
and that the correct paperwork is completed prior to shipping. Frozen semen is
shipped in a "dry shipper," which means that there is no liquid nitrogen inside the
shipper, which makes it non-hazardous. The shipper is charged with liquid nitrogen
prior to shipping, and then emptied. It will be in a case that is 24 inches x 12 inches x
12 inches, and weighs 30-35 lbs. This shipper must be returned promptly, as there will
be other people waiting to use it. Costs of shipping vary, dependent on where you are
sending to.
I'm ready to book for frozen semen, what should I do? Call the office to book an
appointment. We must have a few days notice so that we can arrange to have dry ice
delivered for your appointment. Fax us your dog's AKC or CKC registration papers,
attn: ICSB-SBC. It is a good idea to have the dog collected and evaluated within the
last month. This ensures the dog produces good semen, and also cleans out any stale
or old semen which may affect the live count as well as the freezing process. To your
appointment, please bring your registration papers, in case we did not receive your fax,
and if possible, a bitch that is in season to tease the male with. This will improve the
quality of the ejaculate. Payment is required at the time of collection. Also, your
account must be up to date in order to release frozen semen for breeding purposes.
What is involved in a surgical implantation? Surgical insemination or implantation of
semen is a minor surgical procedure in which a small incision is made in the abdomen.
The semen is then deposited via a catheter directly into both uterine horns. This
technique maximizes the chances of conception. The entire surgery is very quick, and
she will be awake from anesthesia in under 1 hour. She will stay with us for a few
hours while the grogginess wears off, and then may go home. She will have stitches to
be removed in 10-14 days, and the incision must stay clean and dry during that time.
Her activity should then be tailored to suit a dog who has had surgery, and may be
expecting puppies.
If you have any further inquiries, or would like to begin preparing to have a dog collected or
inseminated, please call the Newton Animal Hospital and ask to speak to an ICSB
technician. Thank you, and we hope you find this information helpful!
Ph: 604-596-7417
Fax: 604-596-7630