Artificial Insemination

21 Artificial Insemination


Artificial insemination (AI) consists of semen collection from the male and insemination into the bitch. Semen may be used immediately; chilled, shipped, and inseminated within 24 hours of collection; or frozen in liquid nitrogen and stored indefinitely before insemination. AI is used when natural breeding cannot take place because of physical abnormalities of the bitch or stud or a great difference in size of the mating pair, behavioral incompatibilities, or geographic distance separating the mating pair. Popular males that are working dogs that might not be available when necessary for natural service can have semen frozen to permit breeding at all times. Males that have developed a disease condition requiring castration or that have died are still available genetically if they have had semen frozen.

AI with fresh semen may be a method of disease control. Any bacteria present in the reproductive tract of the male or female dog also are present in the vaginal secretions and semen. During natural breeding, many bacteria are exchanged between the dogs. However, it has been demonstrated that the newly introduced bacteria are expelled quickly, and the normal bacterial population is reestablished. Preventing disease transmission by AI will protect bitches only if antibiotic is added to the semen. Stud dogs are protected because they need not come in contact with the bitch. Use of AI to prevent transmission of brucellosis may be effective, but breeders must be aware that brucellosis is more commonly contracted by oral exposure to urine or other body fluids containing Brucella organisms than by breeding.

Breeders should be aware that performing AI on their own and other dogs is illegal for nonveterinarians in some states. For example, in Minnesota owners can perform AI with fresh semen on their own animals but cannot legally perform AI on animals they do not own and cannot use semen that has had anything added to it.



During natural service, the male dog deposits semen into the bitch’s vagina. The penis cannot reach the cervix because of the fold of tissue hanging from the ceiling of the vagina that decreases size of the vaginal vault. It is thought that this tissue compresses the tip of the penis and promotes ejaculation of semen directly toward the cervix. With vaginal insemination, semen is deposited near the same area of the vagina as in natural service but without the force of ejaculation. Vaginal insemination is noninvasive and can be performed repeatedly during a given estrus.

Semen is placed within the bitch’s vagina using a pipette. I prefer long bovine pipettes to the short canine pipettes that are marketed for AI in dogs (Figure 21-1). A specific insemination pipette for dogs, the Osiris pipette, also is available. This pipette contains a balloon that is inflated to prevent backflow of semen.

The gloved index finger of the nondominant hand is inserted into the vaginal vault; this may not be possible in very small dogs. This finger prevents movement of the insemination pipette into the urinary bladder. The hand is turned so that the palm of the hand is turned up. The semen is drawn into a syringe and connected to the pipette. The pipette is passed over the inserted index finger as far into the vagina as it will pass without causing discomfort to the bitch (Figure 21-2). The pipette is withdrawn slightly to ensure that it is not trapped against the vaginal wall and the semen expressed through the pipette with the syringe. A small amount of air also is introduced to ensure that all the semen has been introduced into the vagina. The pipette is removed, and the gloved finger is used to stroke the ceiling of the vagina. This often stimulates vaginal contraction and may help move spermatozoa forward in the reproductive tract.

During and after insemination, it is important that no pressure be placed upward on the dog’s caudal abdomen. The vagina lies in the horizontal plane in the caudal abdomen and is muscular. Any upward pressure will cause expulsion of the semen introduced. After insemination, the bitch may be “wheelbarrowed” up onto her forelimbs for 5 to 20 minutes to promote semen pooling at the cervix. Holding the bitch up in this fashion is not necessary to achieve good conception rates, however. Similarly, many people recommend that dogs not be allowed to squat to urinate or to jump up into a car or onto furniture for 20 to 30 minutes after insemination; again, this has not been shown to be necessary.


With this technique, as the name implies, semen is deposited directly into the uterus. Conception rate is higher and litter size is larger with intrauterine than with vaginal insemination. Intrauterine insemination is more technically demanding, and some forms are more invasive and dangerous to the bitch.

Jul 18, 2016 | Posted by in PHARMACOLOGY, TOXICOLOGY & THERAPEUTICS | Comments Off on Artificial Insemination

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