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Ovulation timing is accomplished by measuring serial serum progesterone levels in conjunction with other diagnostics, such as vaginal cytology and vaginoscopy. When you schedule a Theriogenology Consultation for Breeding Management, one of the Theriogenologists will discuss the ovulation timing process with you, obtain the initial diagnostics, and help set up expectations for the timing process. Different recommendations for breeding may be made depending on the insemination method and type of semen. We may also recommend LH (luteinizing hormone) testing for certain cases, and we have these tests in-house to run the same day as needed. Ovulation timing is also quite critical in determining a precise due date for a female that is in whelp.
Vaginal AI: Vaginal AI involves depositing a semen sample in the vaginal canal without the use of endoscopy equipment. This is a blind procedure that does not allow for visualization of the cervix. Vaginal AI is generally recommended when using fresh semen samples if natural breeding is not desired or cannot be accomplished.
Transcervical Insemination (TCI):
TCI is a non-invasive standing procedure during which a rigid endoscope is used to visualize the cervix, a catheter is placed through the cervix into the uterus, and semen is deposited directly in the uterus. TCI allows us to bypass the cervix and get sperm as close as possible to the site of fertilization, without the risks associated with anesthesia and surgery. The TCI scope can also be used for advanced diagnostics such as transcervical-guided endometrial (uterine) biopsy and transcervical-guided endometrial cytology and culture.
Surgical insemination is just like it sounds – this is when a patient is placed under general anesthesia and the uterus is accessed through an abdominal incision for the sperm to be injected directly into the uterus. Both TCI and surgical insemination allow for the deposition of sperm into the uterus, so with TCI available, surgical insemination is less commonly utilized. We may still consider this technique if historical or anatomical barriers are present that contraindicate TCI.
Our Theriogenologists will work with you on obtaining a thorough history and a complete physical examination to determine the appropriate plan for moving forward with an infertility workup. Some diagnostics that may be done for a male experiencing infertility include complete semen collection and analysis, serum hormonal testing, reproductive ultrasound, testicular biopsy, and more. For female infertility, we can offer ovulation timing, reproductive ultrasound, TCI-guided or surgical uterine biopsy, reproductive cultures and cytology, and more. Please call the office if you have a dog with suspected infertility to schedule your appointment today.
Pregnancy diagnosis is generally accomplished via abdominal ultrasound, which allows us to visualize gestational sacs and assess them for viability, as well as get a rough estimate of fetuses – for an exact puppy count we will generally recommend a radiograph (X-ray) near the end of gestation.
High-Risk Pregnancy Management:
If a pregnancy is deemed high risk due to previous history or ultrasound findings at pregnancy diagnosis, Drs. Barber and Rosenberg will work with you on determining a possible cause of the problem, and monitoring the pregnancy carefully in order to maximize the chance of maintaining pregnancy to term.
We offer both scheduled and non-scheduled Cesarean Sections as our schedule will allow. Scheduled C-sections are only offered if ovulation timing is performed as directed by our protocols so that an accurate due date and safe surgery date can be determined. C-sections in Veterinary Specialties are taken very seriously. While every surgery carries risks, we use the safest possible anesthesia protocols and our doctors and technicians are extremely experienced in neonatal resuscitation. We have a state-of-the-art incubator and always keep fresh frozen plasma on hand to administer to newborn pups to ensure the appropriate transfer of antibodies. After surgery, we make sure the dam has ample time to recover from surgery and that puppies are able to nurse (or are supplemented with formula) before you take mom and babies home.
Whelping Management/On-Call Service:
If you have a bitch in whelp that has run into trouble, we will do our best to assist with the delivery of her puppies. Occasionally, medical management is successful, but often times we will have to perform an emergency C-section. We are pleased to offer an On-Call Service for our pregnant females (as long as the staff is available), by which one of our doctors and a team of technicians will be available at all hours during the whelping window for your bitch. In order to be eligible for On Call Services, ovulation timing must have been performed in conjunction with the recommendations of Drs. Barber and Rosenberg.
Semen Collection and Evaluation:
The theriogenologists at VSL provide semen collection and complete evaluation for stud dogs. Semen is collected from the dog and analyzed for sperm count, motility, and morphology with the assistance of the Sperm Vision System by MiniTube, a type of Computer Assisted Sperm Analysis (CASA). We recommend having semen collected and evaluated on any dog that has not previously been bred to make sure semen quality is sufficient, especially if future collections are planned for artificial insemination. We can also perform chill testing on collected semen, semen extension, and packaging for fresh chilled overnight shipment, and cryopreservation (semen freezing) on a scheduled basis.