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Categories: Breeding

Q. We attempted to do an AI breeding but my dog did not become pregnant. Do you have any advice for us?
I love your site!

Wonder if you can identify or advise where we went wrong on a recent failed AI.

I am a rookie, alone here in Alberta, Canada, now the stud owner in USA has been very helpful..

The story...

Shipped in 6 frozen straws of semen from USA, thaw count at the collection clinic trial was 80%, thaw count here in Alberta on day of implant was 70%.

Was told to call AI clinic on first signs of heat... First bloodsighted... Saw it on April 1 just as I was leaving for a weekend away! Called the clinic they told me that was fine, go away and they don't usually start prog testing till day 7 of the bleed but booked her in for it on april 5 (day 5), to get a baseline...

Called me up next day, Wednesday, April 6 and told me Tuesday's blood was 7.42, so she had already ovulated, so we needed to bring her in Friday 8th for the implant. I said, wow thats a bit quick, is she ready this quick she only just started bleeding and its still bright red blood... They said... test shows ovulation occurred, we been doing this 20 years... So what do I know... Took her in... When I also questioned she'd only just started her heat they said "she will have started earlier and u missed it? Well ok, I'm a rookie but I have been checking her daily and wiping her with kleenex that often the poor dog looks at me as if to say "checking again!" and lifts her own leg up!

They did a surgical AI, which I agreed to but again lesson learned I didn't realise it was a cut open big time job! I thought it was done like keyhole surgery...

Anyway, waited 4 weeks for ultrasound no puppies...

I have racked my brains all weekend... Could they have the blood work mixed up with another dog?
Could I have missed the onset of her heat?

I have tried to read up on it and found most articles state 5 is the ovulation number on the prog test, but on the weekend found one that said they can ovulate 5-8ng... She was at 7.42... Maybe she hadn't yet?

Breeders in Ontario told me tales of a few of there dogs that got to 7 and stalled for a good few days...

I asked the clinic AFTER, did u prog test her on the morning of the AI to check she was ready? They said no need to as she had passed 5ng so she had already ovulated. Again we have been doing this 20 years...

I have been told the prog level needs to be around 17 on implant day?

Lucky for me she has heats 4-5 months apart so around Aug 22-Sept 17 for next try.

Can you give me any advice please? Any pointers where you think we went wrong? I have to do AI as oppose to natural as there are no males near me in Alberta. I am breeding Shiloh shepherds.

I want to be well informed and get the AI clinic on the same page as me next time round and not sit back and be quiet! I could kick myself now as I felt it wasn't right, but went ahead...

Also we had 6 straws for 2 breedings, I found out after they only used 2? I was wondering if I should try fresh chilled with extenders in next time but am unsure if you can ship fresh chilled semen into Canada from USA?

Any help would be great, I know your busy.


A. Thanks for the kind words.

When it comes to AI with frozen semen, I think you’d be best advised to find a reproductive specialist to ask these questions. We’ve had several frozen semen litters, with great results but it’s all because of the vets and their knowledge.

I might want the bitch to have a thorough exam, vaginal scope, thyroid test, swab for infection, ultrasound the uterus. The fact that your bitch cycles more frequently makes me wonder about a thyroid issue? We never breed any dog (male or female) without having a baseline thyroid test on file. If the thyroid is off even a little bit it can cause fertility problems (among other things)

I don’t remember what the numbers are supposed to be for the different tests and I’m guessing they can vary depending on what tests the vet is running.

Not all vets know what they are doing with frozen semen, so do your homework there and find someone with a lot of success. Ask for references.

Cindy Rhodes
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