Frequently Asked Questions
Transervical insemination is a method in which semen is deposited directly into the uterus. This is done with the use of an endoscope. A catheter is attached to the endoscope allowing it to be able to be passed through the cervix into the uterus. With the use of a video camera it is possible for both the veterinarian and the owner of the bitch to watch the insemination.
During a natural mating, the dog’s semen is deposited in the vagina of the bitch. From this point the sperm cells have to travel to the cervix and also pass through the cervix. Once in the uterus the sperm cells are able to come into contact with the ovulating follicle cells released by the bitch. A long journey in which few sperm cells survive.
Transcervical insemination is a method in which the semen is transferred immediately into the uterus, thereby eliminating this long journey. It is an alternative in comparison to that of the regular artificial insemination in which the semen is deposited infront of the cervix.
This is true but “all roads lead to Rome.” This is also applicable with regards to artificial insemination in which there are also different methods involved. In most veterinary practices the dog’s semen is deposited in front of the cervix. This means that the sperm cells still have to pass through the cervix in order to enter the uterus.
The endoscope is brought into the vagina of the bitch and with the help of a camera it is guided to the cervix. Once the endoscope has reached the cervix, the veterinarian is able with the help of the video camera to find the opening of the cervix. Once the opening is found can de catheter be carefully brought into the cervix and passed through the passage of the cervix into the uterus
Once this is done is it possible to deposit the dog’s semen into the uterus. The semen is put into a syringe which is attached to the catheter. The semen is then carefully injected into the uterus.
Transcervical insemination can be used for the following indications:
1) frozen semen
2) chilled semen
3) semen obtained from dogs with a reduced fertility
In Sweden a study was done by Prof C. Linde-Forsberg (Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Swedish Univeristy of Agricultural Sciene, Uppsula Sweden) i which the conception rate and the litter size were examined with the use of fresh, chilled and frozen semen using vaginal as well as transcervical insemination.
The results are as follows (from 2041 inseminations):
Semen Type conception % with vaginal insemination conception % with transervisal insemination
Semen Type Average litter size % vaginal insemination Average litter size % transcervical insemination
|Fresh||5.8 +/- 2.8 pups||6.5 +/- pups|
|Chilled||5.8 +/- 3.0 pups||6.4 +/- pups|
|Frozen||4.7 +/- 2.6 pups||5.0 +/- pups|
Reference: Professor C. Linde –Forsberg. Intra-Uterine Insemination in the Dog Using the Scandinavian Trans-Cervical Catheter and a Comparison with other Methods. Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden. Publisher: Recent Advances in Small Animal Reproduction P. W. Concannon, G. England and J. Verstegen (Eds.). 02.02.2001. International Veterinary Information Service (www.ivis.org), Ithaca, New York, USA.
Are there any other applications that can be used with an endoscope with regards to fertility in dogs?
The endoscope can also be used during the estrus cycle in order to determine as to how the estrus is progressing. By regularly examining the change in structure of the cervix can the endoscope be an aid together with the use of progesterone testing as well as vaginal smears to help determine when it is the optimal time to breed. The endoscope can also be used to detect abnormalities in the reproductive tract as well as reproductive diseases.
The video camera is attached to a television. With this method the veterinarian can determine where the endoscope is located in the reproductive tract. This allows the veterinarian to pass a catheter through the cervix. The owner of the bitch can also view the entire process on the television.
Taking into consideration that all dogs have the same anatomy it is possible to perform transcervical insemination in all breeds of dogs. One must take into consideration that with smaller breeds that an endoscope has to be used that is also smaller in size that can be passed through the vagina/cervix/uterus.
Bringing an endoscope into a bitch is a simple pain free procedure which most bitches do not object to and offer no resistance. It is generally not necessary to sedate the bitch for this procedure. The chance of developing an infection after bringing in an endoscope is almost nihl when performed under strict sanitary conditions. One must take into consideration that there are always bacteria in the vagina and in the uterus which can cause an infection.
There are two other methods available.
1) The “Norwegian Catheter Method”
Developed in Norway to inseminate foxes used for breeding for the fur trade industry. This method consists of a special catheter that is manually passed through the cervix. This means that the veterinarian holds the cervix with one hand and with the other hand slowly passes the catheter to the cervix. Once the catheter is in front of the cervix, it is slowly passed through the cervix into the uterus. This is done by manual palpation; there is NO visual aid available to ensure that the catheter really is in the uterus. This is a difficult procedure in which it is difficult to hold the cervix in the correct way to ensure that the catheter can be passed through the cervix.
In the event that the catheter is not placed in the cervix correctly a phenomenon known as “semen backflow” can occur. This implies that the semen does not enter the uterus from the cervix but actually flows back in the vagina. Unfortunately it is not possible to regulate this as there is no video camera attached to control this.
2) The surgical method
The other method is to inseminate in the uterus of the bitch by means of an operation. The bitch is completely sedated and her abdomen is shaved and disinfected. Afterwards a small incision is made from which the veterinarian locates and holds the uterus. At the same time the semen is injected into the uterus. This method is more intensive and stressful for the bitch due to the anesthetic risk involved as well as the possibility of an infection occurring. This method is also forbidden in the Netherlands.
Fontbonne, A. How to Perform Transcervical Catheritization In The Bitch. 2006 World Congress WSAVA/FECAVA/CSAVA p. 721 – 722
Johnston S., M V. Root Kustritz and P. Olson. Canine and Feline Theriogenology. Saunders, 2001, U.S.A. p.42 – 44, 55.
Linde –Forsberg, C. (Professor). Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden . Intra-Uterine Insemination in the Dog Using the Scandinavian Trans-Cervical Catheter and a Comparison with other Methods. Publisher: Recent Advances in Small Animal Reproduction P. W. Concannon, G. England and J. Verstegen. International Veterinary Information Service (www.ivis.org), Ithaca, New York, USA. 02.02.2001
Storz, The World of Endoscopy -Small ANimal_ 3e editie 2006. Product handleiding.
Thomassen , G . Sanson , A . Krogenæs , J . Fougner , K . Berg , W . Farstad
Artificial insemination with frozen semen in dogs: A retrospective study of 10 years using a non-surgical approach . Theriogenology , Volume 66 , Issue 6 – 7 , Pages 1645 – 1650R .