Saturday, December 29, 2012

Claire Has Been Bred

Claire at Dr Hutchison's clinic
We've had a very busy week with Claire, making three trips to Cleveland for progesterone testing and breeding with the remaining frozen semen from Bango du Pre de Redy. Last year's transcervical insemination (TCI) breeding with the Swiss frozen semen produced two wonderful puppies, Ch Hickory Tavern Intl Intrigue (Solene) and Ch Neigenuveaux HTF's Intl Hanna (Hanna). While these girls are just the kind of puppies we hoped to get, we did wish for a larger litter with a lovely male. For the final use of the imported semen, we made the decision to use Dr Hutchison's renowned repro clinic, Animal Clinic Northview, in North Ridgeville, Ohio, for all of the testing and breeding. Luckily, our Christmas Eve reading of 4.3 and the two days later value of 14.2 showed that Claire had ovulated on Christmas Day. When reading progesterone numbers, ovulation occurs when progesterone levels reach 5 nanograms. Breeding is then scheduled for 72 hours later, when the bitch's eggs are mature and ripe for fertilization. Frozen semen has a very short life when thawed, living for just 6-12 hours, so the window has to be accurately pinpointed. David and I were able to observe Claire's surgical insemination from the viewing area of Dr Hutchison's beautiful clinic, and the procedure was quick and efficient, while giving Dr Hutchison the opportunity to evaluate Claire's uterine health. The semen was injected directly into the fallopian tubes, giving the sperm the ideal positioning for uniting with the waiting ova. The semen motility was above 80%, indicating excellent quality after the freeze/thaw cycle.

6 hours later, we used the last Bango straw to perform a TCI and give ourselves a larger window of viable sperm. Again, David and I were present with Claire and I was very interested in the different method used by Dr Greenfield at Northview when compared with Dr Mantell at the CLONE facility in Philadelphia last year. Dr Mantell uses the Norwegian catheter, which is a blindly threaded rigid tube that is inserted through the bitch's cervix while the vet palpates the cervix. At Northview, Dr Brian Greenfield used a tiny, lighted endoscope to view the path through Claire's cervix, and deposit the semen into the uterus. (A bitch's cervix is not a straightforward opening, but rather a Z shape that does not lend itself to easy navigation)  Both methods offer a manner for depositing the semen into the uterus without requiring general anesthesia. Claire weathered the day quite well, and was happy to eat a special dinner on our way home.

When we imported Bango's sperm from Switzerland in 2011, we were bringing in a line of Barbet that had not yet been used in America. The resulting puppies from this breeding are just what we hoped for. For the final attempt at breeding Claire with the Bango semen, we wanted to have the highest possible odds at conception, which is why we utilized both surgical and transcervical insemination. However, all breeding is a gamble, and there are no guarantees that a pregnancy will occur. We have our fingers and toes crossed that Claire will carry a successful pregnancy. Stay tuned for further updates.

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