TEST-TUBE PUPPIES MAKE HISTORY
Stella Starr, Pet Perspectives
Test-tube puppies born by in-vitro fertilization make dog breeders wonder what's next? From insemination to frozen semen, canine reproduction is booming!
Back in 1779 an Italian priest successfully inseminated frogs, fish, and dogs. It wasn't until 1884 that Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia claimed the first successful human donor insemination.
It was nearly a century before the first baby conceived from
in-vitro-fertilization IVF took place in 1978. There was another long "barren" period in history before dog breeders were able to cheer the first frozen semen litter registered by the American Kennel Club in 1981.
Fertilizing an egg outside the body is widely used in human reproduction but these 7 mutt puppies made history. Born July 10 at the Baker Institute for Animal Health at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine, they are an assorted lot with semen from a Beagle, Labrador and Cocker Spaniel. Cornell says this new science "could also enable researchers to eradicate heritable diseases in dogs and facilitate the study of genetic diseases in dogs and humans, which share many of the same or similar illnesses."
Fertility In Purebred Dogs
Do purebred dogs lack hybrid vigor and reproductive ability compared to mixed breeds? Which canine reproduction study came to that conclusion?
Dr. Pierre Comizzoli, a reproductive physiologist, described canine reproduction mechanics as very different from humans. Most women go into estrus monthly, releasing mature eggs which can be harvested and test-tube fertilized with sperm. Female dogs only go into heat once or twice a year and they release immature eggs instead of the fully developed eggs needed for IVF (in-vitro fertilization).
If he thinks that is complicated he should try any method of fertilization with cats! I don't breed cats but I have many friends who do. They laugh about the prowling Tom, desperately calling a willing female but the fact is, feline reproduction is practically an art form! Artificial insemination can be accomplished but it is nothing like collecting or inseminating a dog. In fact, cats don't even ovulate until they are actually mated so my Persian friend said you won't be seeing test-tube kittens any time soon!
If you watch the National Geographic channel "Vet School" show you already know a lot about the
Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in Ithica, NY. It has been the first and last word in veterinary medicine for over half a century so adding another "first" is nothing new.
I learn a lot from that
TV show but there is more in-depth information at
http://www.thedogplace.org/REPRODUCTION/INDEX.asp. I was intrigued by how so many of the top dog breeders and veterinarians in the U.S. share information on getting your dogs bred. My cat friends say the cat associations are "light years" ahead on genetics because the gene pool is smaller but it will be a long time before they get to try making test tube kittens!
I'll be glad when this is in common use for cat breeders as well. Shipping
is worrisome and expensive and just as with dogs, the Queen (female cat) can go
right out of estrus from the stress of being shipped.