The patience (and backs) of a lot of breeders have been strained trying to insure conception through the practice of elevating a bitch's hindquarters. In fact, doing an artificial insemination (AI) can be a bitch!
We have long been advised to hold her up at least ten minutes and most breeders believe twenty minutes is even better. Some experts also employ other insider tips such as simulating the tie and stimulating the bitch.
The process is frightening for many toy dogs and backbreaking for large breed
So how long does it take for sperm cells to migrate through the female reproductive tract?
Would you believe that spermatozoa from fresh ejaculates reach the tip of the uterine horn within 25 to 120 seconds after intravaginal insemination? It’s true, according to an article published in the Japanese Journal of Veterinary Science 1989;51:560-565. So, based on this information, is elevating the bitch’s hindquarters for extended periods of time really necessary?
Based on the results of a research study performed by C.R.F. Pinto, B.E.
Eilts, and D.L. Paccamonti, (Theriogenology 1998;50:301-305), the practice of elevating the bitch’s hindquarters for more than one minute may be totally unnecessary! The study compared the conception rates of two different
hindquarter elevation times: 10 minutes versus 1 minute. The trial used 3 dogs and 15 bitches of proven fertility. Inseminations were performed intravaginally with fresh undiluted semen.
The study was performed at Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine. Results were an
overall pregnancy rate of 91% with litters averaging over seven puppies in two study groups. Statistically there was no difference in pregnancy rate
or litter size in this comparison of 10 minute versus 1 minute hindquarter elevation time.
Also noteworthy for breeders is that “feathering or stroking of the vulvar and perineal region was not performed in any of the bitches” nor
was there any attempt to simulate a tie by use of inflated balloons or other means.
The inseminated bitches were immediately returned to their runs with no attempt to prevent sitting or urination.
In summary, the results of this study indicate that pregnancy rate in dogs with normal fertility is unaffected by reducing the hindquarter elevation time from 10 to 1 min following artificial insemination with
fresh semen. Also notable, litter size is not affected by reducing hindquarter elevation time after insemination.
Well, so much for tradition. The practices of elevating hindquarters for uncomfortable stretches of time, genital area stimulation, and crating the bitch to prevent sitting or urination are relegated to the status of “old wives tales”. Your back (and the poor bitch!) will thank you for cutting that long, uncomfortable after mating procedure down to "just a minute."
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