02 Feb

Dog Artificial Insemination

Why choose dog Artificial Insemination?


Regardless of experience, all dog breeders have come up against the question of AI use at some point. A huge variety of factors (such as inconvenience of travel, health concerns of the stud or bitch, perhaps preservation of a breeding line following the unexpected death of a dog) make AI an increasingly convenient route that is transforming the way we approach all manner of canine-centric business.


How to collect a semen sample during dog Artificial Insemination


The basic mechanics of how to collect a semen sample from a dog is a simple procedure:


  • Plan to do the collection in a clean and dry indoor location, so that all equipment can remain sterile
  • All equipment coming into contact with the semen should be washed several times before use to ensure removal of potentially sperm-toxic residues 
  • Aim to have an oestrous bitch in an adjoining room or at a safe distance from the stud
  • Some manual stimulation may be necessary to encourage an erection
  • Three different kinds of semen will be produced: the first is produced during the dog’s initial thrusting movements. Thrusting will increase, and then cease, producing the usable ejaculate. Finally, once the dog raises a hind leg to simulate release, the third sample is produced.  
  • Only the second kind of ejaculate should be used for examination and subsequent insemination. This can be separated from the unusable samples, and then assessed for quality using a reliable sperm analysis unit.




Once a semen sample has been collected and the three fractions have been separated (leaving the usable sample that has been assessed and deemed adequate quality for insemination), the question of cryopreservation is then posed. There are two methods: centrifugation, or use of extenders.


While popular with many vets due to its ability to concentrate the sperm and reduce the number of straws needed, centrifugation can also have a mildly damaging effect on the sample. The use of semen extenders (these are essentially diluents that preserve the sperm) when used at a consistent dilution ratio, yield the most accurately comparable results. However, this is also dependent on using the same extender each time to reduce variable adverse effects on results. Simply put, in order to be able to compare semen samples, it is essential to keep all other testing factors the same- use the same equipment, semen extender and the ratio that you are using it to dilute the semen with, every time. To find the optimal extender and dilution ratio takes some experimentation, but the benefit of putting in the time for this initial step means that the process becomes refined and easier, with more accurate results.


Semen Preservation and Insemination Timing


A variety of factors affect the decision of how to store semen and when to inseminate. Cryopreservation will always have an adverse outcome on the sample, both in terms of sperm health and the overall longevity of their survival, reducing the success rate of conception.


The ideal scenario for successful dog Artificial Insemination is that a fresh semen sample would be introduced to the female at the optimum fertilisation time. This may often be possible, but even in this scenario, there will probably be a period of time between collection and insemination while the bitch is prepared, during which the semen should be kept in an uncontaminated, closed rod and allowed to drop to room temperature. If the semen is to be stored for several days or shipped within the UK then a reliable semen extender, such as the popular Caniplus Chill ST 5 Exender,  should be used. The sample can be refrigerated at 5 degrees centigrade, before allowing to come up to room temperature before use. 


If it is necessary to freeze-store the semen (for longer than 5 days), then this can be done by using sealed plastic straws, then placing in liquid nitrogen, nitrogen vapour or automatic freezing machines. The method of freezing is determined by the type of extender being used or vice versa. The thawing method is also dependent on the composition of the extender and freezing device being used. Much prior research should be undertaken to ensure the correct procedures are observed when preparing, freezing, incubating and thawing the samples in line with the equipment guidelines. It should be noted that a thawed sample will always be of inferior fertile status to a fresh or chilled one, meaning that it should be analysed immediately before use using an iSperm unit or high quality ScopeX 3 Lens Microscope, then introduced to the female reproductive tract at the exact right time to increase the chances of fertilisation. Sperm can survive in the female tract for a relatively long period of time before they are “activated” to fertilise, so in many cases it may be prudent to thaw and inseminate before the bitch is ready to mitigate the damaging effects of the cryopreservation process. Ultimately, the longer the sperm has been stored, the more important it becomes to inseminate at the “perfect time” for the female.


The question of preservation materials and methodology is particularly important when considering importing semen from abroad. Strict guidelines exist to help ensure reduction of the risk of introducing pathogens, and it is essential to research the measures taken to adhere to these regulations. It is also preferable to have detailed information on the date of semen collection, the sample analysis report and the extender/freezing processes being used in order to properly thaw and inseminate once the semen is delivered. Exporting your dog’s semen reverses this protocol; you are required to give detailed information to the buyer to help them achieve the optimal rate of incubation success. 


AI and Your Business


While we all wish that we could safely breed our dogs in the “natural” way, it’s clear that dog Artificial Insemination has many advantages for the modern breeder. The development of fertility technologies has created a globalised market, one where geography and even time doesn’t need to hinder your business, or compromise the health of your animals. Portable Ultrasound Machines is dedicated to helping you navigate through the exciting world of AI. Contact us today to find out more!

20 Nov

Veterinary X-ray: The digital revolution

What is X-ray

X-ray is an important diagnostic tool for veterinary practitioners. Since its discovery, X-ray technology has relatively remained the same. However, the process of radiograph production has evolved dramatically, particularly the introduction of digital radiography. Digital radiography has revolutionized the efficiency of radiograph production and dissemination.
The aim of this article is to highlight the fundamental aspects of X-ray production and shed light on the various type of X-ray systems currently available for veterinary practice. With a focus on the benefits of digital radiology.

In 1895, X-rays were discovered by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen. Roentgen (1895) discovered that the application of a high voltage to a cathode‐ray tube resulted in the fluorescence of phosphorescent material in the room and determined that this resulted from exposure to a previously unknown form of electromagnetic radiation which he called ‘X’‐rays.
According to Roentgen (1895), X-ray photons are created as a result of electrons hitting metal when traveling at high speed. This is done by applying an electric current to a cathode (negative electrode) using a high voltage power source which then enables electrons to be released from the cathode into the X-ray tube. once these electrodes are negatively charged, they are attracted to the positive electrode (anode). When the electrons hit the anode, it creates heat and X-rays.

Radiographic exposure factors
The quality X-ray images are influenced by a number of exposure factors. These exposure factors are integral to the quality of the Image and need to be manipulated accordingly to achieve a quality X-ray image.
Milliamperage (mA) – This is the current that is applied to the cathode of the X-ray tube to produce X-rays. A greater amount of X-ray is produced when the mA is higher.
Time (seconds) – This is the length of time that X-rays are being produced during each exposure. A longer exposure time produce more X-rays.
mAs – The milliamperage and the time are often combined on the generator settings as the mAs. Therefore, to achieve a given number of X- rays per exposure, as mA is increased, exposure time is shortened.
Kilovoltage (KV) – This is the voltage that is applied across the X-ray generator at the time of X-ray production. An increase in KV increases the energy of the X- rays. This then increases the ability of the X-ray beam to penetrate the patient’s tissue.

It is a combination of the above factors which determines the overall exposure of a radiographic image. If an X-ray image is deemed to be underexposed, increasing either the mAs or the KV will result in greater radiographic exposure. It is also advised to not only asses the radiograph for adequate exposure, but to also asses the quality of the image. This will then enable individual exposure factors to be altered to optimize image contrast, brightness, and clarity.

Type of X-ray systems
Analog X-ray (film screen) system – Analog radiography is the traditional method of producing X-ray images. an exposed film undergoes wet- processing. The primary components of the Analog X-ray are as follows:
X-ray cassette – the X-ray cassette is a flat, light-tight box with clips
Intensifying Screens – intensifying screens are used to convert X-ray into visible light.
Radiographic film – the film is a polyester base, coated with an emulsion of gelatin containing fine silver halide crystals. These crystals are sensitive to X-rays, ultraviolet and visible light, as well as physical pressure, chemicals, and gasses.

Digital X-ray systems – Digital X-ray uses the same generator as conventional X-ray systems to produce X-rays. However, the image is produced using a capture device (plate) to capture X-rays. This is then converted to digital signals and displayed on a computer.

There are currently two types of digital X-rays available in today’s market- Computed Radiography (CR) and Direct Digital radiography (DR).
Computed Radiography – computed radiography uses a portable image plate that contains an interior screen, which records the raw image of the patient. The exposed plate is then manually placed in a digital reader, the interior screen is then scanned by a laser and a digital X-ray image is then produced. The image can then be manipulated and viewed using computer software.
Direct Digital Radiography– Direct digital X-ray systems are similar to the computed X-ray system; however, the user does not have to place the image plate in a digital reader. The image is sent directly from an X-ray detector plate directly to the computer.
The differences between conventional X-ray and digital X-ray system
Digital X-ray systems have multiple advantages over conventional X-ray system:
• Faster image acquisition
• Wider latitude
• Post-exposure image manipulation (brightness and contrast)
• Able to zoom, crop, measure and add annotations
• No need to wet-process image



Pulse Echo Wireless Ultrasound Scanner in Brazil

Below, a veterinarian in Manaus, Brazil, uses the PulseEcho Wireless Ultrasound Scanner to check the bladder and kidneys following treatment for a tick infestation.


Along with the bladder and kidneys, it can also be used to check the prostate or uterus, when the animal is experiencing problems urinating or blood tests show kidney problems or infection. Common findings are kidney stones, bladder stones or gallbladder stones.