For the Bitch at Sirius Canine Fertility, Inc. we offer transcervical insemination at our office in Grass Valley.
What is TCI? TCI is a technique in which a rigid endoscope (a scope with a camera on the tip) is passed through the vaginal tract to visualize the cervix. Once the cervix has been located, the technician will pass a soft, flexible catheter through the cervix opening to deposit (fresh, chilled, or frozen) semen directly into the uterus. Using a TV monitor, the technician can view the position of the catheter to ensure it has been fully passed, and that minimal backflush occurs. We take care to use a very small volume of semen, and the flush that follows, as to not disturb the eggs. Once semen reaches the uterus, it contracts and moves semen to the oviducts, using little cellular hairs to push it along the way.
Benefits of TCI… High chance of success, with low risk when choosing TCI. TCI has the highest reporting success rate of all insemination methods. Consistent progesterone testing is crucial for success. We normally say you should expect 4-6 tests leading up to a breeding. These tests will be used to confirm ovulation and the day of breeding progesterone, which is one of the most important numbers, to ensure she continued to rise after ovulation. When following our timing protocol, we have maintained an 85-90% success rate since 2020. TCI allows for intrauterine insemination, without anesthesia or the need for surgery, thus greatly reducing the risks and stress for the bitch.
A misconception about TCI… Is there is a higher chance of pyometra? No, there is no evidence reflecting this. A bitch is just as at risk with natural breedings, AI, or even not breeding at all. This is a possible risk with every heat cycle, as the cervix is open for bacteria after ovulation. With TCI, you are not visualizing the uterus itself, so any uterine cysts or endometrial issues cannot be seen when using this method.
Timing for TCI… The breeding window is determined by the date of ovulation, which is confirmed through progesterone testing. Ovulation is not any one specific number, it is the progression, and can occur anywhere between 4-11ng/ml. Ovulation is confirmed by seeing a 3 or more ng jump, in a 24 hour period.
When planning a TCI, your timing is determined by the type of semen being used. For frozen semen, we recommend two TCI procedures, these would be done between days 3-5 post ovulation. If only one TCI is being done, our goal is day 4 or 5 post ovulation. If fresh or fresh chilled semen is being used, we recommend breeding days 2 and 4 post ovulation, when preforming two TCI’s. If only one, we try shoot for day 3 post ovulation.
We always recommend two TCI procedures, whenever possible.
This procedure is done while the bitch is either standing or laying on her side, she is wide awake for the procedure and no sedation is needed. If frozen semen is being used, we will wait to thaw the semen until we have passed the catheter through the cervix. This minimizes the time that the semen is thawed prior to the insemination and ensures that the cervix can be catheterized.
This procedure has virtually replaced the standard vaginal insemination as we have the added benefit of vaginoscopy when doing this procedure. Vaginoscopy is the ability to study the walls of the vaginal tract and it is used as another tool for timing when the bitch is ready for breeding.
With this procedure, the semen is deposited on the inside of the cervix, in the uterine body, rather than on the outside of the cervix during vaginal inseminations. The semen is deposited exactly where it would be during the surgical insemination, without the need for surgery.
There are some breeds that are consistently much more difficult to catheterize or the success rates with the TCI procedure are lower than with surgical implant. We will discuss all of this with you, if your breed falls under this category, and you will be given options of which would be best for your bitch.
We do hundreds of these TCI procedures every year and consistently hear from our clients how smooth, fast, and easy the procedure was. The stress on the bitch is minimal as well. This procedure can be used for fresh, fresh chilled, or frozen semen.
Our office is open 5 days a week, and we are available on call Saturdays for pre-planned breedings. We are closed on Sundays, so be prepared for alternate breeding plans if the procedure day falls on a Sunday.
Pricing for Transcervical insemination:
Veterinary Exam (required prior to TCI)- $60.00
First TCI ( during normal business hours)- $415.00
Repeat TCI ( during normal business hours)- $315.00
PROGESTERONE TESTING FOR OVULATION TIMING:
We offer in-house one-hour progesterone testing. This is not only valuable for timing ovulation prior to breeding, but we also can test a pregnant bitch to better determine when she will be ready to whelp. This is most valuable for C-section timing.
Progesterone testing is also used as a diagnostic tool for monitoring progesterone levels of pregnant bitches. In all bitches, the progesterone level will rise, ovulation will occur between 4-10ng and then the progesterone level will continue to rise. Most bitches will rise to over 40+ng of progesterone. The progesterone level will stay and MUST stay elevated for about 62 days. When this level drops below 5.0ng, labor should begin, and whelp will occur within about 12 hours. In some bitches, they prematurely drop their progesterone level prior to 62 days, and this will cause them to abort the pups. We have the ability to monitor these levels and if they drop too soon, oral or injectable progesterone is supplemented to keep the levels where they need to be to maintain pregnancy. The rule for supplementation is if the bitch drops below 5.0ng and has more than 5 days to go before due date. Supplementation CANNOT be started prior to them dropping below 5.0. Close is not good enough in this case.
Progesterone timing: As we said above, ovulation occurs between 4-10ng. When ovulation occurs, we will see a huge jump of at least 3ng within a 24-hour period. (For example, Monday level is 5.24, Tuesday level us 9.32. This would indicate ovulation on Monday.) After ovulation, this level will continue to rise; it will quickly be off the charts and only read as “high”. Each bitch is unique and individual. We have many breeders ask what is the perfect number to breed at? There is no completely correct answer for this. MOST bitches will be in the 20s at the time of breeding, but some bitches may hit 20 within a couple of days of ovulation or may drag to get that high. For this reason, it is not advised to only go by the number over 20, or “when the bitch hits a 5”. The DATE OF OVULATION is the important information and is essential for us to determine breeding dates. You will need to determine what day did she ovulate, not what day she got over 20. Once ovulation is determined, the bitch will need to be bred somewhere between 2-5 days post ovulation. The timing will depend on the type of semen being used and the number of breedings you are planning on.
Determining Due Date:
The correct formula for determining due date is 63 days post OVULATION, not post breeding. They are all individual, but most bitches will be ready to whelp 63 days post ovulation. This means is you did TCI on day 3 post ovulation, her due date is 60 days from breeding.
Our progesterone testing provides same day results from our in house laboratory.
Progesterone Testing= 100.00