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Animal Reproductive Procedures

June 15 2023
Humans have been selectively breeding animals for thousands of years: in fact, scientists estimate that these practices began as much as 10,000 years ago. For the vast majority of history, breeding methods were pretty much hit or miss, with the standard method being to put a male animal that had desired traits with a female in heat, hope for the best, and then repeat. Modern science has offered us some wonderful tools and methods, which not only take the guesswork out of the process, but allow greater control over the offspring. Here at Neshoba County Animal Hospital, we offer a variety of cutting-edge reproductive services. Let’s take a look at a few of them:

Artificial Insemination

Although artificial insemination progressed in leaps and bounds in the 80’s, it’s actually been around for hundreds of years. The process was first explored by Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, who is often referred to as the Father of Microbiology, and an early coffee enthusiast. His first paper on the topic was published back in 1678. A century later, an eccentric ex-priest named Spallanzani successfully used AI to breed a dog. Spallanzani was quite an interesting character: he was known for his fascination with science and his fondness for collecting everything from shells to butterflies. Today, artificial intelligence is the standard method of breeding many types of animals. It offers some great benefits. For one thing, there’s a higher chance of conception. It’s also safer and less traumatizing for the animals and their human handlers. Plus, it allows greater control over genetics.

The Process

Progesterone testing can be crucial to successful insemination. This quick test helps pinpoint the female’s cycle, identifying the exact time when the procedure is most likely to result in conception. Test results are usually available in minutes. Blood tests are often used, though with some animals, such as cows, a milk test may be utilized.

Collection

Artificial insemination won’t work without proper collection. This is typically done via manipulation, with fluids being collected. In some cases, such as with dogs, having a female in heat nearby increases the chances of success. However, that isn’t a must.

Ultrasound

Once the insemination is complete, the next stage of is checking to determine if the animal is pregnant. Ultrasound is becoming the preferred method for this with many animals. For cattle, it also allows for earlier confirmation. Ultrasounds—which are often combined with blood tests–can detect the presence of a fetus within 30 days, whereas the old-school manual method may not yield a definite answer until as much as 50 days. Further along, it can also reveal a head count on ‘cooking’ litters, and may also reveal certain defects or abnormalities. Do you want to learn more about our reproductive services? Contact us, your local animal clinic, today!

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