We are incredibly excited to go the route of an AI golden retriever puppy breeding with Bella. Having thought her 2017 litter was going to be her last, we simply could not resist the potential pups could bring by pairing her to FC Thistle Rocks Red Ike QA2 MH WCX. If we are successful with her frozen surgical insemination today, this could be a dream!
Generally, we don’t do back-to-back breedings. Recent research has suggested, however, that not skipping a heat cycle, so long as the female has recovered well from her last litter, can actually be safer as this may reduce the chance of infection (pyotmetra). With Bella coming up on 7 years, we decided it would better for her to have a litter at 7 years rather than closer to 8 years too. All weighed out, we decided to make this heat the time to try.
Bella began her heat January 25th with bleeding. We began progesterone testing at day 6. Her level was at 1.7. We were advised to wait three days and retest, at which point she hit 6.4. Because her results were overnighted and reported a day later, we arrived Monday, February 5, thinking that would surely be “the day” for insemination. (Ideally, 72 hours post “5” is what I had been reading.)
When we arrived, her progesterone level was at “16”, and the vet wanted to see it just a little bit higher. (It is not uncommon for the progesterone numbers to be in the 20s and much higher on insemination day.) So, we inseminated Tuesday, February 6, anticipating the ova would be very ripe and have well made their way at that point. Relieved we were early rather than too late, I was more than happy waiting the extra day in the cities for Bella to be ready!
I was able to watch the procedure. They placed a 2-inch incision, opening up Bella’s uterus and examined her uterine horns to be injected directly. I also was able to look at Ike’s sperm under the microscope at the clinic, and was amazed at how something frozen 2-1/2 years ago can be so alive today! The motility of the sperm looked amazing. The veterinary technician described it “as good as fresh”, and actually an improvement from the test sample. We’d estimate it at least 80% motility.
Bella has some stitches and will have some recovery. They were impressed with her demeanor at the clinic. She did incredibly well and we are back at home now. She seems comfortable. The main thing will be to keep an eye on the small incision and to ensure she doesn’t chew at the stitches.
Our estimated due date for Bella is April 7, 2018. Pups would be ready for homes about June 2. We are feeling hopeful!