IMPORTING FROZEN SEMEN
- Plan well in advance of expected usage dates;
- Check CCC requirements re collection from overseas dogs, e.g. complete an application for re-registration of semen registered with an overseas body recognised by CCC [QLD] & send a copy of the “Collection Certificate for Imported Semen” to the collecting veterinarian, this form is completed at the time of freezing;
- Check AQIS re any health requirements for donor dog, [depends on country] & apply for an import permit, the completed permit will need to be sent to the overseas collection facility so that it can accompany the shipment into Australia;
- Semen can be frozen as straws or pellets in vials, either is acceptable. Some overseas companies that are involved with freezing canine semen are: Camelot Farms, CLONE & ICG [check their web site for a list of participating veterinarians];
Once all paperwork, health requirements & permits are complete the semen can be collected & frozen. It is important to discuss with the overseas stud dog owner aspects such as whether the entire collection will be exported or only a certain number of breeding units. When the semen is assessed at the final stage of the freezing process for post thaw motility, the collecting veterinarian will determine the number of breeding units [BUs] available. A BU is the number of live, normal sperm than can reasonably be expected to achieve a pregnancy, usually over 100 x 106. It is important that the evaluation paperwork accompany the shipment as this will tell the inseminating veterinarian how many straws or vials are equivalent to one breeding unit.
Because of the expenses involved, in particular the freight & handling costs, it is best to import as many breeding units as possible at the one time. When completing for the import permit apply for more straws/vials than expected. When the shipment arrives & is checked against the import permit it may cause problems if there are more units in the tank than on the paperwork but not if there are less. On occasion it can be cheaper to wait until there is a group shipment coming into Australia so that these costs are shared. The semen is shipped in a special container called a vapour shipper, because it is primed with liquid nitrogen it is classified as a dangerous good. The container can enter Australia at any airport that has a quarantine inspection facility, including Brisbane. It may be addressed directly to CABs & delivered to Hillcrest once cleared through quarantine or, if coming as a group shipment, is cleared through Sydney then repackaged to continue to Queensland.
EXPORTING FROZEN SEMEN
- Plan well in advance of expected usage dates;
- Contact AQIS to obtain export permits & discuss any health requirements for the country importing; most of the current information is available on the AQIS website. In most cases, because of Australia’s’ enviable position with respect to limited disease issues, the only requirement is a veterinary certificate stating that the dog was examined prior to collection & showed no evidence of any infectious diseases. Some countries may require specific testing or clearances.
- Documentation is also required stating that the semen to be imported has been stored continuously at an approved facility. CABs is an approved centre.
- At least one week prior to export the completed paperwork must be submitted to AQIS for examination.
- A transport company is hired to arrange shipment, companies such as DogTainers & DGM could be used, a vapour shipper will need to be hired from the shipping company.
- Prior to shipping an “authority to transfer’ form will need to be submitted to CABs stating the number of breeding units to be shipped.
A CCC application to transfer frozen semen will also need to be filed.
The advantages of using chilled semen are reduced risks & costs compared with sending the dog & the ability to perform more than one vaginal insemination. One problem is in the co-ordination of ovulation in the bitch with the collection from the dog. As there is often no in-season teaser available when the semen is to be collected, the best quality collection is not always possible. On some rare occasions it may be impossible to collect anything of value from the dog. Because of the reduced viability of the sperm, ovulation timing is essential, this may be difficult in some areas where next day blood progesterone results would not be available. As chilled semen has slightly less vigour than under natural mating or fresh artificial insemination conditions, it is recommended that the warmed semen be inseminated around the time of ovulation. For this reason, ovulation timing with progesterone assays, is essential.
Once the interstate veterinarian notifies us that the initial rise in progesterone has occurred, you will need to organise transport, usually by air freight or overnight road transport. Find out what time the inseminating vet clinic requires the semen & if the client there will pick it up from the transport centre or if the parcel is to be delivered directly to that vet clinic. If the latter get the name, address & opening times of the vet clinic. Discuss any time restrictions with the air freight centre or transport company, the parcel will be a small esky, 29 x 22 x 20cm weighing less than 2 kilograms & does not contain any dangerous goods.
The package can be picked up from CABs but it is probably better to take it directly to the transport area yourself to reduce the risk of missing flights etc. The processed semen will stay viable for around 4-5 days but is better inseminated within 24-48 hours. Once transport has been arranged make an appointment to have the semen collected, also bring a copy of the dogs’ registration papers. If a teaser bitch is available keep the dogs separate during transport to ensure the male is aroused, also, if possible have a second person to control the bitch. A teaser bitch is helpful but by no means essential. The collection, evaluation, processing & packaging takes around 20-40 minutes so make sure the appointment is made allowing sufficient time to get the package to the transport company.
For chilled insemination, ovulation timing, with blood assessment of progesterone concentrations, is essential. The initial rise in progesterone values (see below) allows the inseminating veterinarian to predict when ovulation will occur. Ovulation generally occurs two days after the initial rise, & maturation, which must occur before the eggs can be fertilised, may take 2 to 3 days. From then the eggs remain viable for about 24 to 48 hours. Using these figures, & because the sperm life is decreased by the various events associated with handling, chilled AI is likely to result in fertilisation from around the time of the initial rise, further tests are recommended until ovulation values are seen.
You may pick up the package from the airline or transport centre or have it delivered directly to CABs..
When you know the time the semen will arrive, ring for an appointment; please bring a copy of the bitches’ registration papers. The ANKC needs to be notified that an artificial insemination has been performed; in some states an application to transfer ownership of semen is also required. Insemination takes about 20 minutes; the chilled semen is warmed & evaluated prior to insemination.
At CABs chilled semen can be inseminated 7 days a week; however, transport may be a problem on weekends or public holidays. Some sources recommend halving the collection for two inseminations 24 hours apart, especially as the volume to be inseminated is usually quite large, this may be the preferred option for very small dogs, others feel that all of the semen be inseminated soon after the initial rise in progesterone.
As with all forms of artificial insemination performed by CABs, ultrasound can be arranged 4-5 weeks after the insemination. This will tell you if your dog is pregnant, however, if you want to know the numbers of pups, this is best assessed by an x-ray at around 8 weeks gestation.
Finally, could you please let CABs know the whelping date & how many puppies your bitch delivers.