As we make our way into a situation that can be described only as “Holy cow! Too much information about your dog’s unmentionables!” I thought it might be interesting to catch up with the action thus far.
It heavily involves sending money and spending money sending refrigerated boxes, in order to send refrigerated boxes. Say THAT five times fast.
Betty Ann has the specialized boxes, which are basically a cubic foot of styrofoam wrapped around a tiny vial and some ice packs, so we didn’t have to buy those, but I did need to send her the money to make sure those boxes, once needed, would get here fast.
The (ahem) genetic treasure to be concealed within the boxes can’t be sent straight from the source, as it were. It needs a nice cold sugary bath to keep it alive and kicking. That stuff, called extender, is manufactured in a place that is not Betty Ann’s backyard. It cannot be allowed to become warm, so it is sent from its origin to her house packed in – yup – another styrofoam box, using 2-day shipping.
Once those things are in place, we wait for Clue and Bramble to tell us that she’s almost ready to be bred. Then we confirm ovulation with progesterone testing. Once the vet says go, Midas is asked to provide a genetic sample for us – which, I have been told, he is very willing to do. That is carefully portioned with extender, packed in cold packs, and overnight shipped to me. I divide the sample up into two doses and do one breeding the day it arrives and one breeding the next day. A second box arrives on day 3 and is divided up so she is bred day 3 and day 4. Chilled semen lives about 24 hours once it’s inside her, so those two shipments cover a total of five possible days.
The reason the timing is so complicated is that dog eggs aren’t ready to be fertilized immediately. They have to do what’s called “ripening” before they can do the tango with a sperm cell. Ripening typically takes 48-72 hours after ovulation. With all the testing we do, we should know the day she’s ready and be able to get a pregnancy from just one breeding, but splitting it allows us to be absolutely sure that we’re covering it.
Then we wait to confirm pregnancy via palpation when she’s about 30 days post the optimal day that the progesterone told us she was ready. At 61 days after that day, she has a c-section.
Shockingly enough, Amazon doesn’t have these links, but here’s what I used last time and had nine puppies to show for it:
Chill 5 Semen Extender – this is good stuff. I did months of research on the best kind of extender to use and this is the newest technology available to consumers. The base is fructose, instead of the milk that most commercial extenders use, so it keeps the sperm alive longer. I can split the breedings without worrying that I’ve killed the sperm overnight.
The oh-so-precious styrofoam box. Lots of companies make them but I am fond of this one because it has really obvious sperm clipart on it for maximum FedEx-guy embarrassment.
We’re still in hurry-up-and-wait limbo, and will be for another week or more, but as things begin to get exciting I’ll keep you all updated.