Dr Karen Hedberg and Dr Michelle Dalli have extensive experience in reproductive medicine. With over 40 years of experience in breeding and showing dogs, Dr Hedberg has gained an extensive knowledge of canine and feline reproduction. Dr Dalli has been working alongside Dr Hedberg for almost 20 years and with her passion for small animal reproduction has become experienced in this field and is teaching this knowledge to the practice associates.
We are here to provide all the advice and services you need to breed your pets successfully. This includes determining when the optimum time is to mate, performing all types of artificial insemination, collecting, and analysing semen, assisting with whelping and giving whelping advice and planning elective caesarean.
There are three main ways in which this can be achieved:
Progesterone is a hormone that can be used to monitor both the heat cycle and determine the time of ovulation in dogs. We have in-house progesterone machines to allow us to give the best advice in these two critical areas of reproduction. It’s important to remember that not all progesterone machines test the same way, and if we are concerned about a result, we may send the sample to an external laboratory. Our in-house machines can give a result in under an hour, which is helpful when travelling long distances.
The cost of an in-house progesterone assay is $85.
Vaginal cytology is a quick a simple way to help us determine the stage in the heat cycle your dog is at. It involves using a cotton tip to sample the cells of the vagina, then placing it on a slide and examining it under the microscope. We sometimes use this with progesterone assays to get a more accurate picture.
The cost of vaginal cytology is $55.
Vaginoscopy uses a specialised scope to examine the lining of the vagina which changes at the various stages of the heat cycle. This is done when we perform a TCI, and it helps confirm the results from the progesterone testing and vaginal cytology.
We have the latest CASA SpermVision system to perform detailed semen analysis. This computer-aided program evaluates concentration and motility and allows us to print a report for you to keep for your records. A copy will also be kept on your pet's medical records. Together with our trained staff performing morphology analysis, we can give a detailed analysis of your dog’s semen.
Having a teaser bitch (i.e., a bitch on heat) is recommended for any semen analysis as it dramatically improves both the chance of getting a sample and the quality of the sample.
The cost of a semen analysis is $150.
We have three options for artificial insemination in dogs available.
Vaginal Insemination: This is the most cost-effective method of insemination as it requires less skill to perform. Once the semen is collected, it is inseminated into the vagina with the aid of a Mavic catheter which allows the semen to be deposited into the distal vagina. If there is good semen quality and the correct timing, this method will produce similar litter sizes to natural mating.
The cost of this is $125.
Transcervical Insemination (TCI): This method requires specialised equipment, considerable expertise, and experience to become efficient. A scope with a camera is inserted into the vagina to locate the cervix. A thin catheter is inserted into the cervix, and the semen is deposited inside the uterus. This dramatically increases the chance of pregnancy and is the best method to use for frozen semen. It is non-invasive and quick, and most dogs do not require sedation.
The cost of this is $250.
Surgical Insemination: This is a surgical procedure that requires a general anaesthetic. A small incision is made in the abdominal wall, the uterus is identified, and the semen is deposited directly into each horn. The chances of pregnancy are similar to TCI. The advantage is that if there is any pathology of the uterus or ovaries present, it may be able to be identified. The disadvantage is that the pain associated with this procedure can reduce the chances of conception.
The cost of this is $695.
This can be performed by palpation, ultrasound, or radiographs. At 4 weeks after mating, we can determine if your pet is pregnant by ultrasound. This is the most reliable method at this stage of pregnancy. An estimation of litter size can also be made. At this stage, we can sometimes palpate your pet’s abdomen and detect if they are pregnant.
The cost of a pregnancy ultrasound is $130.
We perform radiographs in the last week of pregnancy to give a reasonably accurate estimation of litter size so that owners can be confident in determining the end of whelping.
The cost of pregnancy radiographs is $150.
Our veterinarians and nurses are highly skilled and experienced in performing elective and emergency caesareans on dogs and cats. Our 24-hour emergency service is only available to our dedicated clients to support them when they run into trouble outside our opening hours. If you are concerned about your pet in labour, please call sooner rather than later, as the chance of healthy, live babies is increased the earlier we intervene. If you have concerns about your pet’s ability to deliver naturally, please make an appointment to chat with one of our vets.
If your pet has a history of needing caesareans or is in a breed with a high chance of needing one, we can book the procedure on a suitable date.
The cost of a caesarean varies, depending on the patient's size and whether it is during or after regular opening hours.
A price guide for a 10kg dog is $2300. This includes intravenous fluids, antibiotics, pain medication and medication to take home.
At North Richmond Vet Hospital, we support breeders undertaking ethical breeding practices and performing recommended breed testing protocols.