Progesterone and Artificial Insemination

We priced our services for canine semen collection, semen evaluation, artificial semen insemination (AI), and Ultrasound pregnancy check (30 days plus after insemination included) with all included for $160 plus HST.

Before any artificial insemination, we highly recommend running the progesterone test together with cytology ($80). The result is available while you are still in the hospital (around 20-30 min after collecting blood sample). Additional tests are also available per doctor recommendations.


Many veterinary practitioners have limited access to bitches that are in estrus and they may lack the experience to interpret reproductive examinations such as vaginal speculum examinations and vaginal smears. Progesterone concentrations (PC) can aid both experienced and less experienced practitioners with reproductive consultations.

Experienced dog breeders are aware of the value of progesterone testing. It is recognized that in the dog up to 75% of failures to conceive can be attributed to incorrect timing of breeding. The reason it is so difficult to time ovulation in the absence of hormone testing is that the stages of the canine estrous cycle vary considerably in length. Proestrus is defined as the period from onset of vulvar bleeding to the first acceptance of copulation; its duration averages 9 days, but it can range from 1–27 days in extreme cases.

Proestrus is followed by estrus. Estrus refers to the stage where the bitch shows outward signs of receptivity, and it is the stage during which the bitch allows mating. Estrus averages 9 days, but it can range from 3–21 days in extreme cases. 2 These extreme variations have led to the belief that the bitch’s heat cycle is very elastic and variable. It is only in late estrus that the bitch ovulates and that, a couple of days later, eggs become fertilizable. Fertilization typically occurs between 3–4 days before the end of estrus. The problem is that in observing a bitch during her heat cycle, there is no way of knowing when the end of estrus will be. To complicate matters, some bitches may bleed throughout their entire heat period, whereas other may not. Furthermore, some bitches may stand for a stud willingly, even long before there are eggs available for fertilization, whilst others may only be receptive for a day or two. Certain bitches may not be willing to stand for a stud at all because they only stand for a particular stud. There are many other variations and idiosyncratic behaviors that can confuse the breeder, all contributing to a missed opportunity to breed the bitch successfully. It is also a common misconception among breeders that the duration of the different stages within a heat cycle and the point at which a bitch will allow copulation replicates itself in each repeating heat cycle of each individual bitch. The breeder then uses the data from a previous cycle and applies it to the next cycle. For instance, because a bitch was previously successfully bred on day 10 (starting from first signs of heat), the breeder will keep on mating that specific bitch on day 10. While this might work in some cases, it most certainly won’t work in all cases. Similarly, it is not always true that the stud can sniff out exactly when the bitch is at her peak (optimum time for fertilization). More precise timing of the breeding events is required when there is limited access to the stud, when artificial reproductive techniques are going to be used, or when the quality of the semen is questionable. The ability to accurately time breeding is of practical and economic importance to breeders. Optimal timing helps breeders in the following ways:

  • Maximizes pregnancy rates and litter size (Semen and stud fees are expensive.)
  • Allows the breeder to plan travel for matings
  • Allows optimization of time for assisted breeding techniques (artificial insemination [AI] using fresh, chilled, or frozen sperm)
  • Allows optimization of time for breeding when access to the stud is limited to one or two matings
  • Prevents unnecessary use of male
  • Helps with the planning of matings when the same male is used on two bitches simultaneously
  • Allows optimization of time for breeding in bitches that have a history of unreceptiveness or show silent heats
  • Ovulation timing for fair estimates of expected whelping dates