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SoftMaple Spring 2004 litter

Preparation for the breeding:

(A lot of people think you make money breeding dogs.... I figured I would put some of the expenses on the diary page, just so you can keep track of not only the time that goes into producing a litter of pups, but the hidden costs as well.
I won't add things like OFA X-rays, (approx. $200) or CERF eye tests ($35.00) Or Cardiac testing ($40.00). Those are things that need to be done before you even decide if a dog meets the minimum requirements to be bred.)
Some breeders add show expenses, food, vet bills for the dog up to this point. Dog shows do cost a lot of money. Its good to evaluate your dogs against other dogs, but I'm not going to add any of those expenses in.

I am planning on using Beazil, (CH Tuwaripi Belzebub AVA hip 0:2=2 Grade 0 ANKC2100048310 eyes clear/02) a stud whom lives at Blazeaway Kennels in Australia. (Blazeaway Kennels owned by Vicki & Barry Knowles) Since Aus has a quarantine, a natural breeding is out of the question. I have used fresh chilled semen before, but the flight time from Aus to the US is too long. So the other alternative is using frozen semen. To get a litter registered in the US using AI you must obtain a DNA Profile on both dogs. Ripple has a DNA profile already. I mail Viki Knowles the DNA swabs to get a cheek-swabbing sample from Beazil. Once this gets back to me, I mail it and the fee into the AKC. This is all done months ahead of time. I get the DNA certificate back in August 2003. Beazil is DNA Profile # V277584

Beazil is not from America, so you will not see an OFA hip rating on him. (A is for America) He and his ancestors have foreign hip scores.
More information about the various countries hip scores

It costs $40 to submit a DNA sample to the AKC. Since over a year ago, I wasn't sure if I would use Beazil or his brother, Wish, I did DNA samples on both. So minus the mailing swabs to Australia and back, it cost $120 to have DNA swabs done on the boys and Ripple.
There are other expenses at this time. I have puppy information packets made up at Staples. It costs about $100 to make up 14 packets. It costs about $2.00 to mail each one. I won't even add in the phone bills! Between calling to arrange the semen, and returning calls to people interested in puppies, it all adds up quickly.

A reproductive Veterinarian, and Curly breeder, Tiina Illukka from Caballus Kennels in Finland is planning a trip to Australia for a judging assignment. She will do the collection. After Tiina returns to Finland, she ships the 4 straws to an International Canine Semen Bank in Ohio where it will wait for Ripple to come into season.

Since Tiina is a fellow Curly breeder, as well as a Veterinarian who has been been a partner of CLONE Europe LTD, doing dog semen freezing since 2000, I lucked out in that she charged me almost nothing to do the actual collection. I lucked out again, in that Tiina had a Semen container that had to be flown back to the US, and instead of shipping it empty, Beazil's semen could catch an almost free ride. This landed the straws at the International Canine Semen bank in Ohio. I had to pay for filling the container which was 250 Euro or about $317.5 US Dollars.

If I hadn't had Tiina as a connection to do the collection and freezing, it would have run about $400 to collect and freeze. If She hadn't offered to ship the semen to the US in a take she had, it would have cost approximately 600 Euro. ($762 US Dollars)

The policy at ICSB is once semen is sent, you have to pay for a 2 year storage fee, even if the semen is only there a few months. The woman I talked to said she would bend the rules and only charge me $75, since the semen would not be there long.

Before I think Ripple will be comming into season, I start her on Solid Gold Concept-a-Bitch. Solid Gold Concept-A-Bitch is a natural supplement for brood bitches.

o Contains kelp and red raspberry leaves. Red raspberry leaves have been used by breeders for many many years to help to bring lubrication to the birth canal and after whelping it helps to tone the uterus to help lessen the possibility of infection.
o Wild yam provides natural progesterone, which may help the fertilized egg to become attached to the uterine wall.
o Also contains folic acid to aid lactation and as an analgesic, and beta carotene and vitamin A to help produce colostrum.

I don't know if it really helps, but I have used either the Concept a bitch product or just the raspberry leaves with all my litters. I also mix Prozyme into her food, which aids digestion.

Concept-a-Bitch. $21.99 Prozyme $30

I am planning on having Dr Susan Metzger from Orchard Park Veterinary Medical Center do the insemination. It is about a 6-hr drive each way, but shorter distance than to Ohio. I know that Orchard Park does both a surgical insemination as well as trans-cervical inseminations done by endoscope. I have had AI's done twice before on my dogs, but both times using fresh chilled semen, which is more motile and lives longer than frozen. You need to get the thawed frozen semen right where it is needed, and not all vets do these procedures. When the time comes I will have to discuss with Dr Metzger which type of insemination will be best for Ripple. I do have 4 straws, which equals two breedings, so I would rather go for the trans-cervical vs. the surgical insemination, but I will do whatever the Vet thinks is best.

2/5/2004 Ripple comes into season! I start the phone calls to Orchard Park to make arrangements, and have a Brucellosis test done on Ripple.

Brucellosis test on Ripple, $45.00. (Brucellosis is a disease of the reproductive tract which may cause abortion in females, infection of the sexual organs in males, and infertility in both sexes.)

2/9/2004, We draw the first blood sample and send it overnight to Orchard Park for Quantitative Progesterone analysis.

2/11/2004, I draw the second blood sample and send it overnight to Buffalo. When I get home, there is a message that the first Progesterone level is at 1.5

Even though I am drawing the blood myself, between overnight mailing costs, the cost to run the test, and the consultation fee to call and tell me the results, each test is costing around $85.00. ($255)
If I couldn't draw the blood myself, my vet would charge $20 for the office call and blood draw each time. ($60)

2/13/2004 I draw blood for the third time and send it overnight to Dr Metzger. When I get home from the post office, there is a message on the machine that the second samples results were 1.7.

I call ICSB and tell them to ship the semen to Buffalo. They will initially charge me $1085 to ship the semen, but I will get $900 back if their container is returned. So $185 to ship the semen from Ohio to Buffalo.

2/15/2004 (Sunday) Got the call today from Dr Metzger that Ripple's progesterone level has risen above 3, and we should breed her on Tuesday. Since I have 4 straws, I am going to opt for a Tuesday/ Wednesday insemination. So we have an 8:00am appointment for Ripple. Its about a 5 hr drive in good weather, so we will be leaving the night before and staying over in Buffalo for two nights. (This time of year, you can't count on clear roads at 3am!)

Tiina prepared and froze the semen using CLONE. We had to make sure that Orchard Park had a CLONE activator, which they did not. So I had ICSB of Ohio overnight ship some there, to arrive when the Semen did.

More information about CLONE

Actual amount spent to date: 2/15
Not counting the pre season expenses


Since I am an Animal health technician,
I can do a lot of things myself.

What this would cost if I couldn't do it myself
Or didn't have my connections:


Now remember this is even before a breeding takes place!
I don't have to pay a stud fee until we know the breeding takes, and there are 3 live puppies.

The Breeding

2/17/2004, 8:00am, we have our first appointment for the Trans Cervical Artificial Insemination. Before we start, Dr Metzger wants to examine Ripple, to make sure she is health. Then before she has the semen thawed, she wants to make sure that she will be able to pass the catheter. If Ripple has a stricture, or for some other reason she is not able to insert the catheter, we would opt for a Surgical insemination. So they don't want the semen thawed out too far ahead of time. So a "dry run" is done, with the scope inserted without the semen. Ripple has had a litter before, and there is no problem getting the scope into place. This is done in a large procedure room, on an adjustable table, with a rubber mat for good footing.

It takes about 15 minutes to thaw the semen, then we go back into the procedure room.

Ripple behaves very well. They have two technicians to assist with holding Ripple, and with passing Dr Metzger the semen. After the semen is deposited, the table is lowered to almost to the floor, and Ripple's front feet are allowed to rest on the floor, while her rear end remains on the table for several minutes, to let gravity help the semen travel down, instead of out.

Here is some of the the equipment to be used. . . The technicians holding Ripple for the procedure.

The endoscopic equipment needed is expensive and entails a endoscope with a 70 degree telescope, fiberoptic light source, video camera, monitor, small flexible catheters and insuflator equipment.

Canine semen is frozen in two different forms, 1) pellets and 2) straws. Both are extremely successful in achieving conception; however, it is essential that the doctor doing the insemination follow the thawing instructions precisely. Most thawing techniques require that the person using the semen have a form of warm water bath available. A form describing the semen's quality, both pre and post thaw should have accompanied the shipment. These values can be used to judge the quality of the thaw before insemination. Each individual that freezes canine semen has a specific manner of handling and thawing their product. There is no room for error.

Semen Extention Solution
Office Call
Treatment room
Thaw Semen
Semen Evaluation
Transcervical Insemination

Total for 2/17:



2/18/2004 8:00am, We come back for our second appointment. We don't have to go through the physical exam this time.

The catheter being passed. . . Dr Metzger trying to visualize the cervix.

o The endoscope is inserted into the vaginal tract to the proximity of the cervix.
o The cervix is visually located through the telescope or you can use a video camera and a monitor to see it in larger detail.
o A small plastic catheter is inserted through the cervix into the uterus.
o The semen is then expressed into the uterus from a syringe attached to the distal end of the catheter.
o This procedure takes some practice to become proficient.

Treatment room
Thaw Semen
Semen Evaluation
Transcervical Insemination

Total for 2/18:



I won't count the time missed from work, the long drive, tolls, or other expenses related to the trip

More information on Frozen Semen and Animal Reproduction including Trans-cervical Inseminations

Actual amount spent to date:
Not counting the pre season expenses


Since I am an Animal health technician,
I can do a lot of things myself.

What this would cost if I couldn't do it myself
Or didn't have my connections:


This is the expense just to get a breeding done. There is no guarantee of puppies at this point!

3/16/2004 Its still too early to tell if Ripple is pregnant. I may call around and see where th closest vet is that can run a pregnancy test on her. I start to make preperations for whelping. I have a whelping box already, so I don't have to make or purchase one. It needs a new coat of paint. If I didn't have one, I would have to get the materials to make one, or buy one that is premade. DURA-WHELP Makes a nice whelping box for $219.95.

My whelping box has evolved over the years. A few years ago, I took the bottom out of it. This makes it more lightweight, easier to clean, easier to paint, easier to store. I also did this after I had a bitch that insisted on burying her pups under any bedding that was in the box. I needed a way to be able to give the box good absorbent padding without giving the dam a big thick blanket to cover up her pups with! The whelping box has pig rails on all sides. About 4 1/2" by 4" deep. The pig rails are to help prevent a mom from accidentally squishing a pup to the side of the box.

I have a very extensive whelping kit. I have collected these things over the years. If you don't have a whelping kit, you have to start from scratch.

DURA-WHELP Whelping box $219.95
Digital Thermometer $14.25
Kelly Forceps $8.60
2.5oz Bulb Syringe $4.95
# Just Born Formula (2, 8oz. liquid) $6.70
# Nursing Bottles (2oz. & 4oz.) $7.00
Large 15" weaning dish $19.99
Small 11" weaning dish $15.99
Lectro-Kennel heated whelping pad $94.95

New coat of paint on my whelping box: $5.00
# Just Born Formula $6.70



Putting together a whelping kit:



3/30/04 Ultrasound today confirmed that Ripple is not pregnant

Cost of Ultrasound $102.00



No Puppies :-(

Cost of Ultrasound $102.00



No Puppies :-(

Information about our next litter

SoftMaple Curly Coated Retrievers
Mark and Cathy Lewandowski
8282 Soft Maple Road
Croghan New York 13327

For information about our exciting upcoming litter email me at:

Order your copy of The Puppy Diary

Or mail a check to:
$19.95 ($5.50 Shipping and Handling)
Cathy Lewandowski
8282 Soft Maple Road
Croghan NY 13327

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