Inquiring Minds Want to Know: Does TCI Carry an Infection Risk?

I previously mentioned this article…

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The authors’ study is an impressive one with large numbers and sophisticated statistical analysis.

And because I have written quite a few things myself, I know that authors of professional articles are just human beings like the rest of us — and so I wrote to the Corresponding Author with some questions; she was gracious and thorough in her responses.

In a Facebook discussion the issue of infection/pyometra was raised as a possible adverse event following Transcervical Insemination (TCI). As you might imagine, this chilled me to the bone.

I found one study that reported no post-TCI infections in dogs but the sample size was eight. While I am glad their study did not show any infections post-TCI, n=8 is not enough to inspire confidence.

The Hollinshead & Halon study was far more robust. Further, as a working practitioner as well as a researcher, Dr. Hollinshead reports having done approximately 2500 TCIs over many years.

Her response about post-TCI infections was not just small-n no but a very hard NO. Infections, including pyometra, are just not an issue with well-done TCIs.

She offered expected caveats — the equipment needs to be clean and the skill level of the practitioner needs to be solid, but she said, “The post insemination incidence of pyometra was so low in our study that it was not analysable.”

She went on to explain that the cervix is open when a bitch is in season, and that “…the uterus expels the bacteria and foreign material (dead sperm, extender etc) before the cervix closes and it becomes under the influence of progesterone.”

In other words, there is a clean-out system when mammals are bred because breeding is not a sanitary or sterile kind of thing. Mother Nature apparently knows what she is doing.

This does not mean Sparkle is safe from an adverse event but what it does mean is that if such a thing happens, it is so very much, much more likely that it is a coincidence rather than a consequence of the TCIs.

Remember — correlation is not causation. When two things happen together, it does not mean one caused the other.

Unless Lucky Socks are involved, of course.

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And so there you go — evidence from a solid source with a robust data set. TCI does not/should not create an elevated risk of infection.

Monday Round-up and Specialty Stuff

Let’s start off by congratulating Team Kiri (Sparklers) for a great weekend — Select one day and Best of Opposite the next. Kiri will be in Best of Breed at the Specialty — she will represent the family well.



Sparkle’s potential pregnancy has changed our Specialty plans — that and Dear Husband’s aversion to ticks.

Sparkle will stay home with Dear Husband, who gallantly agreed to avoid ticks by staying with her. Since it will just be me traveling to Minnesota, Daisy will also stay at home — she was only entered in one event and I do not want her sitting in the cabin by herself while I am out and about with the other two dogs.

And so I will be bringing just Harper and Claire — but they will be busy girls. In order to maximize our remaining training and conditioning time, I made a schedule…


Note that in addition to my own dogs, I have included Sundance on the schedule — that is Suzanne’s lovely Tag son who got a Reserve Best in Show over the weekend! This is Suzanne’s first foray into tracking and Sundance drew a track at the Specialty — I am so excited for them and am committed to helping them be as ready as possible for that day.

Schedules help me stay focused and clear about what needs to be done — and I love checking boxes.

Have a great Monday! I have to get started on my day so I can check off all of the little boxes (actually, they are tiny clipboards) for today.


Berkeley is a morning person — like me. When I am in Boise on a weekend, like yesterday, I go over at 5:45 a.m. so that I am there to take care of her when she wakes up; this gives her parents the gift of sleeping in.

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Once her family was up, it was time to hit the road.

As I drove along the Salmon River towards Montana, a Bald Eagle posed for me…

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I jumped from Lucky and took photos — note the traffic…

Lucky April 2019.jpg

I could leave the door open because my dogs are always secured when traveling — they are never loose in the van or RV.

And now we are home and forced to practice more patience as wait for mid-May, which is when we will know if Sparklers 2.0 will be making a June 16 appearance.

Luckily we have Frantic Training and then the Specialty to keep us busy.

Have a wonderful Easter Sunday.