by Dr David Riordan, Holbrook Vet Centre, NSW
We use this endoscope predominantly for canine reproduction. It allows direct visualisation and passage of a catheter through the dog’s cervix. This is necessary when utilising frozen or poor-quality semen.
What’s good about it
This piece of equipment allows us to decrease our dependence on surgical insemination for frozen semen. Surgical insemination involves entering the abdomen and injecting semen through a needle into the uterus. These days, that procedure is starting to be considered unnecessary and is even banned in the UK.
Using the TCI endoscope is an effective method and a much nicer experience for the dog. Sometimes, the animal requires mild sedation but generally no anaesthetic is required at all. It’s a much better solution than a general anaesthetic, full surgical preparation and surgery.
We undertake insemination procedures several times monthly, usually for breeders and greyhound owners. There is a very large frozen semen industry for greyhound breeders.
It’s important to thoroughly clean the endoscope after use to ensure a standard of hygiene is maintained. You also need to be careful not to mistreat the unit even though it is a fairly robust piece of equipment.
What’s not so good
It is expensive to purchase and you also need to buy a camera, light source and monitor to appropriately utilise its full capabilities. The machine has multiple ports which can also be fiddly to clean.