Show offers K-9 health screenings
Veterinarian Sheri Beattie has had frozen dog semen shipped to her animal clinic in Brighton from all over the world: Australia, Poland, Russia, Japan and the list goes on.
Beattie specializes in canine reproduction, specifically cryogenic semen preservation and artificial insemination for dogs. She is the director of the International Canine Semen Bank of Colorado.
This is the first year Beattie is offering the services of her canine reproductive practice at the Grand Valley Kennel Club All Breed Dog Show & Obedience Trials that end today at the Mesa County Fairgrounds.
The procedure and other specialized dog health screenings, such as eye exams and DNA testing, are open to entered and non-entered dogs in the show through the K-9 Health Fair in the Jockey Club modular building.
The K-9 Health Fair opened at 8 a.m. Saturday, and by 9 a.m. Beattie had already collected semen from two dogs at the dog show. The cost of the collection and freezing is $295.
After collection, the semen goes through a cool-down process, a liquid extender is added to it, and then it is fast frozen on a block of dry ice. It can last in a frozen state forever, said Beattie, who has been doing this for 12 years.
“It’s a combination of a skill and an art,” she said, “because it’s almost like gambling.”
Dog owners choose to get their dogs’ semen frozen for a variety of reasons, Beattie said. It’s a way to continue the breed line for dogs busy hunting or showing with little time left for breeding.
Beattie said she’s collected from beloved family pets and service dogs, too.
It’s also a type of insurance policy, she said, in the case of an unexpected loss of a stud.
Veterinary ophthalmologist Todd Hammond from Wheat Ridge, was inspecting the eyes of four greyhounds owned by Kim Fritzler, a Grand Junction greyhound breeder, owner and handler on Saturday.
Wicked, a 2-year-old female greyhound, was up first. With ears back and tail tucked between her legs, she patiently participated in the eye exam, not a whimper or whine from her.
Hammond barely touched her, but peered into her eyes through a series of special instruments and goggles in a darkened room.
He pointed out her optic nerve and the thickness of her lenses. Wicked checked out normal.
The purpose of the test is to promote responsible breeding by checking for congenital or inherited eye disease.
It had been a good day for Wicked.
She also won her class that morning at the dog show.
All of Fritzler’s dogs checked out fine in their exams, although one, if it were human, might need bifocals.