Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What kind of animals do you see?

We see small animals, including cats and dogs

Where are you located?

Abilene, Kansas. Go to the “Directions” tab of our website for detailed driving directions and a map.

How do I make an appointment?

Please call our office at 785-263-3221 to schedule an appointment with our friendly technicians! Walk-in appointments are also welcome, with the understanding that you might have to wait for a veterinarian to be available and there is an additional fee.

Do you offer after-hours care/emergencies?

Yes, we typically see emergencies for our current clients (on a case-by-case basis) or may refer clients to an emergency facility that best suits the care of their animal. Please call our clinic and listen to the prompts for the emergency contact numbers. Please be aware that there will be an emergency fee in addition to the regular charges.

What do applicable procedures cost?

There are a lot of answers to this question! For a specific estimate, please call our clinic during business hours of 7:00am to 4:00pm Monday through Friday. The variables involved can be discussed in more detail.

Do you offer boarding or grooming?

We do not offer pet boarding or grooming services currently. Boarding is offered for the purpose of estrus timing/stud collection. We recommend Country Kennel (located east of Solomon) and Almost Home (north of Abilene) for boarding only and Prim & Popper (located east of Abilene) for grooming and boarding services to our pet clients.

I am a Veterinarian/Professional breeder in need of advice. Who should I talk to?

Medical consultation is available with all of our doctors. Any of our technicians can advise on the logistics of timing and breeding a female.

Why is there a barn next to the clinic?

Symbioun, Inc. has been at its current location since 1984. Prior to this, it used to be a locally owned dairy farm that served the populace of Abilene, Kansas with fresh milk. Built by the hands of the patriarch who owned the dairy, the old farmhouse, which served as a small animal clinic, was moved to its new location on 4th Street, Abilene, Kansas in 2002 after the new building with complete veterinary facilities was erected on the property adjacent to the farmhouse.

What does Symbioun mean?

Symbioun: A noun referring to an individual in a symbiotic relationship. A synonym is Symbiont. An organism that lives in a state of symbiosis. A symbiotic relationship, or symbiosis, is a situation where two distinctly different organisms live together to their mutual benefit. Another definition is mutualism.

A common example is lichens growing on rocks. The lichen is not a single organism but a colony of algae and fungus, living together. The fungi dissolve rock to release minerals for the benefit of the algae. Algae provide energy for the fungi.

To coin the term Symbioun for our business, it refers to the relationship between staff, patients and clients all working together for mutual benefit: not trying to use one another to improve one’s status or to profit at the expense of another, but to work together for mutual benefit. This is especially important for production animal medicine where the use of veterinary services should be an investment that enhances production, rather than a necessary evil.

Perhaps a more appropriate term would be biome: meaning all the entities involved in a biological-socio-economic community.

That brings us to an explanation of the multi-colored “beach ball” logo. The colors are derived from the color-coding of canisters of some semen tanks. Red, green, brown, yellow, white, and blue. That was incidental. We use those colors to symbolize all participants in the “biome” or also thinking of sustainable agriculture, which is the goal of our associated business, Symbioun Farms. Below is what each color represents:

  • Red: fauna: people, livestock, rumen intestinal protozoa, soil microbes, nematodes, earthworms, insects, feral animals, wildlife, fish, and other aquatic animals.
  • Green: flora: plants, wild native grass, and forbs, domestic crops, rumen bacteria, perineal plants, annual plants, soil bacteria, and fungi.
  • Brown: soil with its physical and chemical components: clay, sand, loam, humus, as well as flora and fauna which affect the wellbeing of the soil.
  • Yellow: sunlight which powers all biological processes on earth.
  • White: representing air, especially the molecular gases: nitrogen N2, Oxygen 02, and carbon dioxide CO2. And the cycles of these components in soil, water, plants, and animals.
  • Blue: water which is an essential medium for animal and plant life and is involved in cycling nutrients and wastes in biological systems: biomes.

Hence the “beach ball” symbolizes more than an annoying little logo.

Canine Reproduction Questions

What reproduction services are offered?

Female dog services:

  • Timing of estrus with in-house progesterone testing and cytology (these are done between 7am and 9am daily)
  • Surgical inseminations
  • Side-by-side artificial inseminations
  • Endoscopic transcervical inseminations

Male dog services:

  • Stud dog semen collection and evaluation
  • Semen cryopreservation
  • Long or short term frozen semen storage (including quarantine for international exportation)
  • Domestic frozen semen shipping, logistics
  • International frozen semen import/export services

Medical reproduction services:

  • Obstetric exams
  • Caesarean sections
  • Breeding soundness exams and evaluations for studs and dams
  • Pregnancy confirmations
  • Neonatal care
  • Breeding soundness consultations

How do I ship semen TO Symbioun Inc.?

The first step is a phone call to us.

We are not a brokerage, so usually multiple parties will need to be involved and we will do our best to make it as simple as possible and eliminate unnecessary last-minute concerns. The sending party will need to know our full address to eliminate any hassles. The sending party should also include semen owner information.

How do I ship semen to another facility FROM Symbioun Inc.?

We will first need clearance from the semen owner and details of destination as well as payment information before shipping and we will handle further arrangements. Due to the nature of frozen semen, it is NOT necessary to wait until a female enters estrus to ship. Planning ahead for future breedings is encouraged and can drastically affect the shipping cost. Frozen semen needs to be stored immersed in liquid nitrogen. If the receiving facility has storage capacity, we can send the semen well ahead of time using our shipping tanks to those at the receiving facility. Shipping tanks do not have a long hold time, so if the receiving facility does NOT have storage capacity, we would not be inclined to send the frozen semen unless the receiving facility can procure a temporary storage tank.

What if I want to use fresh chilled semen instead of frozen?

Respectfully, we prefer to work with frozen or fresh semen. Chilled semen has a lot of work involved that must be orchestrated and executed perfectly for it to be a successful breeding. Weekends and holidays make it even more difficult to coordinate because of lack of shipping options at that time. It typically is more expensive due to shipping costs and the fact that multiple breedings may be needed. We do offer chilled semen collections and shipping for our clients that request it.

What is involved in timing a female? When should I bring her in?

We prefer to start timing a female between 5-7 days after the onset of proestrus, as indicated by a bloody vaginal discharge and/or vulva swelling. We use vaginal cytology and serum progesterone levels to determine how far along a female is in her cycle to identify the most ideal time to recheck. We give each case individualized attention and recheck anywhere from 7 days to the same afternoon, depending on test results. Timing can take as little as a few days to a few weeks with multiple cytology’s and progesterones. Expect 4-6 progesterones per estrus timing before breeding.

Some things to consider prior to bringing a female in for timing:

  1. If your female’s cycles are irregular, or if she has had trouble becoming pregnant in the past, earlier evaluation of breeding soundness before she is in estrus is the prudent choice.
  2. Prior shipment or confirmation of semen stored at our facility will ensure your female can be bred at the most optimal time without missing a breeding opportunity because of shipping delays.
  3. Finally, we recommend using a proven stud.
  4. Females should be vaccinated. The vaccinations should include Rabies, Distemper, Adenovirus, Parainfluenza Virus, Parvovirus, Leptospirosis, and Bordetella (Kennel Cough). They also need a Negative Heartworm Test.

How are females bred at your facility?

Females are bred by surgical insemination, trans cervical artificial insemination (TCI), or side-by-side artificial insemination. We also assist in timing natural matings, but rarely assist with live matings at the clinic. Usually, natural matings are done at the owner’s kennel or farm. Descriptions of each are provided below.

Surgical insemination:

Our facility primarily performs surgical inseminations with frozen or fresh semen. Surgical insemination requires general anesthesia and semen is implanted directly into the uterine horns through a small abdominal incision. The advantage of this procedure is that frozen semen (which typically has a shorter life span due to rapid capacitation as opposed to fresh semen) has the best chance of reaching the eggs of the female. This approach requires a health exam, fecal float, proof of vaccinations, and fresh or frozen semen stored or shipped to our facility in an adequate time frame and accurate estrus timing. Surgical insemination has two approaches: right flank (on the side of the abdomen, preferred for greyhounds and performance dogs) or ventral midline (on the belly, preferred for wide-bodied dogs, or for cosmetic purposes in dogs that may be currently showing). Shaving the fur is required for adequate sterile preparation. The surgical site which is shaved is typically 8-10 centimeters (4-5 inches) and the incision is typically less than 1 1/2 – 2 1/2 inches or 3-5 cm in length. Post-surgical care is required and includes restriction of activity, close observation, and avoiding long-distance travel for 2-7 days. Females may be picked up the next day after the procedure is performed for females boarded or owned locally. This procedure is limited to only one breeding per season to limit anesthetic and surgical risk to the patient.

Trans cervical Artificial Insemination:

As an alternative to surgical insemination, trans cervical insemination uses a small medical-grade endoscope with a camera and CRT screen to visualize the cervix for catheterization and implanting semen into the uterus. This requires no anesthesia and rarely requires sedation. It is preferred for clients who do not want their animals to undergo surgery but still want to use frozen semen. The patient will be required to stand very still for up to ten minutes to allow the procedure to be performed. Fresh, frozen, or chilled semen may be used for this procedure.

Side-by-Side Artificial Insemination:

The stud and dam to be bred are both presented to the clinic. The male’s semen is then collected, evaluated, and then inseminated vaginally into the female. No anesthesia is required for this procedure. Depending on the quality of the semen and the female’s estrus cycle, this may be done multiple times in order to have the best chance for a pregnancy.

How much does it cost to collect and freeze semen from my stud?

We are an American Kennel Club (AKC) and National Greyhound Association (NGA) affiliated/approved frozen semen facility. We also work closely with the United Kennel Club (UKC), Professional Kennel Club (PKC), Field Dog Stud Book (FDSB), North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA) and most other registries. Our fee for the collection of the stud, evaluation of semen, cryopreservation and associated record keeping is a bundled service. Each registry, however (AKC, UKC, PKC, AFSB, etc.) has different criteria regarding DNA services and reporting, each with varying fees. We are happy to assemble, complete and process all necessary documentation and routinely collect and submit DNA as required as well as maintain detailed records on every freeze we perform. We provide both long- and short-term storage as well as offer domestic and international shipping. Please give us a call to discuss options, costs, appointments, and necessary documentation prior to cryopreservation.

How much does it cost to breed my female?

There are fixed costs such as the surgical implant fee or transcervical insemination fee, but there are several variable costs depending on how long the female is boarded at our facility, how many progesterone tests are needed to time the female, and how many times she is bred. Only one breeding is possible with a surgical implant, but transcervical or side-by-side Al may require multiple breedings. Please call for an estimate.

What is our conception rate?

For racing greyhounds using the surgical approach, our pregnancy rate is currently about 90% with an average of 5.9 pups per litter (as of December 2015, updated bi-monthly).

Do you have a guarantee? What if my female doesn't take?

Unfortunately, there are no guarantees with breeding dogs. Many variables must be met when trying for a successful breeding, and while we can give them the best chance possible, sometimes it does not work. If this is the case, please contact us so we can reassess that breeding and recommend changes to improve the chances of a pregnancy in the future.