Cooled-Shipped Sperm Quality’s Effect on Fertility

One vet said sperm quality thresholds his team identified can help practitioners make better breeding decisions.

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Cooled-shipped semen is one of the most common breeding modalities in the equine industry. This sperm, however, is generally less fertile than less-commonly used fresh semen.

To help veterinarians evaluate a stallion’s potential as a cooled-shipped semen candidate, researchers at Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences took a closer look at sperm quality’s relationship to fertility. They sought to identify sperm quality endpoints that would indicate when reduced fertility was associated with sperm quality. Charles Love, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACT, associate professor in equine theriogenology, presented their results during the 2014 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 6-10 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

"Currently, there are no guidelines available that can discern sperm quality that is associated with good fertility from sperm quality associated with lesser fertility," Love said.

His study involved 459 ejaculates from 130 Paint and Quarter Horse stallions with an average age of 12. The ejaculates were collected and then shipped to an embryo transfer facility for artificial insemination. Love and his colleagues measured fertility using embryo recovery rate from 196 mares

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Alexandra Beckstett, a native of Houston, Texas, is a lifelong horse owner who has shown successfully on the national hunter/jumper circuit and dabbled in hunter breeding. After graduating from Duke University, she joined Blood-Horse Publications as assistant editor of its book division, Eclipse Press, before joining The Horse. She was the managing editor of The Horse for nearly 14 years and is now editorial director of EquiManagement and My New Horse, sister publications of The Horse.

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