What Makes Some Stallion Semen Subpar?
14 Factors that can affect your stallion’s fertility
Breeding stallions are sensitive guys. Anything from ambient temperature to body weight can affect their semen quality. In this article, we’ll describe those factors and 12 more that can impact fertility. Three veterinarians well-versed in stud health will help: Edward Squires, PhD, Dipl. ACT (Hon), adjunct professor in the University of Kentucky’s Department of Veterinary Sciences; Dickson Varner, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACT, professor and Pin Oak Stud Chair of Stallion Reproductive Studies at Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; and Peter Sheerin, DVM, Dipl. ACT, owner of Nandi Veterinary Associates, in New Freedom, Pennsylvania.
1. Breed Differences
“There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that certain breeds of horses have more fertility problems, in both the mares and stallions,” says Squires. Draft horses and Friesians, for instance, tend to have poorer quality semen than most other breeds. Friesian semen, in particular, doesn’t cool or freeze as well, he says.
“There’s likely a genetic component to that, which may include inbreeding in a breed with low numbers,” says Varner. “The lesser-known breeds with less population dynamics may have some subfertile sires that transfer their reduced fertility to their get. Some of these breed variations are simply due to limited numbers in the breed and the need to propagate the breed by use of subfertile individuals.”
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