Veterinarians and breeders have benefited from the use of epididymal semen—located in a duct behind the testes—in equine breeding programs dating as far back as the late 1950s. Cryopreserved (frozen) epididymal sperm is a valuable commodity if a stallion will be castrated, or if he unexpectedly dies or must be euthanized.

However, the process of referring the horse to a facility that’s equipped to collect, process, and cryopreserve epididymal sperm is expensive and typically reserved for only the most valuable of stallions.

So Robert J. Stawicki, MS, DVM, Dip. ACT, from the Department of Large Animal Medicine at the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine, and colleagues developed a practical, cost-effective method for performing this procedure in-house, making it available to a larger population of stallion owners. He described this during the 2015 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 5-9 in Las Vegas.

“The technique for collecting epididymal semen has been sufficiently refined and can now result in the recovery of high numbers of sperm and up to 100 insemination doses in a cost-effective manner,” Stawicki said. “Practices that already collect and cryopreserve ejaculated semen require very little additional equipment to collect the semen from the tail of the epididymis, where the semen is the most mature.”

Processing and freezing epididymal semen after collection, it is no different than methods for ejaculated semen.

To date, Stawicki has collected data on processed epididymal sperm from 15 pairs of testicles. Of those cryopreserved epidid