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Theriogenology. 2004 Feb;61(4):769-84.

Effect of semen collection practices on sperm characteristics before and after storage and on fertility of stallions.

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National Stud of Lower Saxony, Spoerckenstr. 10, Celle 29221, Germany.


This study analyzed effects of different methods and intervals of semen collection on the quantity and quality of fresh, cool-stored, and frozen-thawed sperm and fertility of AI stallions. In Experiment 1, ejaculates were obtained from six stallions (72 ejaculates per stallion) using fractionated versus non-fractionated semen collection techniques. Initial sperm quality of the first three jets of the ejaculate was not different from that of total ejaculates. Centrifugation of sperm-rich fractions before freezing improved post-thaw motility and sperm membrane integrity when compared to non-centrifuged sperm-rich fractions or non-fractionated centrifuged ejaculates (P<0.05). In Experiment 2, semen from four stallions (60-70 ejaculates per stallion) was collected either once daily or two times 1h apart every 48 h. The first ejaculates of double collections had significantly higher sperm concentrations, percentages of progressively motile sperm (PMS) after storage for 24h at 5 degrees C and lower percentages of midpiece alterations than single daily ejaculates. Semen collected once daily showed significantly lower values of live sperm after freezing and thawing than the first ejaculate of two ejaculates collected 1h apart every 48 h. In Experiment 3, semen was collected from 36 stallions (> or =12 ejaculates per stallion) during the non-breeding season and the time to ejaculation and the number of mounts was recorded. When time to ejaculation and the number of mounts increased, volume and total sperm count (TSC) also increased (P<0.05), whereas a decrease was observed in sperm concentration, percentage of PMS after storage for 24 h at 5 degrees C, percentage of membrane-intact sperm in fresh semen (P<0.05) as well as motility and percentage of membrane-intact sperm of frozen-thawed sperm (P<0.05). In Experiment 4, AI data of 71 stallions were retrospectively analyzed for the effect of number of mounts per ejaculation and frequency, time interval of semen collections on pregnancy, and foaling rates (FRs) of mares. Semen volume increased, but sperm concentration and percentage of PMS after 24-h cool-storage decreased with increasing number of mounts on the phantom (P<0.05). A statistically significant inter-relationship was demonstrated between frequency and interval of semen collection and FR. Mares inseminated with stallions from which semen was collected frequently (> or =1 on an average per day) showed significantly higher FRs than mares inseminated with semen from stallions with a daily collection frequency of 0.5-1 or <0.5. FR of mares inseminated with stallions having 0.5-1 days between semen collections was significantly better than FR of mares that were inseminated with stallions having semen collection intervals of 1-1.5 days or >2.5 days.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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