Has anyone ever had an issue with a young stallion that is very happy to "service" a mare live cover, goes through all the motions and seemingly ejaculates, but is possibly not? He has been succesfully collected and evaluated with very high count, moderate volume and very good motility up to and after 72 hours. We are on the 2nd round of live cover with 3 different mares and it was suggested to me that he was perhaps "faking" it.
He's 3. He is covering each mare every 48 hours, which means that some days he is being used to breed every 12 hours. Because all three mares are cycling very close together, we are doing AM and PM covers on certain days. I am not using him any closer than 12 hours when he does breed twice in one day. When I had his breeding eval done, he was collected multiple days in a row and several times in one day to see how his volume/numbers would be affected. His sperm and his libido stayed up to be able to handle that kind of usage according to the specialist that performed the eval work with him.
Without a semen evaluation, or possibly evaluation of a dismount sample (see below), you really have no way of determining if there are sperm in the ejaculate or not.
You can try placing your hand on the underside of the base of the penis to feel for ejaculatory pulses, but that does not guarantee sperm, only - at best - seminal plasma.
Some stallions may develop a blockage, preventing passage of sperm into the released ejaculate. Three would be young to see that problem, but I have seen it. The stallion will go through all the motions of ejaculation - right down to the "dazed" look after completion, but evaluation of the sample shows no sperm. As I say that is rare in a young stallion, but not unheard of.
You can attempt to capture a dismount sample as the stallion dismounts from the mare, and evaluate that for sperm presence under a microscope. It is important to note though that the only thing that this will definitively prove is that there are sperm present in the ejaculate if you do see sperm in the dismount sample. Absence of sperm in the dismount sample does not necessarily correlate to absence of sperm in the entire ejaculate.
All-in-all, if you have concerns, you would be well advised to have his semen collected and evaluated again. It would also be important to note that there are other potential causes for failure of pregnancy establishment from the male perspective that should be evaluated, not the least of which is the presence of a pathogen in the stallion's reproductive tract that is being secreted in the semen.
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