I have a two year old mini stallion that i had sort of a sperm analysis done on the other day. He is a great little colt, and has really proven himself in the show ring, and i planned on breeding him to one mare this year to have a foal on the ground from him, if i decide to stand him at stud to a few mares next year. Anyway, i had his ground training great, and had him mounting and breeding the mare very politely and accurately, although he wasnt settling her. I had my vet collect a small amount(10ml) of semen from him as he was dismounting the mare after breeding (he kinda milked him) and he found that he had all of about 4 sperm in the whole 10ml he collected. They are all normal, but just not enough of them. He has suggested that i let him mature a little more and try him again later in the season to make sure he has improved. So meanwhile, i am sending my mare to an outside stallion. Anyway, my question is, is this an accurate enough way to see his sperm count? Is this low count normal for a two year old? And will this count increase as he matures? He is an exceptional quality colt, and i would love to keep him as my stallion, but i am concerned that he wont be able to do his "job" and settle mares. What are your thaughts?
Hi Renee, I can't help you much with the accuracy of the method used but may beable to put your mind at ease about his low fertility. Our colt as a two year old took four cycles to get his first mare in foal. We were a little worried about it but just decided to wait till he was more mature before we wen't into panic mode. as a three and four year old he bred 3 - 4 mares and got them all in foal first time, so i wouldn't be to worried. Let him mature a bit more and go from there.
Emma, Great. Thanks for the encouragement. It puts my mind at ease knowing that he isnt a lost cause. I know that a 2yo is obviously going to be substanitally less fertile than a mature stallion, but thought 4 sperm in total was pretty poor. Hopefully he will pick up dramatically as he matures. I was prepared for him to not be able to this year, as i know two is quite young, so it wasnt too bit a dissapointment. Thanks again for the encouragement
A "dismount sample" which is what was evaluated is totally unreliable as an indicator of concentration, and I am extremely surprised that a licensed veterinarian would have even contemplated it to be so!
There are three portions to an ejaculate:
Pre-ejaculate; this is the clear fluid that drips from the stallions penis prior to breeding;
Sperm-rich fraction; self-explanatory, this is the first three ejaculatory spurts (or thereabouts) of 6-10 spurts, and contains pretty much ALL of the sperm;
Tail-fraction; this is the last portion of the ejaculate (after the first three ejaculatory spurts with the sperm in it) and will contain the seminal plasma and the gel fraction (if present). It is a portion of this section of the ejaculate that your vet evaluated, and the sperm that were in it would have been there as a result of its coming into contact with the sperm-rich portion (a little of which was left over in the urethra of the stallion).
So - in answer to your question about the accuracy of the technique: Not!!!
There will tend to be a lower sperm output by a young (2 year-old) colt, but you certainly cannot rely on these results to indicate the level. The fact that there were sperm present is good! Get another evaluation performed by a knowledgeable person to get an accurate indication of the actual concentration and total sperm output. It is likely to be lower because of his age (but not as low as you think at the moment!!!), but in all probability that will improve with time!
Jos... Thanks for the info. I am surprised my vet was happy to inform me that he was too immature to breed dispite the inaccuracy of the method he used!! I am dissapointed actually! I kinda thought it may not be very accurate, hence my asking. I will try another vet to do a PROPER more accurate collection and evaluation. Thanks again
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