I have a 10 year old stallion. This is my first year owning/breeding him. He has done all LC in the past. I took him to a stallion station/breeding manager pre-purchase in the fall. They collected him, extended the semen, monitored it for PMS at 24, 48 and I think 72. He said there was very little drop off, he has excellent sperm, ect. Sadly i didn't force exact numbers as the guy is a breeder I trust and wouldn't steer anyone wrong. Anyway, he collected him twice this year using a MO style AV and all was well two mares got in foal (one has since slipped).
Well, the reason we were doing all collection is that I wanted to show him and didn't want him to mount a mare, PLUS I anticipated him being hard to handle. Turns out he is very easy to manage, and the station didn't seem to "get" that I wanted him to mount a phantom not a mare. So, I figured why bother hauling him to be collected on a mare, I can do that here...
Well, He is very well mannered, excellent libido, (breeding farm/station kept saying he was a "great breeding horse" again, guy is pretty "straight forward/factual" wouldn't say it if not true kind of dude)
So now I am using a CO model AV with a disposable liner. He doesn't seem to have any issues with the actual AV, however, he has often ejaculated in the AV rather than at the end, or he will get one spurt at end then start to withdrawl. Obviously this can/does shock the sperm. And I tend to see him dripping/sputing on the floor as he withdrawls.
I've had volumes ranging from 10ml (before what is in AV drains down) on up to 90ml (but averaging 45-55ml), and have never gotten any gel in the filter. AND, the time I got 10mls, it turned into 35ml after I let it drain out of the AV and that time had the worst motility to date, lots of circle-ers and dead ones)
I wanted to check here before I change anything with the AV. Too hot? too tight? too cold? what do you think?
Also, I bought EZ Mixin "CST" ("CTS"???) 10 with Amikacin. I stored his semen (as a "test") in an Equine Express. I do have 3 equitainers, but I don't have Whirl Pack bags. Anyway, I checked him at 48 hrs and I would say I had 0 motility, some were "wiggling" but they weren't going anywhere... (I folowed the "rules" as closely as I possible, never set bottle down, proper heated extender, etc.)
Any insight is greatly appreciated. I will admit I am at a huge disadvantage as at the moment I do not have a way to calculate concentration. My vet said rule of thumb was to extend it at least 1:1.. I have been doing more like 1:3 or 1:4 semen to extender... it looks great under the microscope (I would say 60-75%pms (but I admit I'm not the best at it, and was always low on the course I took) on the times where I felt like most was ejaculated at the end of the AV. On the other times, I thought there were a lot of dead, or not swimming or curled sperm. (and thankfully we are not shipping, it is going into the mares after collection, and I have no idea if anyone has taken as we are on the 2 week wait for 6 that have been bred with the collections I have done).
I have yet to see a head-less or tail-less sperm from him.
So, open to all input, and yes, I realize the lack of concentration numbers make it very challenging to extend properly. But, I have to work within the constraints I currently have, and I thought purchasing the microscope/AV/incubator/other lab equipment was a bit more important and well, i'm not independently wealthy
First off, buy yourself a hemocytometer and learn how to use it - at $130 there's no excuse for not being able to get a sperm count!!
It is difficult to be definitive, as there are a wide variety of possible variables, but - without actually seeing the situation - my inclination is that you are seeing heat shock of the sperm (which will commonly result in curled tails and circling sperm). One of the inherent problems with the Colorado AV is that it is longer than most stallion's penises and consequently there is a higher risk of heat shock to the sperm. While we use the French INRA model AV, we have in the past used the Colorado, and when we did, we shortened it to prevent the likelihood of heat shock. It was necessary to shorted each end to prevent a loss of balance which would make handling more difficult. I would therefore suggest that you make a concerted effort to collect your boy with his penis at the distal end of the AV and then evaluate the resulting sperm for circling. If you know you managed to avoid the possibility of heat shock and the sperm are going straight, get out your saw!!
Thanks so much Jos!!! I didn't know they were only 130... Everything I have looked at was 1,500-3000 and I just don't have that right now with vet bills, and show season (plus I had put the Ultrasound as more of a priority).
As to the AV, he always "starts" to ejaculate at the end, usually the glans is actually outside of the AV and he likes my hand there, however, sometimes he makes one spurt and starts to withdraw, leaving the rest inside the AV. You are right, when he gets it all out at the end of the AV they have great motility, but when he withdraws too early he does have circlers (heat shock). I'm not sure how to keep his penis at the end of the AV until he is done ejaculating?
And as to the storage, is Amikacin a good general extender or should I try another antibiotic or another brand of extender? I'm pretty sure the stud farm used a different brand.
I will do my best to get the hemocytometer ASAP, but I doubt I will have it before the next collection (tomorrow)....
Thanks for your time and input! I've not had this issue with the missouri models, but I am stuck with a CO model, so I'll learn to make it work! Lol.
Don't thank me too soon - counting with a hemocytometer is tedious!
Have you tried ground collecting your stallion? It sounds as though he might be a good candidate for that, and it might solve your problem of him pulling back and out of the AV before he's finished ejaculating.
The other thing you can do which will help motility but will reduce the overall number of sperm available (which may not be an issue of he has good concentration and you don't need a lot of insemination doses) is to fractionate the ejaculate. This is where you will actually pinch off the disposable liner after he pulls his penis back into the hot area of the AV, thereby capturing only the non-heat-shocked portion of the ejaculate (you discard the rest of the ejaculate that is captured within the heated lumen of the AV). It sounds tricky, but it's actually not too hard to do - just run the liner between your fingers at the distal end of the AV before it gets into the collection bottle, and then clamp your fingers closed after the desired number of spurts. Bear in mind that the majority of sperm are ejaculated in the first three ejaculatory spurts anyway, so capturing more than that is not really necessary.
There is no one "good" extender!!! I say this about 1,000 times every year in response to questions like the one you ask! Not all extenders will work for all stallions, so one has to perform a cooled semen evaluation in a variety of different extenders to determine which is best for the individual stallion. This should be done at the beginning of each breeding season, as the best extender for that stallion can change from season to season (or even sometimes within the season). If you follow that link, it gives more details, and it's also one of the services we offer people that don't want to go through the hassle of doing it themselves.
LOL, Thanks Jos! And I don't mind work if it saves funds for the number of times I collect. If I were breeding 20-30 mares a year and shipping a lot it would be one thing, but I'm only doing 10, and I was trying to cycle them together (I had planned to use him as little as possible in order to show him, lol).
On the extender. They did do that. and I didn't ask what he was using. I know I can ask him, But I hate to call with "sorry I'm not bringing him to you anymore, but what extender did you use" maybe that is silly of me? I just hate to haul him 45 mins each way for him to jump a mare, plus pay collection, when my degree is in this field and I am capable.
And thanks for the other idea! I will try that next time if he withdraws too soon. It isn't something he does every time, more 50/50, but I thought maybe I was doing something wrong with the AV as I had not worked with the CO models before and I didn't get directions, I bought them off the breeder/owner who I bought the stud from (retiring)...
anyway, Thanks for the tips! I have a mare in heat, so we'll test this tomorrow!
Oh, and no, I haven't tried ground collecting, but have been thinking about it, just as it would make my life much easier! The way I have it set up, I tie him at the back of his stall near the hay rack when we are getting ready to work or he is cooling out. When I am washing him to get ready to breed I cross tie him in the front corner of his stall.... In the 4-5 times I have washed/collected him has really gotten used to it, and, if he doesn't drop down completely, starts to relax and will drop fully as I am washing him (this used to be a difficult task for the previous owners, so I'm rather shocked he is getting so good about it).
The only thing that has kept me from really trying to ground collect is lack of help. I do have a mare holder, and she does a GREAT job, but I don't have anyone I trust with the stud in a breeding sittuation... Now, I can hold the chain in his mouth and wash him (which is why he is good about it now) but I'm not sure i would be confident holding and collecting him on the ground? (however he does do better when there is only one person around...)
Thoughts? I could try ground collecting tomorrow and if it doesn't work switch gears and collect off the mare in heat (I don't have a phantom, and he is not phantom trained....yet I hate my lack of "preparedness" but I switch game plans mid-breeding season).
Did you pay for the semen evaluation to be done in different extenders? If so, you are entitled to that information. If on the other hand it was included as part of their collection service, then they would have a right to be a little cranky about you asking for it. I'm guessing it was option (a) though...
You do need a good person on the front end of the stallion when ground collecting - especially when starting out. IF you don't have, then you will probably not end up with a well-mannered collector as you will probably have him starting to either rear or travel (i.e. not stand still) while being collected, so get someone good on the front end to start with. If he takes to it well, then you can look at the possibility of collecting him in stocks, which makes it a one-person method, which is good (we do recommend however that even if he is good, you still have someone else around while doing it in case things go wrong!!).
Thanks! I did attempt it tonight... he wanted to lay down, back up and kick, so we quit that idea. HOWEVER!!!! (YAY) I think I might have stumbled onto the fact that he likes it cooler, at about 37C and looser than I have been using. I was trying to get it "right" and lost what I thought was too much water, but turns out when I jumped him on a mare he collected at the end of the AV and stayed there in "happy land" for quite some time, I actually pulled the AV off him, rather than the other way around...! I was very happy with his collection tonight (however manners were not quite up to par tonight) Anyway, I packed some semen in a breast milk baggie/bottle liner, and put it in the Equitainer. That should tell me more I hope.
I thought the semen looked really good. I had a slide I looked at then let sit out on the counter while I preped and inseminated two mares. I looked at it again before I left lab/cleaned up and it still looked pretty darn good! I can't say I noticed a difference, maybe a slight drop, but considering lab temp and counter temp, etc, I was pretty happy.... I will get this ironed out before next year I'm sure...
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