Like so many of you, beginning here to pull hair out so open to your ideas on next steps, items to check.
We have two new top genetic quarter horses, 7 yr old, both w/ babies on their side (3mo) and breeding records showing previous yr foal records.
We are breeding via A/I both of these to a World Champion Homozygous Paint stallion looking for hi quality paint production.
So far one has been bred 2 x (3rd waiting 6 more days to reach day 17 post ovulation) and the other 3x with 17 day foal check as negative. Our history with our Repro vet has been over 5 yrs 70% conception and he assures us our mares are excellent in the repro soundness department. All of our breedings are same Stallion w/ cooled semen and the timing has been order today, receive tomorrow am, A/I same day, and ovulate within 24 hrs post A/I.... Unfortunately no pregnancy on either mare has resulted!
The word from vet was quality was "excellent"... after finding this site and others I find I have enough informnation to ask him and the stallion ownwr to qualify semen quality with paramaters such as: Volume Sperm Concentration million/milliliter Sperm Motility % Sperm Morphology % Semen Extender Antibiotics used w/ Extender Additionally any info they can provide on testing sperm “viable life” as described by normal motility non morphed sperm counts over time. IE is sufficient sperm still “good” at 12 hrs after shipping, 24 hrs, 36 hrs ? Etc..
Trusting the vet, and now verifying all based on finding new knowledge that you and others can offer...
What reproductive work has been performed on the mares? Presuming an adequate insemination dose with good motility, there is a greater chance that the fault lies at the mare end than the stallion - definitely not absolute, but more likely - so one typically would start looking there (as I note, presuming adequate insemination dose and motility of sperm).
Thanks for jumping in the thread... Although I do not have specifics, Im told he has performed a "standard" reproductive soundness exam, also ensures tract cleanliness/fitness and pre-treats w/ antibiotics. Additionally the mares are not in anyway experiencing nutritional/conditioning issues.
The fact we have TWO mares; BOTH w/history of multiple foaling years including w/ having current 3 month old foals, where the prior long term reputable breeding farm mare owner stating " no issues in prior breeding" has us scratching our heads after multiple attempts on BOTH these two mares wit ha common stallion.
What would you suggest in checking further based on those mare facts? We are certainly checking all factors on both sides!
Does your service perform semen test and if so, is it every time, what information do you get?
IF your stallion provider states this time of year (june), as being extremely busy with semen shipment request, and also recieving short shipments (1 dose), indicate that stallion may be having issues with conception rates across his user community?
I think motility is one of the most important factors you need to ask about, and they do need to check it at the time your mare ovulated. If the sperm look good on arrival, but are all dead around the time your mare ovulates, this could be your issue.
You're better off with two doses just in case she doesn't ovulate as soon as speculated.
Just sounds like you might have chosen a popular stallion that is shipping a lot - it could be because they are second time shipments or just a very busy schedule. I do know standard procedure is to send two syringes in case you need to inseminate your mare again.
Unless a uterine pathogen has been identified using both culture and cytology plus sensitivity test, use of random uterine antibiotics to "pre-treat" is contra-indicated. There is a very real danger of (a) creating resistant organisms; and (b) creating a super-infection with opportunistic organisms with excessive and unnecessary use of uterine antibiotics.
You obviously aren't aware of what procedures exactly have been performed, but the aforementioned culture and cytology (and read our article I linked to in order to understand the importance of that combination fully) is a good starting point that is often overlooked. In post-foaling mares particularly, digital and/or endoscopic evaluation of the cervix is important too. Something else that can occur in post-foaling mares is a greater degree of risk of failure to clear post-breeding fluid, this is particularly of more significance in multiparous mares whose internal reproductive conformation has perhaps become a little tipped. Evaluation post-breedig (the next and subsequent days) is therefore called for in these girls, as well as the judicious use of an oxytocin protocol (follow that link too!).
Bear in mind that some mares enter a state of anestrus while nursing, so absolute confirmation of ovulation is essential.
Evaluation of the semen prior to insemination is important, bit some people over-estimate the number of viable sperm required or the significance of progressive motility as an indication of fertility. Take a look at our article entitled "The Semen Looked Bad - or is it?" for more details on sperm numbers. It is essential to understand too that motility is not definitively linked to fertility. Granted if nothing is moving the chances of fertility are greatly reduced (), but the converse is not true. Good motility does not guarantee good fertility. There can be issues related to a process called capacitation that can result in good sperm motility but a complete inability for the sperm to be able to fertilize. There are also other matters that can reduce fertility while not affecting motility, so don't rely on motility too heavily as an indicator!
Having said that, as I said before it is more common for problems to be present in the mare than the stallion as long as one does have good sperm numbers and motility. We invariably evaluate received semen for a variety of parameters when breeding our own or customer's mares - motility is of course one, but also concentration and morphology. If the shipment looks particularly poor, we will also video is and send a copy back with the shipping container when it's returned - it's kinda hard to argue with a video!!!
I'm not too concerned about receiving a single insemination dose as long as it is correctly presented (adequate numbers/motility, with the above caveats on motility being borne in mind!). We are targeting breeding within the 24 hours prior to ovulation, and a single dose is perfectly OK if that happens. The only time when perhaps a second dose may be of value is with a mare that hangs on to a follicle and doesn't ovulate in the first 24 hours after being inseminated, and then we'll look at the second (remaining) dose for quality and if we still have >200 million progressively motile morphologically normal sperm we will inseminate that dose as well. Note that we do not inseminate the second dose prior to 24 hours after the first dose, nor do we inseminate if it there are <200 million PMMN sperm contained therein.
So, in your case, I would recommend going back to the basics. A good thorough pre-breeding work-up on the mares; careful evaluation of the semen upon receipt; inseminate in a timely manner; check for post-breeding fluid and probably treat with the oxytocin protocol regardless of fluid presence or absence through from 4 hours post-breeding to the full 3 days post-ovulation every 6 hours, 10 iu; and confirm timely ovulation.
I would start with getting the mares tested for infection before you ship again, and since it has been 5 times, I think you need to invest in an exam for each. If they find out exactly what type of infection it is, they can treat it with just the right anti-biotic when she comes into heat again. I had a mare with an infection once and we treated her with the correct anti-biotic then took her home that day and bred her - she ended up getting pregnant.
I would definitely get a semen evaluation making sure that the motility is acceptable because the fact of the matter is if that even if there are high numbers of sperm, if there are none of them are alive that swim, the mare will absolutely not get pregnant, period. Plus, the BEST time to inseminate the mare is right before she ovulates.
And for sure I would use the oxytocin protocol, there is no reason not too - it has no bad side effects and can only help.
We bred 6 mares of our own this year on foal heat and everyone of them conceived and I feel the oxytocin played a major role in that.
I know there are several things out there that I don't know or have never dealt with, but I have been in your shoes with trying to ship semen, so I know your frustrations. It does seem odd that BOTH mares are having issues conceiving.
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