Portable Technology Benefits Equine Reproduction

One of the challenging aspects of ambulatory equine veterinary medicine involves having the latest technology stall-side. This includes having the ability to evaluate stallion semen quality, particularly motility, immediately prior to inseminating a mare.

“Traditionally, semen analysis is performed in a laboratory setting. The advent of portable devices permits veterinarians to quickly measure both total motility and progressive motility of a sample,” explained Laura Petroski-Rose, B.V.M.S., a Kentucky Equine Research veterinarian.

She added, “Considering many factors, such as cooling, freezing, and use of semen extenders, can all negatively affect the overall quality of a sample, having the ability to measure motility at any point during the handling of the semen and directly before breeding would be beneficial to breeders.”

Are these portable devices reliable?

To answer this question, Austrian veterinarians compared a traditional laboratory-based system of analyzing semen motility to that measured using a commercially available portable analyzer. Samples were collected from 10 proven Warmblood stallions and were diluted to 100, 50, or 25 million spermatozoa/mL of analyzed fluid.

According to the researchers, the portable analyzer performed well compared to the traditional method using a product called a CASA system. They concluded that the portable analyzer was a “practicable, cost-effective and robust solution in cases where a full CASA system is not required, not practicable, or too expensive. Such mobile semen analysis systems may bring quality assurance in animal breeding and livestock production further down the production chain.”

“Nutrition also influences semen quality, and Kentucky Equine Research offers several nutritional supplements that could help support semen integrity,” Petroski-Rose said.

Consider offering stallions EO-3, a marine-derived oil rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including DHA and EPA, or Nano-E, which provides a highly bioavailable natural vitamin E to horses through a unique nanodispersion delivery system.

Australian horse owners should also look for Preserve, an antioxidant product that contains natural vitamin E, organic selenium, and vitamin C.

*Buss, T., J. Aurich, C. Aurich. Evaluation of a portable device for assessment of motility in stallion semen. Reproduction in Domestic Animals. In press.