From 2009 to 2016, I had been in the business of evaluating the quality of semen from swine. Those efforts were done in large scale operations, from producing anywhere from 7000-9000 doses per week. This equates to about 40-120 boars per collection day. I no longer manage the 400+ boar stud farm, but instead manage a swine andrology lab under the same veterinarian that was the overseer of the boar stud. As you can imagine, it was extremely vital to maintain high herd health and cleanliness to produce quality doses for the sow farms. Each dose needed to be free of bacteria and other contaminants, diluted properly with the correct amount of extender and water mixed and kept at specific temperatures to reach a set concentration (target SPD = sperm per dose), graded properly by a skilled technician to meet the minimum threshold for normal morphology, discern an acceptable level of motility, packaged, properly cooled and stored at the optimal temperatures prior to transport. All this to ensure the best possible chance of conception. While other elements of collection, temperatures, storage, conditions and production scale may vary, the end goal remains the same and that is to provide a customer with a high-quality semen dose from one or several males for artificial insemination with optimal morphology and motility possible and increase the success of conception. We analyze semen samples from stud farms in several states throughout the U.S. as well as from Mexico. We have also serviced studs in Canada, Australia, and Brazil. With the experience of over a decade, I've been able to develop an eye when it comes to semen quality. I now offer my grading services to the equine industry. Please contact me directly for pricing and additional information to have your stud(s) evaluated.
It goes against my code of ethics and integrity to use semen samples in any way not aligned with my andrology services. You can feel confident knowing your samples are wholly discarded after all services have been performed. I do not disclose or publish any names, stallion submissions, or results to any other parties outside of the stallion owner and/or their representatives. Trust knowing I value your stallion's genetics as if he was one of my own..
Levels of agglutination, debris, and contamination
2. Microscopic Morphology - Just as the name implies, this service utilizes a 10% formalin wet or a Hancock stain mount of the sperm cells that is graded by a technician under a microscope with the use of a 100x oil objective.
Morphology (no acrosomes)
Morphology + Acrosomes
3. Concentration - Understand how your stallion is producing per ejaculate. Is he being over-collected? Or is he super-concentrated and can afford to be collected more often? Is he fairly consistent or vary? We can give you an idea through concentration evaluation. Sample can be undiluted or pre-diluted with an appropriate extender.
4. Bacterial Culture - Bacteria are everywhere. While some in are certainly beneficial, there are other that can cause issues when deposited into the reproductive tract of a recipient mare. Extenders contain antibiotics that will help knock out any bacteria that was able to make it into the collection. However, there are some bacteria that can remain or are resistant to the antibiotics. Here, we will attempt to culture bacteria from submitted samples. Positive growth can be sent in to a university for identification of the bacteria so we can help locate the source(s) of contamination and appropriate method to address the issue. Cleaning or collection procedures can be modified to help prevent contamination in future collections . We have helped many farms find sources of contamination. Deficiencies have included such things as a person's poor collection technique, specific water lines used to make extender, insufficient cleaning of equipment, and even bacteria from a sick employee.
5. Toxicity Testing - Many of the components used in the evaluation and processing of reproduction consumables comes in the form of disposable plastics. The consumables themselves or residual chemicals (intentionally or non-intentionally) left behind during the manufacturing process could compromise the dose. This problem can happen immediately upon exposure or over a period of time. It usually takes place well before the dose would have otherwise been deemed expired. This exposure can cause a mass die off of cells, reacted acrosomes, cause the cells to become hydro-philic/phobic (thus causing the cell head to burst or shrink), tail coiling, or other detrimental effects. And let's not forget the recipient of the dose - the mare. This chemical that has compromised the dose may (or may not) also effect her. While our test is simplistic by design, it could save you from exposing the sperm cells and the recipient mare to toxic spermicidal and potentially toxic elements.
6. Extender/Water Electroconductivity & pH - An effective extender will help prolong the life of the semen dose as well as fight off any bacterial contaminants. But it will only be effective as long as the extender has been mixed correctly and mixed with a purified water. Our easy approach takes a look at the electro-conductivity (EC) and pH of both your water and made extender.
Water: Ideally, your water should be about neutral at a pH of 7 ± 0.5 with a very low EC reading. The lower the EC, the lower the number of ions that could interact with the sperm cell membrane. If your EC readings begin to get too high, you can address the problems in your process whether it be a simple filter change or sanitizing an entire water system.
Extender:Usually has a very high EC reading, as expected, due to the dissolving of the extender into the water. We help set up an acceptable parameter so you know if it's been mixed correctly. Some extenders allow a very small window of deviation from the instructed mixing ratio. Some extenders can actually begin to compromise the semen quality if too much is added. Too little, and it may not kill off enough bacterial contaminants nor prolong the semen shelf life.