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Julie Skaife

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Analysis of Frozen-Thawed Equine Semen

Posted by Julie Skaife on Thu, Apr 13, 2017 @ 09:36 AM

Once equine semen is frozen it is recommended that a post-thaw analysis be performed in order to ascertain the semen quality. There is variability in how well sperm from different stallions respond to the cellular stress of freezing and thawing. It is important to determine how well the sperm from a particular stallion withstood the stress of cryopreservation in order to make informed decisions regarding the management of their frozen semen inventory and breedings. Also, when we freeze a stallion for the first time we do a test freeze comparing several different protocols. We then use the post-thaw motility to select the freezing protocol for subsequent collections which gives the best post-thaw result. There are industry recommended minimums for commercial distribution of equine frozen semen and therefore it is pertinent to know if your stallion’s frozen semen would qualify. Consequently, the analysis of frozen-thawed semen is a valuable tool for the semen freezing lab, but also for the veterinarian receiving the semen. Your vet may base the breeding management of your mare upon the post-thaw quality of the semen. Also, many vets take a look at the motility of the frozen semen at the time of insemination, for future reference if there are concerns should the mare not check in foal.

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Tags: Frozen Semen, SBS Semen, Breeding With Frozen Semen

The Test Freeze - The First Freeze Performed on a Stallion's Semen

Posted by Julie Skaife on Tue, Sep 01, 2015 @ 02:15 PM

The test freeze is the first freeze performed on a stallion when he comes to a Select Breeders Services (SBS) Affiliate Lab to have semen frozen. We primarily have four different semen freezing protocols that we test on each stallion. The differences between each protocol being in either the extender formulation or the rate of cooling. For subsequent freezes we choose the protocol which gives the best results as determined by post-thaw motility. Regardless of the protocol, once the straws of semen reach -120 degrees Celsius in the programmable cell freezer they are then plunged into a bath of liquid nitrogen at -196 degrees Celsius.

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My Stallion is Not Settling His Mares...What Do I Do? - Part 2

Posted by Julie Skaife on Tue, Jun 30, 2015 @ 07:30 PM

How a stallion owner/manager responds to and handles mare owner concerns regarding semen quality or fertility can make or break a relationship or reputation. This article aims to give stallion owners an overview of the factors involved and provide a systematic guide to troubleshooting a resolution if possible. In Part 1 of this article, published in last month’s newsletter, we discussed the stallion’s breeding history, the importance of a breeding soundness exam (BSE), and stallion management practices as well as semen quality and evaluation. This month in Part 2, we will review common problems identified after the semen evaluation, the relevance of the mare book and their reproductive status and discuss the topic as it relates to those stallions breeding with frozen semen.

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Tags: Stallion Management, Breeding With Frozen Semen

My Stallion is Not Settling His Mares...What Do I Do? - Part 1

Posted by Julie Skaife on Wed, Jun 03, 2015 @ 12:29 PM

It is around this time of year that we receive calls for advice from anxious stallion owners concerned about a lower than anticipated conception rate for their stallion, in the hopes of finding some resolution and correcting any potential issues before the end of the breeding season. Time is running out to fulfill those breeding contracts and get those mares pregnant. There are so many variables that contribute to successful conception and pregnancy, from both the mare and the stallion side of things. From the stallion owners perspective they are looking to address the stallion’s semen quality, breeding management and reproductive status. But where to start? This article will give stallion owners an overview and provide a systematic guide to troubleshooting a resolution if possible. How a stallion owner/manager responds to and handles mare owner concerns regarding semen quality or fertility can make or break a relationship or reputation.

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Tags: Stallion Management

Effect of Number and Timing of Equine Frozen Semen Inseminations on Fertility

Posted by Julie Skaife on Wed, Dec 03, 2014 @ 01:01 PM

Further expansion in the use of frozen semen is dependent upon developing simplified strategies for insemination. SBS has developed a timed insemination protocol where mares are only examined once per day during estrus and inseminated at 24 and 40 hr after hCG or 30 and 40 hr after GnRH. This approach allows frozen semen mares to be managed similar to those bred with cooled shipped semen. A couple of arguments against this approach with frozen semen is that it takes too much semen when mares are bred twice in one cycle and that if the mare is inseminated more than once per cycle the fertility will be lowered because of post-breeding induced endometritis.

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Tags: Frozen Semen, SBS Semen, Mare Management, Breeding With Frozen Semen

Quality Control is at the Core of the SBS Difference

Posted by Julie Skaife on Tue, Nov 04, 2014 @ 07:59 PM

The SBS network of affiliates is the acknowledged leader in the field of cryopreservation of equine semen. Each year we freeze thousands of ejaculates equating to tens of thousands of doses. In fact, this year the SBS Network will surpass the 50,000 ejaculate milestone since the company’s founding in 1987. When SBS was founded the company leadership made a commitment to quality of the finished product above all else. We wanted to put technology to use to help grow the equine frozen semen AI industry in the most responsible manner possible. It was clear early on that one of the major factors limiting the application of frozen semen in the horse industry was inconsistent quality of the product being put on the market. Breeders and veterinarians experienced frustration with attempts to use expensive semen that in many cases was of very poor quality. We knew that in order for breeders to realize the full potential of frozen semen technology they would have to be convinced that by applying strict standards for quality, frozen semen could be produced to achieve results similar to cooled semen. We also knew that these results would have to be produced in an efficient and economical way. Quality became the cornerstone upon which we would build our business.

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Tags: Frozen Semen, Stallion Management, SBS Semen

Test Breeding Mares as an Aid to Marketing Equine Frozen Semen

Posted by Julie Skaife on Wed, Oct 08, 2014 @ 01:18 PM

Stallion owners and managers can encounter reluctance from mare owners to use frozen semen. This may be due, in part, to commonly spread misinformation regarding the fertility of frozen semen and the misconception that frozen semen is difficult to use. This hesitancy seems especially true if the frozen semen of a particular stallion has yet to be used in order to establish evidence of fertility. If one can offer specific credible evidence of the fertility of frozen semen from a given stallion it can go a long way towards promoting the process and breedings to your stallion. For more information please read “Frozen Semen Myths and Misconceptions” as well as our blog article regarding “The Pros and Cons of Equine Frozen Semen”.  In this article, Dr. Brian Carroll of Oklahoma City Equine Hospital, discusses why a frozen semen fertility trial should be performed, how to go about performing the fertility trial and provides an example of a frozen semen fertility trial he performed.

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Tags: Frozen Semen, Stallion Management, Breeding With Frozen Semen

Why Freeze Stallion Semen?

Posted by Julie Skaife on Wed, Aug 06, 2014 @ 01:17 PM

All too often we hear tragic stories about the sudden death of a stallion whether it be due to an illness or an accident no one anticipated. He may have been a mature stallion who was already proving himself as a sire or a young stallion but now the world will never know his genetic capabilities. These conversations usually end with the stallion owner saying, “I wish I had frozen semen from him.” Or a mare owner saying, “I wish they had frozen semen on him because he would have been a wonderful cross with my mare.” It doesn’t have to be this way.

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Tags: Frozen Semen, Stallion Management, Breeding With Frozen Semen

Sperm Accumulation in the Stallion

Posted by Julie Skaife on Wed, Jul 09, 2014 @ 02:00 PM

Have you ever wondered what happens to all those sperm the stallion produces every day (5 billion or more)? If he is not bred or collected then where do the sperm go? We know that sperm are produced in the testicle and move from the testicle into the efferent ducts and then into the head of the epididymis. It takes about 7-10 days for sperm to travel from the head of the epididymis to the cauda epididymis (tail; figure middle right). This time frame is not altered by how often the stallion ejaculates. The old wives tale that you can get immature sperm if the stallion is bred too often is just not true. In this article, Dr. Ed Squires and Dr. Pat McCue review the causes, diagnosis and treatment for stallions which accumulate sperm.

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Tags: Stallion Management

Retained Placenta in the Mare

Posted by Julie Skaife on Wed, Jun 04, 2014 @ 08:54 PM

Retained placenta (also known as retained fetal membranes) is the most common post-partum complication in mares. Typically, expulsion of the placenta occurs shortly after birth and it is considered retained if it is not expelled within 3 hours post-partum. The prevalence of retained placenta varies from 2 to 10% of foalings and can be as high as 30 -54% of uneventful births in Friesian mares. Retention of the placenta in mares should not be overlooked. Appropriate diagnosis and treatment should be quickly applied to prevent secondary, life threatening, complications.

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Tags: Mare Management