UDC 636.1:636.082:591.16:573.6.086.83

doi: 10.15389/agrobiology.2015.4.476eng


L.F. Lebedeva, M.M. Atroshchenko, S.A. Burmistrova

All-Russian Research Institute for Horse Breeding, Divovo, Rybnoe Region, Ryazan Province, 391105 Russia,
e-mail vniik08@mail.ru, Lebedeva-L18@yandex.ru

Received May 19, 2015

Artificial insemination (AI) has the following advantages over natural mating: fast selection effect, easy transportation, wide dissemination of valuable genetic material, economic use of semen and rational use of sires, preventing sexually transmitted infections, reserving sperm in cryobanks. Among the factors influencing the result of AI in horse breeding are time, frequency rate and insemination repetition, quality and quantity of semen, the depth of insertion of semen into the uterus of a mare, the observance of temperature mode and sanitary regulations during AI procedure, the reproductive performance of mares. There are two main approaches to freezing of stallion sperm and thus two AI technologies for semen packaging and equipment for its introduction into the uterus of mares. The first approach worked out and used in Russia is based on a sparing mode of semen cryopreservation in large volumes, 20-25 ml per dose. The second method, developed abroad, provides pre-treatment of sperm by centrifugation and maximum removal of semen plasma. In another procedure currently used in Russia the small volumes (5-6 ml) of semen are cryopreserved after centrifugation, removal of 50-60 % of semen plasma and thickening semen by dialysis. In recent years frozen semen of stallions from Europe and America is being actively imported to Russia. Despite the technological differences, domestic and foreign approaches to the cryopreservation of stallion’s semen provide its similar qualitative characteristics after thawing. The aim of our research was to identify the most significant factors affecting pregnancy rates in artificially inseminated mares when domestic and foreign protocols were used to freeze sperm. Herein, an impact of five such factors (i.e. sperm packing/cryopreservation technology, time of insemination, reproductive state and gynecological soundness of the mares, the activity of sperm) on the effectiveness of AI with frozen semen was estimated in mares of various breeds (Arabian, Akhal-Teke, Trakehner, Hanoverian, Russian Riding horse, American Standardbred, Russian Trotter and Orlov Trotter). Experiments were carried out in 2012 to 2014 at Tersk stud, at a private farm (Mr. A.A. Kazakov the owner) and at experimental stable of the All-Russian Research Institute for Horse Breeding. We compared the data on 106 estrus cycles of 53 mares, artificially inseminated with domestic (granules and tubes of 5 ml and 15-25 ml) and foreign frozen semen (0.5 ml in straws). All used sperm doses in various packages were divided into two groups with the activity above and below 1.5 points (15 %). The time recommended for AI with frozen semen was divided into three intervals (12 h before ovulation, during ovulation, 6 h after ovulation). The animals were conventionally grouped as barren and maiden mares, lactating mares, mares after late (6 or more months of pregnancy) abortion, and also with regard to absence or presence of gynecological pathologies such as vaginal discharge, fluid and air in the uterus, mating-induced endometritis. The effectiveness of artificial insemination was evaluated with regard to pregnancy rate, occurred abortions number and successful foaling. So, two of five factors analyzed were found out to determine reliably a successful AI with frozen semen at high significance level (p < 0.001). They were the sperm activity of ≥ 15 % and healthy mares with no pathology observed. Cryopreservation technology, the type of sperm doses’ packaging and also the mare’s reproductive status (i.e. barren, maiden, lactating or after late abortion) are of secondary importance. It is shown that mares’ artificial insemination with one dose of semen during the 6-hour period after ovulation provides the same pregnancy rate (67.7 %) as insemination during the 12-hour period before ovulation (65.0 %) or insemination at the time when the ovum is released from a follicle.

Keywords: mare, sperm, cryopreservation, artificial insemination.


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