Equine Artificial Insemination
Dr Greg Rodda has had a special interest in Equine Reproduction especially chilled and frozen insemination for over 25 years and more recently ET or Embryo Transfer. He regularly attends all the reproduction conferences held in Australia but has also attended International conferences as well. He keeps in touch with top reproduction vets in the UK, USA and India to ensure he is up to date with the latest developments in Equine Reproduction and Insemination techniques. He often provides advice to other veterinarians in this area.
During the breeding season he is on duty 24hrs a day 7 days a week for the AI mares to try and achieve those all important positive pregnancies. He can often be seen scanning mares on his supposedly day off as well as public holidays etc! Owners can be reassured that their mares and foals are provided with the very best of care with on site supervision. At every scan there is always an additional attendant for a dry mare and two additional attendants for a mare with a foal. This is to ensure mare and foal safety at all times. Our practice currently has three other veterinarians to take over some of the more routine work during the breeding season to ensure Greg is able to scan mares and inseminate at the best possible time.
Currently international success rates for frozen semen insemination are still only 45% per cycle and close to 85% for chilled. Since 2009/10 season we have been achieving 80%+ for frozen semen and 95% for chilled.
At our AI facilities we provide stabling and large shady yards with shelter sheds for mares and foals with on site supervision and a very safe crush and treatment area. We place mares whereever they settle best but tend to use our large out door yards especially if there is a foal at foot. We also provide frozen semen storage. As a courtesy service if frozen semen arrives and is used that season we do not charge for storage. However if semen is left over or not used in a breeding season storage fees are charged. These fees are to cover the costs of the tanks, the weekly inspections and maintenance of the tanks - topping up wiht the liquid nitrogen etc, the insurance – which is quite hefty but very important and the log book compliance we are required to keep by the insurance company. After all it is absolutely critical that frozen semen is stored correctly!
If you decide to proceed with the breeding of your mare please contact us as soon as possible to give us an indication of our work load as we organize our days during the stud season around the needs of our AI mares to ensure all scans and treatments are done at the optimal time to further increase the chance of pregnancy.
Artificial Insemination in Mares
Advantages of Breeding Using Chilled or Frozen Semen:
- 1) Eliminating the cost and stress of mare (and perhaps foal) transport
- 2) Maximizing the efficiency of stallion usage as more mares can be bred from one ejaculate
- 3) Increasing the availability of stallions
- 4) Preventing mares and fools returning home in poor condition due to travel stress and reducing the likelihood of injury or acquired disease
- 5) The stallions semen is evaluated on a frequent basis thereby identifying any problems with quality very quickly
- 6) Using extenders with proper antibiotics to preserve the longevity of sperm and minimize bacterial infection
- 7) Enhancing the safety of animals and animal handlers
- 8) Reducing the risk of sexually transmittable and other diseases spreading through a breeding population on a stud farm.
However there are many factors that need to be considered to ensure the best chance of success.
Choice of Mare
It is advisable to know the breeding history of the mare being considered. That is how long she is usually in season, whether she has had difficulty in conceiving, has ever aborted, conceived twins, and had foaling problems. Age is also an important factor as fertility declines over 10 years of age. Maiden mares in particular are very much an unknown quantity.
All mares should be in good health with their feet trimmed, worming, vaccinations and dental care up to date. Please note that we can organize for worming, vaccinations and dentistry to be done upon arrival.
Steps towards Achieving a Successful AI
1) Breeding Soundness ExaminationRegardless of the history, any mare being considered for breeding using AI, should have a thorough pre-breeding assessment to exam the ovaries, uterus, cervix & to detect signs of infection. This is usually done on the first scan.
2) Communication with Us and the Stallion OwnerAs timing the insemination is of the utmost importance adequate prior notice for us as well as semen collection and transport from the stallion owner is required. Please note for chilled semen we liaise with the stud once the mare is at the facility to order the semen when we have determined it is needed. We then will advise the mare owner when and how the semen is being transported. Most mare owners will arrange for the final delivery of the semen to the AI facilities but if unable to do so we are able to arrange for it to be picked up from the airport or Postal Centre etc.
3) Transport Mare to AI FacilitiesThe mare with all paper work and stallion details should be brought to the AI facilities on day 1 or 2 of her season depending upon how long her cycle usually is. Enough feed for her to last at least 5 days should also be provided. If unable to provide feed we can supply from our local fodder store. Please note that research has shown that success rates are higher for mares when on a rising levels of nutrition so please provide plenty of good quality feed and remember that mares especially if with foal at foot will need more feed than usual when confined to a yard or stable. The mare will be scanned to determine the size of any follicles which is necessary to predict the timing for insemination.
4) Detection of OvulationAs he timing of insemination is vital for success the mare will be scanned on a regular basis to determine the timing of ovulation and insemination
5) Post InseminationAfter insemination the mare is usually given drugs & treatments to maximise the chances of success. This means she can usually return home one – two days after insemination
8) Pregnancy ScanThe mare needs to return 16 days after insemination for a scan to detect pregnancy and in particular the early detection of twins. This is essential at this early stage for any chance of prolonging one pregnancy. The next scan needs to be at 29 days to ensure the pregnancy has been retained and again to detect twins. The last scan should be at 45 days.
Please note that the earlier twins are detected the more chance of successful termination of one of the twin.
The costs for each AI will vary according to the number of scans and the treatments that are needed in each individual mare. However the following costs involved will provide a guide. Please note that as we are providing services to multiple mares of the same owner that certain discounts may apply.
A chilled semen AI including handling, insemination and usual treatments tends to average between $400 - $450 (this includes drugs) plus agistment & feed if not provided.
A frozen semen AI including handling, insemination & usual treatments tends to range between $450 - $800 (this includes drugs), plus agistment & feed if not provided. Costs for frozen insemination are higher as the timing of insemination is more critical than chilled and therefore more scans are often necessary. More treatments such as flushing and increased medications are also require to increase the chance of a positive pregnancy.
Owners who know their mare’s cycle are able to keep costs to a minimum by bringing their mare to the facilities on day one or two of their cycle. If the mare’s cycle is not known or she does not show we recommend using an injection available from the Veterinary Centre to induce her cycle. This is to be given on a Thursday she would need to be brought to the facilities on Sunday afternoon or early Monday morning as if she has responded to the injection this will be the first days of her cycle.
|Stable or yard individual:||$27/night|
|Stable or yard mare with foal:||$32/night|
|Paddock:||$11 per night plus catching fees|
For long distance clients long term agistment in individual paddocks may be available by negotiation.
For more information please phone us.