With the popularity of sport horse breeding ever increasing in the UK, artificial insemination has become a common place technique. The demand for horses to be bred from and carry on with their competitive careers has advanced veterinary science in this direction with frozen semen A.I. and embryo transfer.
A.I. allows a wider stallion choice to the mare’s owner without the need to travel the mare long distances. Frozen semen gives worldwide access to stallions which are both in competition and even those that are deceased.
There are 2 methods of A.I. that we can perform here at the Nantwich Equine Centre:
Traditionally it was thought that higher conception rates were achieved with fresh and chilled A.I. when compared to frozen. However with advances in science and technique frozen A.I. frequently gives conception rates comparable to the other two methods.
The timing of insemination relative to ovulation is critical to the success of A.I. especially in the case of frozen semen, which must be inseminated within 6 hours of ovulation. It is therefore essential that the mare’s ovaries are closely monitored by regular ultrasound scanning.
Stage One - Pre-Breeding Consultation and Examination
This allows us to discuss your requirements and assess the suitability of your mare for A.I. It is important that your mare is well and in good bodily condition. They must be vaccinated against influenza and tetanus as well as wormed up to date.
Ultrasound examination of the uterus and ovaries helps determine the stage of oestrus cycle and identify any problems or conditions that might hinder conception and require treatment before insemination.
Stage Two - Scanning and Insemination
Once your mare is in season, she will be admitted to the centre where she will remain with us for the duration of her oestrus period. She will be scanned every day or every other day to monitor the ovaries closely as she is approaching ovulation. In the case of frozen semen insemination the scans could be increased up to every 6 hours preceding ovulation. Insemination is performed either shortly before or after ovulation depending on semen type.
Stage Three - Post-Insemination Check
Mares are scanned approx. 4-12 hours post insemination to monitor the uterus for evidence of excessive inflammation and fluid production. If necessary uterine lavage, antibiotics and oxytocin are administered at this stage, to minimise this common complication.
Most mares are discharged 24-36 hours after insemination.
Stage Four – Pregnancy Diagnosis.
We would ask you to present your mare for scanning again at 14-16 days post ovulation. If confirmed in foal we would advise follow up scans at 25 and 45 days to ensure pregnancy has been maintained.
We would generally advise in addition to your mares normal vaccinations against influenza and tetanus that you protect her against equine herpes virus which can cause abortion in mares. This vaccination is administered at 5, 7 and 9 months of pregnancy.
Please see our A.I. Packages 2016 page for details on admission and prices