Control Methods and Evaluation of Bacterial Growth on Fresh and Cooled Stallion Semen

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The penis and prepuce of the stallion have a high bacterial load on its surface, forming a natural microbial flora that contaminates the semen during ejaculation. Bacterial growth in semen may cause a decline on sperm quality, viability, and fertility and predisposes the occurrence of endometritis in inseminated mares. Thus, the aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of penile wash before semen collection, the addition of different commercial skim milk–based extenders containing antibiotics (BotuSemen and INRA96), and the removal of seminal plasma by filtration on the quality, viability, and bacterial proliferation on fresh and cooled stallion semen. Animals that were never submitted to penile wash before semen collection tended to have lower bacterial contamination in the ejaculate. Semen samples extended in BotuSemen showed superiority in total motility, progressive motility, average path velocity, and rapid sperm and lower bacterial contamination in relation to semen samples extended in INRA96 after 24 hours of cooling. No difference was found in these parameters between the storage temperatures (5°C and 15°C). Furthermore, the removal of seminal plasma by filtration reduced the bacterial load in semen after cooling. In conclusion, the penile wash before semen collection tended to reduce the bacterial growth in fresh semen. The use of a semen extender with appropriate antibiotics and removal of seminal plasma by filtration were effective in reducing the bacterial contamination and preserved the quality of cooled stallion semen.

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