•Requirements for Incoming Stallions
•Freezing Charges
ROANOKE A. I. LABORATORIES, INC.
8535 Martin Creek Road
Roanoke, VA. 24018-5875
(540) 774-0676
rai@cox.net

Stallion Semen Freezing

Thank you for visiting our web site. We have been successfully freezing stallion semen at our laboratory since 1984 and have frozen the semen from nearly 300 stallions. Our goal is to provide top quality frozen stallion semen, semen storage, and semen shipping .... at a reasonable cost to both the stallion and mare owner. At our lab, the same person has been preparing the extenders and processing the semen since 1984. This experience, combined with current research, review of current scientific literature, and our extensively equipped laboratory is the key to our excellent success rate and reputation.

Fertility & Number of Straws
In order to economically freeze a stallion's spermatozoa, he should be able to produce a minimum of 4 billion sperm cells with no less than 60% progressive motility in each ejaculate. Semen is collected every two to four days; and depending on the stallion's sperm production an average of 5 to 15 straws can be frozen per collection. Some stallions with large testes can produce 15 to 30 straws per collection. One straw is one insemination dose and contains a minimum of 300 million progressively motile sperm cells post thaw. Stallions will produce the greatest numbers of sperm and therefore the largest number of straws per collection during late spring and early summer, however most stallion semen is frozen during the fall and winter after the show and breeding season. An average stallion will require approximately three weeks to produce a bank of 50 to 75 straws in winter. We recommend supplying 2-3 straws of frozen semen per heat cycle per mare; and for booking purposes, sufficient semen should be on hand to cover a minimum of two cycles per mare. Depending on your stallion's fertility, the cost per straw frozen should range from $30.00 to $55.00, including board. Semen from approximately 20% of stallions will not freeze. Stallions under three years of age generally do not produce high enough numbers of sperm to make freezing economical.

Semen Processing and the Laboratory
There are several steps involved in freezing stallion semen. Below is a tour through the processing laboratory....

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Computers at Roanoke A.I. Labs are used:
to run semen freezing programs,
to manage frozen semen inventory,
to maintain shipping records and databases,
and for research



Step 1.   Collection and evaluation of semen for volume, sperm cell concentration, motility, and morphology

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Incubator is used to maintain glassware and extenders at 37°C for semen evaluation and processing


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Instrumentation for semen evaluation:
phase contrast microscope equipped with a digital camera and S-VHS recorder for motility and morphology evaluation
Incu-Blok warmer for slides, evaluation media, and incubation of semen samples
B&L split beam spectrophotometer to measure sperm cell concentration


Step 2.   Centrifugation to separate the sperm cells from the seminal plasma

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IEC microprocessor controlled centrifuge with 12x 50 ml angle head provides precise control during centrifugation



Step 3.   Resuspension of the cells in an extender which protects them during freezing and thawing

Step 4.   Packaging in ½ ml straws which have been printed with indelible ink for permanent identification

Step 5.   Freezing at a controlled rate in a microprocessor controlled liquid nitrogen cell freezer

Step 6.   Post thaw evaluation to determine the percentage of cells which survived freezing and thawing, and the number of live cells in each straw. This information is recorded on a computer spreadsheet, a copy of which is given to the stallion owner when the stallion leaves. The semen straws are stored at -320°F in liquid nitrogen where their fertility should be preserved indefinitely.

Extenders
Vapor pressure osmometer and pH meter  640x480 63KExtender preparation and semen processing are performed in a laboratory equipped with the latest in instrumentation which provides extremely close quality control and consistency from freeze to freeze. Extenders for freezing semen are prepared from time tested proven formulas, developed at our facility, using only the highest quality cell culture tested biochemicals and 18.3 megohm injectable grade water. After adjustment of the pH and osmolarity, the extender is sterilized by 0.22mµ filtration to remove any bacteria.

Packaging extenders under laminar flow hood 640x480 71KMathematical computations required for freezing are calculated by a custom computer program which permits us to place a full insemination dose into a single ½ ml straw. This technology not only simplifies storage and inventory management but also provides convenience for the veterinarian since only one straw of semen is thawed per insemination. Once thawed, the semen goes directly into the mare using a sterile, disposable, inseminating gun. All inventory and shipping records are kept on computer with backup. A report of all shipments made during the breeding season is available to the stallion owner to simplify stallion report preparation.


Stables & Breeding Shed
Barn and Breeding Shed  640x480 63KOur 3600 sq ft stable and 2300 sq ft breeding shed are within 75 feet of our residence. The stable and breeding shed are connected by a covered, enclosed walkway to protect stallions from adverse weather conditions and to provide a safer handling environment. The stable has six 14 x 14 stalls which are constructed of oak; two have tail boards for Saddlebreds. Stalls have 10 foot service areas between them to reduce contact and displays of aggressive behavior between stallions. A tall 6 board turnout paddock is used for exercise. Stallions are collected with an artificial vagina on a phantom mare, or while standing on the ground on all fours. Stallion safety and comfort are of paramount importance at our facility.


Shipping
Semen frozen and stored at our lab is shipped by Federal Express Priority One Delivery to the mare owner or their veterinarian when authorization is received. We do not store or ship semen frozen at other facilities due to differences in packaging and freezing/thawing techniques. The mare owner is responsible for shipping and tank rental charges. Visa and Mastercard are accepted. Any expendables (inseminating guns, straw cutter, or thermometer for thawing) needed by the mare owner's veterinarian are shipped with the semen and also billed to the mare owner.

Exporting frozen semen
Import permits and health papers are no longer required for stallion semen shipments (frozen or chilled) exported from the USA into Canada or exported from Canada into the USA. 

Requirements for incoming stallions -

To place your stallion on our waiting list for stall availability we must receive the following:
  1. Name, address, and phone number of the stallion owner and manager
  2. A copy of the stallion's registration papers
  3. A check for $125.00 for straw printing.

Arriving stallions must be accompanied with the following paper work:

  1. A veterinary health certificate no older than 5 days declaring the horse and his stable free of contagious disease
  2. A negative serological test for Equine Infectious Anemia (Coggin's), no older than 6 months.
  3. A negative serological test for Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA), no older than 45 days. We will contact you at the proper time to have the blood sample taken for this test.
  4. A signed release from the stallion owner(s) or their authorized agent.
  5. Feeding instructions including the amount and type of grain and hay currently being fed.

Please do not administer any live vaccines to the stallion within 10 days of arrival at the lab (viruses can be transmitted in the semen and some vaccinations can cause a fever high enough to lower semen quality for up to 60 days). Some stallions tend to accumulate sperm cells if they are not on a regular collection/breeding schedule. These cells die and degenerate in the stallion's reproductive tract and reduce the overall quality of the ejaculate. Collections containing these older, deteriorating cells cannot be frozen and are referred to as "cleanouts". To reduce the number of cleanouts your stallion may require and make sure he is producing his highest quality semen, we recommend collecting and evaluating your stallion's semen once or twice daily for 3 to 5 days starting 14 days before his arrival at the lab and recording the evaluation results. If you are unable to make these collections, we can make them after he arrives; however, this may delay freezing from a few days up to 2 weeks. Arriving stallions should be barefoot if possible. If this is not possible, shoes should be simple or light pads with no protrusions, calks, or trailers which can damage the phantom cover. Sheets or blankets must be washable, fit properly, and be in good repair. Stallions requiring treatments, leg wraps, etc., must wait until condition is clear. Please consult with the stallion manager.

Semen Freezing Charges
Straw printing, per 250 $125.00
Semen collection and evaluation for cleanouts or discards $50.00
Semen collection, evaluation, freezing, post thaw evaluation,
including the first (5) insemination doses
$250.00
Additional charge per insemination dose over 5  up to 15 doses

MAXIMUM FREEZING CHARGE PER COLLECTION AND FREEZE
 
Examples: Total Collection and Freezing Charges
# Doses Total Charge
1 - 5 $250.00
6 $260.00
8 $280.00
10 $300.00
15+ $350.00
 
$10.00

$350.00
Semen storage per month, entire bank on each stallion $20.00
Stallion board, per day
$22.00
Minimum board charge per visit $225.00



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