Bovis ISSN 2398-2993

Semen: sample examination

Contributor(s): Jonathan Statham , Stuart Revell

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Introduction

  • Microscopic evaluation of a sample of semen requires access to a good quality microscope, preferably with x10 x40 and x100 phase contrast objectives.
  • A reasonable alternative to phase contrast is to rack down the condenser and reduce the light intensity (using the condenser iris if present) - this is satisfactory for assessment of sperm motility, but not sperm morphology.
  • It is critical that everything the semen comes into contact with is clean and warm (approximately 37'C). Collection tubes, pipettes, microscope slides and coverslips can be kept warm by placing them in a tray above a hot water bottle within a styrofoam coolbox.
  • A portable slide warmer or a built-in microscope warming stage greatly facilitates accurate assessment of sperm motility in the field.
  • Several ejaculates can be collected at least 5 to 10 minutes apart to ensure a representative sample is analyzed.
  • Equipment:
    • Microscope and light source.
    • Heated stage.
    • Heated cabinet.
    • Stains - nigrosin - eosin.
    • Phosphate buffered saline and 0.9% saline for semen dilution.
    • Pipettes, sliders, cover slips, test tubes and rack.
    • Slide labels/pen.
    • Immersion oil.
    • Paper wipes/swabs.

Gross motility

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Morphology

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Semenrate

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Summary

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Statham J M E (2010) Differential diagnosis of scrotal enlargement in bulls. In Practice 32, 2-9 VetMedResource.
  • Penny C (2009) The development of a UK bull breeding soundness evaluation certificate. Cattle Practice 17, 64-70 VetMedResource.
  • Eppink E (2006) A survey of bull breeding soundness evaluations in the south east of Scotland. Cattle Practice 13, 205-209 VetMedResource.
  • Penny C (2005) Practical semen collection and examination techniques for breeding soundness evaluation of bulls. Cattle Practice 13, 199-204 VetMedResource.
  • McGowan M (2004) Approach to conducting bull breeding soundness evaluations. In Practice 26, 485-491.

Other sources of information

  • Chenoweth P (2015) Bull Health and Breeding Soundness. In: Bovine Medicine. 3rd edn. Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Oxford. pp 246-261.
  • Logue D N & Crawshaw W M (2004) Bull infertility. In: Bovine Medicine – Diseases and Husbandry of Cattle. 2nd edn. Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Oxford. pp 594-626.
  • Entwistle K & Fordyce G (2003) Evaluating and reporting bull fertility. Australian Association of Cattle Veterinarians. Brisbane, Australia.


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