Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Semen: bacteriospermia

Contributor(s): Sarah Binns, Jean Pierre Held, Rob Lofstedt, Graham Munroe, Elaine Watson

Introduction

  • Bacteria found in semen are often contaminants; these must be differentiated from pathogens.
  • Cause: many potential agents, includingTaylorella equigenitalis,Streptococcus zooepidemicus,Klebsiella pneumoniae.
  • Signs: subclinical infection unless specific infection of reproductive tract.
  • Diagnosis: microbiologic examination of swabs and ejaculate; identification of site of infection.
  • Treatment: rest from mating, antimicrobials, specific treatments for reproductive tract infections.
  • Prognosis: fair, depending on organism and site of infection.
  • Management: use of semen extender containing antimicrobials.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

Predisposing factors

General
  • Normal commensals on penis.
  • Poor hygiene in environment.
  • Poor management, eg failure to clean sheath and penis or overzealous washing with antiseptic solutions.
  • Ascending infection from urethritis.

Specific

  • Bacterial infection elsewhere in urogenital tract.

Pathophysiology

  • Bacteriospermia may be caused by contaminating commensals or infection by potential pathogens or infections of the urogenital and reproductive tract.
  • Many bacteria in semen are commensals, which grow in penile and preputial smegma   →   normal flora discourages growth of pathogens   Penis: bacterial colonization  .
  • Bacteriospermia is rarely associated with urethritis and/or cystitis   Bladder: cystitis - bacterial  , or in extremely unusual cases, epididymitis, orchitis   Testis: orchitis - bacterial  , seminal vesiculitis, or ampullitis.
  • Bacteriospermia is rarely associated with clinical signs or lesions in the male, except that urethral lesions caused byK. pneumoniaemay lead to hemospermia   Semen: hemospermia  .
  • Most mares do not show pathology; they cope with most potentially pathogenic bacteria (non susceptible).
  • T. equigenitalis,Klebsiella pneumoniaeandPseudomonas aeruginosainfections can lead to endometritis in susceptible and non-susceptible mares.
  • Susceptible mares can become infected with bacteria shed in the sperm of covering stallions.

Timecourse

  • Often chronic or recurrent contamination.

Epidemiology

  • Bacteriospermia is usually detected when mares mated to the stallion repeatedly return to estrus with acute bacterial endometritis   Uterus: endometritis - bacterial  .
  • Semen is almost inevitably contaminated with bacteria.

Diagnosis

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Treatment

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Outcomes

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Further Reading

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