Puppychase Kennels has developed a very successful shipped semen program over the past few years. We have taken great care to learn the intricacies of semen collection, extension, packaging and shipping.
There is a bit of legwork that must be performed before you can begin shipping your studs’ semen to paying customers. Of course, you will need all the required equipment, but in addition you will need to test each stud’s semen for its ability to withstand cooling and shipping.
Semen Collection Equipment
Collection equipment for canine sperm is relatively simple and can be purchased in prepackaged kits. Typically kits will include a collection cone, one 15cc centrifuge tube, one docking ring (for attaching the end-cone to the centrifuge tube) and one pair of gloves.
Canine semen will not survive cooling and transport if it is not first extended with a nutrient rich media. The most common extender is a skim milk and glucose recipe, which has been used very successfully in both horses and dogs for over 25 years. The Kenney Extender may be mixed, separated into individual 10ml doses, and frozen until ready for use.
It is critical that the semen is evaluated for both motility and concentration each time before it is shipped to your client. Sending poor quality sperm not only wastes your customer’s time and money, but also will reflect negatively on your transported semen program. If you are planning on shipping a lot of semen, the purchase of a microscope may be a wise investment in the long run. For smaller operations, a small portable microscope called the Handycope® is an affordable alternative for making a quick assessment of semen quality.
Performing a Test “Shipment”
For each stud you plan on breeding by transported semen, it is highly recommended that a simulated test shipment be performed. The semen must be collected, extended and packaged just as you would for an actual shipment. The shipping container should then be kept at room temperature for 2 days. At both 24 hours and 48 hours post collection, an aliquot should be removed and the motility checked and compared against the initial motility. (Important Note: It is critical that the semen aliquot being evaluated is warmed to body temperature before analysis for proper motility estimation.)
You may also want to consider taking advantage of the semen evaluation service offered by Hamilton Research. Using a high end computer-assisted semen analyzer, Hamilton Research will provide a detailed motility analysis report, including a live video image, on semen shipped to them in a Rover or Equitainer. The analysis is performed at both 24 hours and 48 hours post collection.