Genetic Salvage

Genetic Salvage - Mares (Post-mortem oocyte recovery)

The untimely death of a mare can be devastating. Here at B&W Stud & Reproduction Services, we offer gamete rescue - a way to preserve the genetics of a mare and produce embryos even after her death. Oocytes (eggs) can be harvested immediately after death or euthanasia, and sent to a lab for ICSI (a form of IVF). The technique can also be used in ovaries immediately after their surgical removal (ovariectomy) from a live mare.
The process involves transport of the ovaries to the B&W Willesley site for oocyte recovery. Each follicle is flushed and scraped multiple times to recover the oocyte. The oocytes are processed and then sent to an ICSI lab for fertilisation, and embryos that develop can be frozen indefinitely for transfer into recipient mares.

Factors affecting success

The number of follicles present in the ovary to be scraped, along with the reason for death of the mare and handling of the ovaries and oocytes, are the most important factors affecting the success of the procedure.
Overall we expect one normal pregnancy to be achieved for every 20 oocytes harvested, if the conditions are optimal. This chance will be reduced if the ovaries have been poorly packaged or are delayed in transport. The stallion used for the ICSI can also affect success rates.

Emergency Euthanasia

The situation is ideal if we have some degree of warning i.e. a sick or injured mare that will likely need euthanasia in the next week or so. Emergency situations necessitating immediate euthanasia can also be candidates for the procedure, but certain logistical issues mean that in some cases the process will not be possible. In either situation please do contact the Stud Department at B&W Willesley to discuss on 01666 880501.

Genetic Salvage - Stallions (Epididymal sperm harvest)

The sudden death of a stallion can be devastating, not only emotionally but also financially. Castration and harvesting the sperm from the epididymis immediately after death or euthanasia in some cases can enable doses of semen to be frozen and stored after death.

Alternatively, epididymal sperm harvest can be performed as an elective procedure at the time of castration of a healthy animal. Obtaining semen this way removes the need for the stallion to undergo extensive training for collection or be exposed to the breeding environment. In the case of healthy horses in competition, there is no interference with a training schedule.

Expected results

Number of doses
The amount of semen recovered from the epididymis is highly variable and is affected by both stallion and castration factors. From a sexually mature, healthy stallion, 10-50+ doses can be expected.

Semen quality
Post-thaw semen quality can be highly variable after epididymal sperm harvest. Factors affecting the quality include the stallion’s intrinsic semen quality, general health of the stallion, reason for euthanasia/castration, method of euthanasia and testes and semen handling/transport conditions.

Copyright © 2024 B&W Equine Vets  |  All Rights Reserved
B&W Equine Vets
Equine Hospital
GL13 9HG

t: 01453 811 867