Artificial Insemination (AI)

Fellowes Farm is a British Equine Veterinary Association [BEVA]] accredited practice to provide artificial insemination (AI) with chilled and frozen semen for owners of mares wishing to have their mares inseminated. We have all the facilities in place for the correct storage, handling and insemination of equine semen.

Within the non-Thoroughbred industry the use of AI is now a very popular and routine procedure for breeding in the sports horse. Conception rates with fresh or chilled semen are comparable or can exceed those from natural service. The process involves monitoring the oestrus cycle of the mare to be bred and inseminating her close to ovulation with either fresh collected semen, fresh chilled semen or frozen semen.

Successful AI depends on a thorough understanding of the mare's oestrus cycle and breeding history. Fellowes Farm have performed many successful inseminations, from the more routine mares to more complex cases, and offer a comprehensive AI service to our clients.

Pre - Breeding Examination

Prior to breeding your mare, a full veterinary reproductive examination is performed to assess her suitability for breeding and highlight any potential problems. Swabs for contagious venereal disease will be required with blood samples for infectious disease prior to coming to Fellowes Farm for insemination.

Initial reproductive examination will allow assessment of the stage of you mare's oestrus cycle and will determine timing of admission to the clinic for insemination. Endometrial swabbing assesses the need for pre or post breeding treatment such as antibiotics. Follicle development is closely monitored along with other parameters and when the follicle has reached a certain size hormones are given to induce ovulation. Timing of induction is dependant on which semen type is chosen.

Timing of Insemination

Semen may be available either fresh, chilled or frozen and management of the mare and timing of insemination is determined by which type of semen is used. For fresh or chilled semen, conception rates are highest when insemination is within 24 hours before ovulation. Frozen semen has a short life span and the mare is inseminated immediately before or after ovulation. Mares require multiple ultrasound examinations to assess the correct time for insemination and subsequent management of mares with frozen semen is more intensive. Conception rates for mares using frozen semen are often lower and therefore ideally this should be reserved for mares without known reproductive problems. Insemination with chilled semen requires good communication and timing of ordering of semen from the stallion’s stud so that semen is delivered on time.

When the mare is ready for insemination, the mare is inseminated via a uterine catheter into the uterine body or by deep intrauterine insemination into the horn of the uterus.

Following insemination, your mare will be checked for ovulation and for post-breeding problems and treatment may be required, especially in older or problematic horses. Problematic mares, maiden mares, older mares or mares with predisposing reproductive problems can be very difficult to either conceive or maintain pregnancy. Additional techniques and treatment may be required in these cases prior to, during and following insemination which can be very time consuming and require additional expenditure.

Once your mare has gone home she will be scanned at 16 days following ovulation and if pregnant, we suggest further scans be performed at 28 and 45 days to make sure the pregnancy is developing normally.