Thermoregulation of the testicle in response to exercise and subsequent effects on semen characteristics of stallions. Academic Article uri icon


  • Stallions (n = 8) were implanted with a thermal sensory device in the muscle of the neck and the subcutaneous tissue of the scrotum and then assigned to either a nonexercise (Non-EX; n = 4) or exercise (EX; n = 4) group. A motorized equine exerciser was used to work EX stallions 30 min/d for 4 d/wk during a 12-wk period from July through October 2010. Temperatures (subcutaneous scrotal, intramuscular neck, and rectal) were recorded at 0, 22, and 30 min after the start of exercise, as well as 60 and 120 min post-exercise. Hourly ambient temperature and relative humidity data were also obtained. Semen was collected at 0, 4, 8, and 12 wk and analyzed for volume, sperm concentration, total sperm numbers, percentages of total and progressively motile sperm, sperm morphologic characteristics, and sperm DNA quality. No effect (P > 0.05) of exercise was observed on any of the measured semen variables. Implantation of thermal sensory devices had no demonstrable acute or chronic effects on the scrotal or neck tissue, indicating that the thermal sensory devices are a safe and effective way to measure subcutaneous scrotal and neck temperatures. At 22 and 30 min of exercise, rectal and neck temperatures increased (P < 0.0001) approximately 1.9 and 2.4C, respectively, and scrotal temperatures simultaneously increased, although not significantly (P = 0.33), approximately 0.8C. Correlations existed between scrotal, neck, rectal, and ambient temperatures, with the correlation between scrotal and rectal temperatures being greatest (r(s) = 0.76; P < 0.0001). Although moderate exercise for a short duration in extreme heat and humidity did significantly increase core body temperatures in stallions, scrotal temperatures did not significantly increase, and sperm parameters were unaffected.

published proceedings

  • J Anim Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Mawyer, J. D., Cavinder, C. A., Vogelsang, M. M., Sigler, D. H., Love, C. C., Brinsko, S. P., ... Gordon, R. K.

citation count

  • 14

complete list of authors

  • Mawyer, JD||Cavinder, CA||Vogelsang, MM||Sigler, DH||Love, CC||Brinsko, SP||Blanchard, TL||Varner, DD||Arnold, CE||Teague, S||Gordon, RK

publication date

  • August 2012