Retrospective Analysis of Canine Semen Evaluations with Special Emphasis on the use of the Hypoosmotic Swelling (HOS) Test and Acrosomal Evaluation Using Spermac®


Author’s address (for correspondence): S Goericke-Pesch, Klinik für Geburtshilfe, Gynäkologie und Andrologie der Groß- und Kleintiere mit Tierärztlicher Ambulanz, Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, Frankfurter Str. 106, 35392 Giessen, Germany. E-mail:


Routine semen evaluation includes volume, motility, vital staining for live-dead ratio and pathomorphology including Spermac® staining for evaluation of the acrosome. In recent years, depending on the species, also the hypoosmotic swelling (HOS) test has been applied routinely for evaluation of semen quality. In this respect, a significant correlation between the ability of spermatozoa to swell in HOS test and the fertilizing ability has been reported. Also for evaluation of dog semen, reference has been made to the HOS test; however, its correlation to conventional semen parameters so far is discussed controversially. In the present study, the results of 400 semen examinations from stud dogs presented at our clinic were evaluated for their correlations between conventional semen parameters (motility, live/dead ratio, pathomorphology), conventional semen parameters and age, Spermac® staining and HOS test, respectively. We found a significant correlation of age and sperm concentration (p < 0.01), total sperm count (p < 0.0001), percentage of progressively motile sperm (p < 0.01) and live spermatozoa (p = 0.012). Furthermore, several correlations between conventional semen parameters were identified. Percentage of sperm with normal acrosome identified by Spermac ® staining correlated significantly with live spermatozoa (p < 0.0001) and percentage of progressively motile sperm (p < 0.01). A significant correlation was proven between curled tails in HOS test and age (p < 0.001), motility (p < 0.0001), live sperm (p < 0.0001), acrosomal status (p < 0.05), pathomorphology (p < 0.0001) and sperm concentration (p = 0.011). These results indicate that Spermac® staining and the HOS test are useful in improving canine semen analysis.