SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Contents

The objective was to assess the effect of a short-term scrotal hyperthermia in dogs on quantitative and qualitative ejaculate parameters, testicular blood flow and testicular and epididymal histology. After a control period, the scrotum of seven normospermic adult beagle dogs was insulated with a self-made suspensory for 48 h. Nine weeks later, two animals were castrated, while in five animals, scrotal hyperthermia was repeated. Dogs were castrated either 10 or 40 days thereafter. In each phase of scrotal insulation, average scrotal surface temperature increased by 3.0°C. Semen was collected twice weekly throughout the experiment. Total sperm count did not change after the first hyperthermia, but it slightly decreased after the second (p < 0.05). Profiles of sperm morphology and velocity parameters (CASA) rather indicated subtle physiological variations in sperm quality than effects of a local heat stress. Chromatin stability of ejaculated spermatozoa as indicated by SCSA remained constant throughout the experiment. Perfusion characteristics of the gonads, that is, systolic peak velocity, pulsatility and resistance index at the marginal location of the testicular artery, did not change due to hyperthermia (p > 0.05). Histological examination of excised testes and epididymides for apoptotic (TUNEL and activated caspase-3) and proliferating cells (Ki-67 antigen) indicated only marginal effects of scrotal insulation on tissue morphology. In conclusion, a mild short-term scrotal hyperthermia in dogs does not cause substantial changes in sperm quantity and quality. In contrast to other species, canine testes and epididymides may have a higher competence to compensate such thermal stress.