Retained placenta (also known as retained fetal membranes) is the most common post-partum complication in mares. Typically, expulsion of the placenta occurs shortly after birth and it is considered retained if it is not expelled within 3 hours post-partum. The prevalence of retained placenta varies from 2 to 10% of foalings and can be as high as 30 -54% of uneventful births in Friesian mares. Retention of the placenta in mares should not be overlooked. Appropriate diagnosis and treatment should be quickly applied to prevent secondary, life threatening, complications.
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Splitting Doses of Frozen Semen
“I just purchased one very expensive dose of frozen semen from this incredible stallion. Is it OK to split the dose and breed two mares to try and get two foals?” or “The stallion owner only provides one dose per heat cycle and my vet would like to use a timed insemination protocol. Is it OK to split the dose and inseminate twice on the heat cycle?” At SBS we have heard these questions or some variation of them many times over the years. The answers are not simple ones. This blog article will follow up on two previous blogs that are also important in understanding the issue. See the recent blogs What Exactly is a Dose of Frozen Semen? and What is Progressive Motility?
Placentitis in the Mare - Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment
Placentitis, an inflammation of the placenta usually caused by an infectious agent, has emerged as a leading cause of reproductive loss in the equine breeding industry. This has a large economic and emotional impact when the pregnancy progresses until close to term but unfortunately ends in abortion or the birth of a small ill-thrifty foal. The placenta is composed of the amnion, which surrounds the fetus and the chorioallantois that attach to the endometrium of the mare. These structures protect the fetus and provide gas and nutrient exchange allowing the foal to grow. When placentitis occurs it usually affects the chorioallantois compromising the foal because there is a loss of attachment of the placenta to the endometrium or the presence of infection and inflammation. In this article, Dr. Karen Wolfsdorf of the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute, discusses the causes, diagnosis and treatment of placentitis in the mare.
What is Short Cycling a Mare?
It seems daily that I am asked by clients to bring a mare into heat at a desired time to facilitate breeding, show schedules, stallion availability, synchronization with other mares, maximize early season breeding dates, or line up recipient mares with donor mares. For such a common request, and in fact, a common procedure, there are certain cases when knowing the nuisances of manipulating the length of diestrus in the mare can make or break the overall success of a reproductive cycle. In this blog article Dr. David Scofield reviews the process of short cycling mares.
The Pros and Cons of Equine Frozen Semen
The advantages and disadvantages of utilizing equine frozen semen are debated by stallion and mare owners alike. Will I continue to show my stallion or retire him to the breeding shed? Is there an international market for my stallion? What if my stallion is injured in an accident or suddenly dies? Is my mare a suitable candidate for breeding with frozen semen? Is it true conception rates with frozen semen are lower than those when using cooled semen? These are just a few questions to ask when considering whether to utilize equine frozen semen.
Parturition in the Mare
In our newsletter last month, we talked about getting organized and ready for foaling out your mare (click here for this news article). Being prepared for the foaling process is of paramount importance, in order to have an enjoyable and successful outcome for the mare, foal, breeders, owners, and attendants. As you are preparing your barn for the foaling, don’t forget that the mare has a chorus of events taking place internally to prepare her body for parturition, transition to lactation, and uterine involution. Whether these events are noticeable or not, they are a necessity for the proper progression of labor and delivery. In our blog article this month Dr. Scofield reviews the stages of parturition and summarizes the hormonal events that are occurring with your mare during this incredible physiological process.
Progesterone and Estrogen Therapy (P&E)
Managing the equine estrous cycle is a common procedure performed by many broodmare managers and veterinarians. Copious research has elucidated many aspects of the equine estrous cycle and allowed veterinarians the tools to manage a mare’s cycle to provide the optimal breeding times, effectively use artificial insemination, induce ovulation, synchronize mares, induce superovulation, advance the onset of the breeding season, terminate pregnancy, as well as a manage a host of other reproductive conditions and diseases. In this article Dr. David Scofield reviews the use of progesterone and estradiol (P&E) therapy in the mare.
How to Find a Good Equine Reproduction Veterinarian
Owning an animal, be it a household pet, horses, or livestock can be wonderfully rewarding. There are times, however, when the responsibility of animal ownership requires the consultation of a veterinarian to ensure the health and well being of your animals or livestock. Most of these appointments will be for routine care, whereas other visits may require specialized services, like lameness diagnosis, surgery or reproductive management. Many horse owners use different veterinarians or vet clinics depending upon the services they require. However, those in more isolated or rural areas may be limited to a general practice veterinarian who routinely works with all species, being neither an equine or reproduction specialist. A breeder can still be equally successful in both situations, so long as they are prepared and have done their research to find the best veterinarian available to suit their needs.
Hastening the Onset of the Breeding Season
The horse is a seasonal breeder meaning that natural mating occurs during certain times of the year to ensure that the timing of birth is optimal for survival with regard to ambient temperature, food and water availability, and even changes in the predation behaviors of other species. Alternative breeding behaviors used by animals include opportunistic breeders that mate whenever the conditions of their environment become favorable and continuous breeders that mate year-round. Seasonal breeders are controlled by the length of daylight, i.e. the photoperiod, and can be divided into long day breeders, e.g. the horse, that start cycling when the days get longer (spring) and short day breeders, e.g. deer, that start cycling when the days get shorter (fall). The length of photoperiod can be manipulated in order to hasten the onset of the breeding season. This is a popular management technique used in Thoroughbred breeding, so foals can be born as close to the standardized January 1st birth date as possible. It is also common with show or halter horses, with the goal being to maximize maturity for age determined competition.
My Mare is Not Pregnant - What Now?
If you bred your mare last year and were unable to get her in foal, you are not alone. According to The Jockey Club, 44,184 mares were bred in North America in 2010 of these only 23,558 live foals were registered in 2011. A stallion with good semen quality, a mare with a healthy reproductive tract and properly timed inseminations are three critical elements that must align to maximize your chance of success. If you are looking to improve your odds for the 2013 breeding season, Dr. Holly Mason from Unionville Equine Associates outlines some things you might consider doing now to prepare for the upcoming season.