Subfertility

A successful breeding program begins with the careful management of your broodmares. Mares need to be evaluated prior to each breeding season to screen for infections or any other conditions that may affect fertility. Mistakes made in the management of your mares will often lead to increased veterinary costs down the road. Broodmares should enter the breeding season healthy and in good condition. This means they should have a Body Condition Score of 5-6.5. Broodmares should have their teeth floated, their vaccinations should be current, and they should be maintained on a regular deworming schedule (or fecal testing protocol).

Sometimes mares have difficulty conceiving.  There are a variety of reasons for impaired fertility in mares.  These are simply a few of the many causes of infertility in mares:

Endometritis
Poor sperm quality
Impaired uterine clearance
Post-breeding metritis
Poor vulvular conformation
Hemorrhagic anovulatory follicles
Endocrine dysfunction
Persistent CL’s
Poor oocyte quality (older mares)
Oviductal problems
Endometrial cysts
Systemic illness
Ovarian tumors
Incompetent cervix

Screening / Pre- Breeding Exam

This exam is performed prior to breeding a mare and will include an ultrasound examination of the reproductive tract.  This is done to screen for any abnormalities on the ovaries or in the uterus and to determine the stage of the reproductive cycle the mare is in.  Potential fertility affecting conditions that would be found on an ultrasound examination can include ovarian tumors such as a Granulosa Cell Tumor or Uterine Cysts.  Both of these conditions can be treated and in doing so the fertility of the mare can be repaired.  A uterine culture and cytology will also be performed.  This test provides information as to the quality of the uterine environment and will detect uterine infections that can cause infertility.  These infections if present are identified and sensitivities are performed in our laboratory to determine the precise antibiotic required to effectively treat the infection.  Uterine lavages are performed to “wash” the uterus to reduce bacterial numbers, remove uterine debris and improve antibiotic penetration.

Breeding Management 

The period of time after insemination and often times after ovulation is what we like to call the “critical” period.  Often times owners are wanting to bring their mares home as quick as possible from the breeding facility after insemination or after ovulation is confirmed.  The period of time immediately following insemination/ovulation is the window of opportunity to improve the mares chances of pregnancy.  There are a few conditions that can happen during this time.  We can assist the mare with these difficulties and often times make the difference in getting a pregnant mare or not.  Some mares have difficulty evacuating the uterus post insemination or perhaps they mount an inflammatory process from the semen.  These mares benefit greatly from assistance to evacuate the uterus and targeted treatment at reducing the inflammatory response.

Additional Diagnostics

Often times additional diagnostics are utilized to ensure proper treatment is instituted to improve a mare’s fertility.

* Endoscopic examination of the uterus
* Endometrial biopsy
* Hormonal testing
* Endocrine testing

Treatments for Subfertile Mares

Laser cyst removal
Caslick procedure  (surgical closing of the upper part of the vulva) to prevent contamination via aspiration of air, dirt, or debris
Uterine lavages
Uterine treatments
Ecbolics (medications to contract the uterus to improve clearance)
Anti-inflammatories
Antibiotics
Acupuncture
Hormonal treatments

Each mare is different and they are all treated as individuals.  It is important to identity exactly what is impairing a particular mares fertility and target direct treatment towards resolving the problem(s).

 

We are always available for a consultation.

If you have any questions and would like to speak with a Veterinarian, please call us at 803-641-0644