December 5th, 2009 - Common Reproductive Problems in Mares

  • December 01, 2009
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Trade Zone: Common Reproductive Problems in Mares - Click Here to Download PDF

By Heather Smith Thomas

One of the most challenging parts of breeding season is getting every mare safely in foal. Dr. James Bailey, a practitioner with Royal Vista Southwest, an equine reproduction-focused practice in Purcell, Okla., deals with broodmare challenges on a regular basis. "Mare owners should always be thinking about the next breeding season, looking at mares in the fall before they cease cycling (anestrus)," he said. "This is a good time to do a work-up on mares that are open. Our basic work-up here includes palpation, ultrasonic evaluation, examination of the cervix, uterine biopsy, and uterine culture (assessing for microbial growth in the laboratory). The culture should include aerobic bacteria, and the veterinarian might also want to culture for anaerobic bacteria as well as fungal  infections-depending on the age of the mare and the problems that have been encountered with her in the past.

"At this time we also try to diagnose and evaluate any conformation problems and do a Caslick's (procedure, which involves suturing the upper part of the vulva together) to correct pneumovagina (aspiration of air into the vagina, or windsucking) due to bad conformation or from a previous foaling injury," explained Bailey. "We also evaluate the mare for any
problems should be ruled out or evaluated at this examination."

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