Equine Reproduction

By September 2, 2014 No Comments
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Equine reproduction is a technically advanced and specialized component of our equine practice. Our veterinarians are very proficient in this area. We have over 15-years experience and also stay current with the latest technology by attending several continuing education meetings annually.

Stallion reproduction involves a thorough examination of the male reproductive tract and overall soundness and health of the stallion. Collection and evaluation of stallion semen is necessary to determine the fertility of the horse. This is important to know prior to breeding mares and when a potential change of ownership is involved. There are some diseases of the stallion reproductive tract which can render the horse sub-fertile or sterile. Some of these can be transmitted to the mare resulting in failure to conceive or in early embryonic death. Examining and testing for these diseases is a part of stallion reproduction.

Most of the work of equine production involves the mare. Normal healthy mares that conceive and foal each year are usually not a problem. The mares that fail to conceive or do conceive and then experience early embryonic death are the problem mares.

The reproductive tract of problem mares must be thoroughly examined. An important part of this exam is the uterine culture, to identify any infectious agent within the uterus, and uterine biopsy to identify any damage and resultant scar tissue from previous trauma or infection. Any abnormality noted must be corrected with the appropriate medical or surgical means.

Often the mare owner wishes to breed to a stallion located thousands of miles away and logistically it is difficult to send the mare to the horse. The use of transported semen is the solution. Our veterinarians prepare the mares for breeding and notifies the stallion manager who then collects the semen from the stallion, processes and chills it and ships via Fed-Ex or air freight to arrive the same day of collection or the next day. A great deal of expertise is involved in correlating the time of insemination with the time of ovulation to optimize the chance of a successful breeding. Some stallion owners prefer to have the stallion’s semen frozen in liquid nitrogen where it will retain its fertility indefinitely. Consequently, we are also equipped and trained to use frozen semen to breed client mares.

Our veterinarians are also trained and equipped to do embryo transfers. This involves breeding the mare and then removing the early embryo about 6-days after ovulation and placing the embryo into the uterus of a surrogate mare that will carry the pregnancy to term.