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Vet Incompetence??? Bulletin Board » Breeding Problem Mares - Volume 1 » Vet Incompetence??? « Previous Next »

Author Message

Sara Scholtes (
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2001 - 01:42 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I have a 11 yr old TB mare we bred in early April, checked with ultrasound at 10 days...Pregnant. The vet who did the ultrasound was not my normal vet, he was just there to do some other work but I know him to be very experienced and reliable for reproductive work. My normal vet came back at 32 days, palped her (her ultrasound was out getting fixed) and said she was pregnant. At 35 days she came out to confirm with ultrasound before doing a Caslicks on the mare and found NO Foal! (See posting called Absorption below). She said we had a Huge 60mm follicle and should be breeding within days. She then proceeded to do a Uterine swab for culture through the mare's CLOSED CERVIX. Swab was neg. Nothing happened, this mare who consistantly shows to the stallion for 5/6 days almost put her foot through the wall when teased. Finally after 2 weeks of nothing, I had the first vet recheck her. When I told him that the other vet had swabbed the mare he said if by chance she had still been pregnant going through the cervix most likely would cause her to loose the foal. He then ultrasounded the mare and told me I was the luckiest person alive because she is still pregnant (50 days) and everything is fine. He also told me that MY vet should have known better than to swab a possibly pregnant mare.

My question is: Was this just a mistake? I have no doubt that the mare is in foal and that my vet must have missed it, but was the swab an honest mistake or something that should never have happened? I am under the assumption that you never go through a mare's closed cervix especially one that may be in foal. Please help, Do I need to find a new vet????

Horse Pro (
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2001 - 06:14 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Sara I would say this, anyone who is familiar with AI and or doing uterine cultures. Knows that it is very nearly impossible to pass a typical uterine culture swab through a closed cervix on a pregnant mare. What I suspect occured here, is the vet in question did not pass the swab through the cervix. They simply swabbed the mouth of the cervix, thus not really disturbing the pregnancy. I have known a number of vets who routinely do this, I do not agree with this procedure but they do it never the less. Usually followed by the statement that this will be good enough. Unfortunately not every veterinarian who practices reproductive medicine, is in actuality a reproductive specialist.


Corry Christoff-Wilson, DVM (
Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2001 - 10:04 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Well, if you have a vet that checked a mare in foal with U/S at ten days, keep them as that is nearly impossible! As for the culture, at 35 days, the pregnancy should not have been missed, and the closed cervix should have been a red flag! If the embryo was not in the uterine body, but off to one side, then I suppose that the culture could have been taken without disturbing the pregnancy. As for incompetetnce, that's a hard one. As a vet myself, I know we can make mistakes. If you have had no other problems with your vet, you may just have to ask yourself to find the answer to that question. We're only human after all.

Dr. Corry

Kelly (
Posted on Wednesday, June 06, 2001 - 01:13 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think that I would be looking for a new vet. It sounds as if you have already found him!

It appears as if the one vet is not very familiar with U/S. That huge "follicle" probably had a heart beat! She should have taken another look before attempting a swab on a closed cervix. I think it was sloppy work, to put it mildly.

You are lucky to still have a foal. Besides the questionable culture, what if you would have gone on and bred her? Some mares will allow a stallion to mount, even if they are bred. I would not give that first vet another chance. It does not sound as if she is competent.

Cashgurl (
Posted on Wednesday, June 06, 2001 - 02:39 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I agree with everyone here. If the vet messed up once, couldn't she mess up again? I would pick the vet that came out before your routine one. He sounds like he's the right one to choose!! Count your blessings though, at least you still have a foal!!!

Anonymous (
Posted on Thursday, September 13, 2001 - 08:40 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I strongly agree here. If the vet messed up once it will happen again. I have been there,and done it! I now I have a Vet that I trust and rely on.

Anonymous (
Posted on Saturday, January 04, 2003 - 06:18 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

A little note on the vets. Go with your gut! I am currently blessed with a wonderful vet and have had some absoultly horrible ones in the past. Vet's are like Dr's. there are goood ones and bad ones. Some have a horrible bedside manner but if they are good it may be worth putting up with. If you doubt your current vet, then use your head and don't let him stick his arm up your mare and run the risk(no matter how slight) of infection(As every time you enter you are), if you don't feel that you can take his/her professional advice as gospel....Dont spend your money or waste your time.. Be happy with you vet or keep looking.. It's not fair to any parties involved..........

Posted on Tuesday, February 11, 2003 - 02:43 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Vet that take swaps through closed cervix have slept in vet school! Sometimes you are better off to go with a cow vet, that knows to proceed more carefully and has a better hand than these high tech equine vets, that rely more on technology than experience! Cattle pregnancies are more delicate for the first 3 month and a careful hand is needed.

Posted From:
Posted on Monday, July 21, 2003 - 08:55 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

If your vet mistook a embryo for a 60 mm follicle they are REALLY bad -- since one is in the ovary and the other in the uterus.

As for " sleeping through vet school " here's some info I found interesting: at Washington State University vet school, the students get exactly TWO WEEKS of equine repro info. That's it. If they choose, they can take an extra course of 4 weeks, but it's not mandatory. Just like MDs, vets who want to specialize go on and take another 6mos - 1 yr. training after graduation. Others just learn as they go. So, when choosing a vet, ASK what their specific training in equine repro is/was. I personally don't want a vet who is "learning" on my mares, unless he/she is willing to give me a discount while they learn!

Posted From:
Posted on Thursday, July 24, 2003 - 04:29 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I have never met a vet that had NEVER messed up? If you find one let me know.

I think it is also our job to be knowledgable and question what they are doing? Just like at a hospital etc..

Develop a relationship with your vet. Know their knowledge, and their capabilities. My vet and I brainstorm all the time. We have great open relationship. If he doens't know something we research together and make a mutual decision.

If something doesn't make sense question it. Knowledge is based on peoples past mistakes.


Posted From:
Posted on Saturday, July 26, 2003 - 11:05 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yes, but there are mistakes, and there are MISTAKES.

At 35 days, the pregnancy is easily palpable, and finding it on an ultrasound should be even easier.

I would keep the regular vet for regular work, and use the better repro vet for the repro work.

Posted From:
Posted on Sunday, July 27, 2003 - 01:36 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Maybe her ultrasound machine still wasn't working quite right, possibly distorting the image? Or maybe she just plain missed it. I've had a number of mares preg checked open only to have them foal in the spring. I had two mares checked by two different vets and they both said "open" yet they kept getting bigger and bigger that winter and foaled in the spring. Both were "Equine only" vets and both quite competant. I'm glad all worked out ok with your mare in the end but I wouldn't dump the vet because of this. If you are happy with her for the most part and my gut feeling is you must be or you wouldn't have posted here, give her a break, everyone makes mistakes.

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