I have a mare that I would like to breed in Jan. She has had normal heat cycles all winter what are the chances that she would be ovulating? Can they come in heat without ovulating?
Posted on Saturday, December 22, 2001 - 01:44 pm:
Absolutely! In fact, many of the mares that are observed cycling during winter are anovulatory (not ovulating).
You need to have a veterinary examination performed, which should include an ultrasound of the ovaries, and possibly (depending upon what is found on the ultrasound) a hormone assay to determine presence of progesterone (which is secreted by the CL, and would indicate that the mare is ovulating).
I'd feel inclined to put her under lights immediately too if she isn't already - although that will not have an effect in an anovulatory mare for about 60 days, but may assist one that is ovulating in development of a good sized, healthy, breedable follicle.
Posted on Saturday, December 22, 2001 - 03:56 pm:
Jos, Can the vet tell if she's ovulating by palpation?
Posted on Saturday, December 22, 2001 - 08:25 pm:
Maybe yes, maybe no....! There are a large number of variables!
Generally, a single palpation is unlikely to yield a definitive "yes this mare is ovulating" diagnosis except if certain structures are found on the ovary - and FYI this applies during the regular bredding season too.
The problem stems around the fact that it is difficult to identify exactly whether the "structure" one is palpating on the ovary is a follicle or a Corpus Luteum (CL) - in cattle there is a very definite diference, in horses there is not such a great difference. If one is doing a serial palpation (i.e. 2 or 3 a couple of days apart) then it is possible to identify if the structure is growing (follicle) or regressing, staying the same, or possibly getting firmer (CL).
In the event that an immediately pre- or post-ovulatory follicle is palpated, then that is definitive, and should not be mistaken.
In some mares at this time of year there will be follicles present but she is not ovulating, and especially in early transitional phase, there will be follicles present - often multiple follicles - and without ultrasound it is pretty much impossible to identify a CL.
In the event that your veterinarian doesn't have an ultrasound, then ask for a progesterone assay to be performed. The CL (which is what is formed in the location of the ovulated follicle) secretes progesterone, so if there is progesterone present, then it is a sure indicator that she is cycling (as long as she isn't pregnant, as during early pregnancy progesterone would be assayed too). Bear in mind though that she cannot be in estrus when the blood is drawn - there will not be progesterone present if she is.
For more information on the hormones of estrus, take a look at the article on this site available by "clicking" here.
Posted on Sunday, December 23, 2001 - 07:50 am:
Jos, Thank you for the explanation. I will talk to my vet.
Posted on Sunday, December 23, 2001 - 07:58 am:
Jos, I have one other question. I know stallions are capable of reproduction at any time of the year but that they also undergo a change somewhat like the mares during winter. What I'm asking is if they would produce enough sperm to fertilize a mare this time of year?
Posted on Sunday, December 23, 2001 - 02:55 pm:
Although there is a slight decrease in sperm number output during the "off" season, as long as the stallion is normally fertile there will not be a reduction in sperm numbers great enough to affect fertility.
Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2001 - 07:54 pm:
No offense but if you are North America why do you want to breed in January. As this could lead to you having a foal born in December.
Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2001 - 09:13 am:
TSQH Because I tried breeding in the fall & she developed an infection & therefore didn't get in foal. Between the stud fee, the vet bills, & shipping cost I have a lot of money already invested in this foal. The guy that owns the stallion is coming down this way in Jan & he said he would bring his stallion & breed her if I wanted to do that. It would save a lot more expense. I have a good barn & I don't see that it would hurt having one born this time of the year if I have a place to keep it.
Posted on Monday, December 31, 2001 - 05:39 pm:
IMO the chances of her conceiving are very slim at best as the middle of winter is not the natural time for mares to get in foal. Also realize that the foal will be considered a yearling as of Jan 1 even if isn't born until Dec 30.
can a mare come in heat after 2 weeks of being breed if teased if she toke
Posted on Tuesday, January 15, 2002 - 08:14 pm:
A mare can come in heat (or at least act like it) when ever she wants. Just because she acts in heat does NOT mean she is. I have mares that ACT like they are in heat during their whole pregnancy. So I guess the answer to your question is, YES.
My mare has been showing signs of being in heat, she teases to a gelding, whenever he comes near her, she lays her ears back and acts like she's not. But, she was bred two weeks ago and sure enough today she acts like she's in heat. Getting an ultrasound tommorrow. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
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