I have a 10 yr old TB mare who has produced 3 foals (pasture bred) and aborted twins in Feb of this year. She was treated aggressively for infection and flushed several times and had a clean culture after 30 days. The first cycle we tried her she was is a very strong standing heat but our 2 yr old colt didn't figure out what to do about it. The vet checked her just before the next cycle and advised that she should be ready to breed in 3/4 days. The mare failed to show signs of estrus for 1 week and a half until another mare came into heat. We bred her on this heat (split cycle???) but the stud only covered her once. Mare failed to show obvious signs of heat with teasing but Ultrasound at 18 days showed No Foal, CL. Vet advised that we short cycle her to produce another strong cycle. Mare failed to show heat. Vet ultrasounded her again today and found a good size follicle but said her Uterus felt very large and "Doughy"??? Upon teasing she showed that solid standing heat that we haven't seen since June when the colt missed her.
Have we just missed her because our timing was off or could this somehow be a result of late abortion??? What would cause her Uterus to be larger that normal??
Posted on Monday, August 21, 2000 - 11:21 am:
I would certainly have reservations about your teasing timing, and identification of estrus. As you have a stallion, you would be well advised to tease the mare every day. It can take up to 15 minutes for some mares to "break down" and show signs of estrus, so don't be fooled into believing her to be not in heat by a quick negative response!
As your mare was chacked "not in foal" by ultrasound at day 18, and she was then given a dose of PGF2a, it is very unlikely that she would still be in foal, or have suffered a naturally occuring abortion. It is possible however that she WAS is foal, but it was missed. In that case she would most likely have aborted as a result of the PGF2a dose. In either case, as she had not gone past 35 days post-ovulation, she should have returned to a normal estrous cycle almost immediately.
What did the cytology smear show on each ocassion for the uterine swab? A culture of such a sample without a cytology smear being prepared and read in conjunction is worthless as a definitive diagnostic of uterine reproductive "cleanliness".
I would have concerns that your mare has quantities of fluid present in the uterus pre-breeding. What did a pre-breeding ultrasound evaluation of that show? It is questionable whether such fluid is as a result of an infection (unless cytology smears showed an absence of neutrophils), or simply fluid associated with estrus.
I think I would feel inclined to re-evaluate the uterus by ultrasound, and have another swab sample taken, and a cytology smear prepared and read if one was not done previously. Then move forward based on the findings.
Tommorrow my vet will be breeding my quarter horse mare with cooled shipped semen from a very nice stallion from the east coast. This morning he ultrasounded her and relayed the information to me that she had two mature follicles. How likely is it that she could conceive twins? Also, what do you think about the practice of " pinching off " one of them if she should be pregnant with twins? Would the mare be likely to lose one on her own if nothing was done to get rid of a twin? Also, how long could we wait to see if that would happen without our interference? I wonder if things would work out better if we left things alone to take their natural course. I'd appreciate your imput on this. Thanks, Marsha
Posted on Friday, February 23, 2001 - 01:53 pm:
Twin pregnancies are actually more common than was once believed. Up to 25% of pregnancies in some breeds have been shown to start as twins. This discovery was only made following the widespread use of ultrasound, as prior to that there was no reliable way of detecting twins other than when they were aborted or born (or occasionally by rectal palpation - which is an unreliable method for twin detection). What this shows is that in many cases the mare is able to deal with a twin herself.
The fact that a mare may be able to reduce a twin pregnancy herself should not however preclude the use of "pinching off" to assist, or guarantee a reduction.
There are different protocols called for with different situations. If a twin is detected at 14 or 15 days post-ovulation and it is in a position where pinching off can be easily executed, then it should be done as there is a higher level of retained second pregnancies if the procedure os carried out early. After day 16 the conceptuses will become "fixed" (they are highly mobile within the uterus prior to that point which may make pinching off difficult or impossible). If they are adjacent to and touching one another, there will usually be a spontaneous reduction of one, so regular observing over the next 7 days or so may indicate a natural reduction is underway; if they are not touching - and especially if they are in opposite side of the uterine/horn junction - then it will usually be necessary to pinch one off.
The absolute latest that the pinching off should be attempted is about day 30 post-ovulation. Around day 35 some structures called "endometrial cups" are formed and if as a result of the pinching off both pregnancies are lost (it does sometimes happen), then once these structures are present the mare will be unlikely to re-enter estrus for a further 85 or so days, which can put a serious crimp in the timing of the birth of any subsequent foal, especially if it is already late in the season.
Do not simply assume that nature will take care of it for you! Nor should you believe that it is OK if your mare has a twin pregnancy! Monitor this mare carefully and reduce the twin pregnancy if required.
Posted on Friday, May 25, 2001 - 01:48 pm:
I have three mares which have been bred a grand total of four times this spring. Each breeding (two were AI and one live cover) resulted in twins by ultrasound and in each case the mare resorbed both embryos. My TB mare is 18 and has habitually conceived twins but pinches one herself; my two Shire mares (one is 17, the other 10)have never foaled for me but previous owners have reported no problems and they both have live foals on record. I am getting concerned that the only common denominator is ME. They are all in good health, etc. Any advice would be appreciated! I have the 17 year old Shire back to the stallion for the 3rd time already!
Posted on Saturday, May 26, 2001 - 04:14 am:
Hi Larissa, I have a 17 yr old Arab mare that twinned in '98 but they were not caught/misdiagnosed. The results of that are just too much to post here though. In retrospect, I have discerned that this was a hydrops pregnancy as well, as mare had excessive fluid (stall was soaked/standing in fluid as if a hose had been left running)...Now I have a competent Vet is all I'll say as I'm still very bitter! Anyway, bred mare back 6 months later, twinned again---these were caught though and pinched one, but lost both. Mare open til this spring. No prior history of twinning til that '98 pregnancy. So since then my method of management is to have mare checked and breed her only one cover. Bred her 4/2/01; Vet couldn't get out to check prior to breeding so came the day after and found a 4+, another very close to that size AND activity on other ovary! She is pregnant with just one---Hallelujah!!! My advice is know your mares cycle, have her checked for optimal breeding time and only cover once---preventing the twins if you can instead of having to pinch I feel is the best course of management! There'll be Vet bills galore, but I'm sticking with this method from now on, at least with this mare, and will just breed all the others once as well (when you know each mare's "normal" length of cycle it's easy to know which day to breed without even palpating). My friend and I have done this with 5 mares this season and they're all "singly" pregnant.
Hello; I have heard through the grape vine that there is a new product called an ovuscan. This product detects when a mare is ovulating. It does not use blood or urnie products. Do you have any information, know the product name, or a website where I could get more info. Thank you very much. Tammy
It would be just as helpful to have an ultrasound done on the mare, as a good ultrasonograoher should be able to tell when a mare is ovulating, is close to ovulating or has ovulated. I am sure there are many fancy gadgets aimed at horse owners, but some things still work!
hi, my TB mare just had twins last week. they were a full month early, one was born dead, the other lived with round the clock care for about 15 hours then stopped breathing. the mare had no prior history of twins, she was covered twice. is it a truly reliable safety measure to cover them just once to prevent twins? thank you!
Posted on Thursday, April 18, 2002 - 10:59 am:
Breeding only once is a TOTALLY, COMPLETELY AND ABSOLUTELY unreliable method of preventing a twin pregnancy.
Essentially, there is no way to prevent the twin pregnancy, but you must ultrasound the mare at about 15 and 25 days post ovulation to see if there are twins present, at which time it is possible to pinch one pregnancy off.
Additionally - make absolutely sure that you ultrasound this mare as described above if you breed her again, as there is a high degree of repetition with twin ovulating mares - in other words she is very likely to do it again.
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