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Barren older mare Bulletin Board » Breeding Problem Mares - Volume 1 » Barren older mare « Previous Next »

Author Message

christine dawson
Posted From:
Posted on Tuesday, December 28, 2004 - 12:53 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hello, if anyone has any advice, please help.... have a 15 yoa warmblood mare. bought her as a broodmare.... her last foal was four years ago...I don't have a teaser stallion, she is just out with an old gelding. She didn't lose her winter coat this summer until quite late (vet said it was "weird" weather), and her heats were very quiet... she was put on regumate for 14 days, then given a shot of lutelase, then bred with frozen semen... didn't take.... so, given another shot of lutelase and back to the vet... she was there a month, they monitored her cycle, she ended up bringing up two follicles and regressing them, then brought up another follicle, which she was bred on... Tho, now they said she had a raging heat, teasing another gelding there badley...Didn't take again... came home for the year barren... On ultrasound they said she had some cysts...shortly thereafter (now the end of the season), she started herding the gelding around like a stallion ... Is this because we are screwing with her cycle? or is something else is going on... She was cultured and biopsied... cultured clean, biopsy 2A... vet did notice her retaining some fluid, but he gave her something to help her expel the fluid after being bred... I notice she is slightly more grumpy than usual, and grinds her teeth now and sticks her tongue out... she has been floated... What do I do now? I bought this mare to breed and she is only mare I have... I am in northern illinois area... any really good repro vets out here? thanks for any help....

Posted From:
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 08:20 am:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'm not an expert in this area.. but as for your mare not showing cycles, it's very common that a mare will not show to a pasture mate. My mare will NOT show at all, unless I move her to another horse, mare, gelding, doesn't matter.

It took me 3 cycles to get my mare in foal. The first cycle we manipulated with regumate and lute, nothing, next cycle was weird, she came in "early", cultured clean, pregancy settled. She lost that one. I had a "wise-old time" breeder tell me that when you manipulate a cycle, it can all work okay, but the mare CAN put her self back where she thinks she should be, cycle wise... I don't know facts on that, but it did make sense to me. Next cycle... I just counted days. So, keep good records. She ovulated exactly 21 days from her last cycle, and she's pregnant. We also put her on regumate 5 days post breeding, checked her levels at 16 days and she was 1.7, and was told she should remain on regumate because she should be at a 5 to maintain the pregnancy. Others here will tell you it needs to be checked 3-4 times a day for 3-4 days to get a true reading of her progesterone levels... but I had the regumate, she already lost a pregancy, so I kept her on. That was my personal choice. Did the people you bought her from give you a breeding history for her? If not, maybe ask them for one. Maybe she is a mare who has been put on regumate. Maybe they can give you some info to make this a better situation.

Another thing.. if she's retaining fluid, your vet "probably" gave her oxytocin. There is a certain protocol for that... I have a friend who's vet gave that oxytocin immediately after breeding. I'm about sure that it needs to be at small doses in intervals...and a time to wait after breeding before done.

I wouldn't have a clue to your mares recent behavior. Are you still in "breeding season" in your area? I'm very new to this and I realize different parts of the country have different seasons. I'm up north and ours is June to Sept. If you have another chance this year, I'd go for it.

Posted From:
Posted on Friday, December 31, 2004 - 04:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post    Move Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Some points to ponder:

  • Unless you have had about 30 consecutive days with the weather colder by 20+ degrees and darker than is normal for the time of year, you will not see a negative impact on cyclicity as a result of the weather.
  • The results of using prostaglandin (Lutalyse) will be entirely dependent upon what structures (follicles/CL's) are present on the ovaries at the time of treatment. The regression of the follicles may merely have been a natural occurrence, with them being mid-cycle follicles, and not ones that were associated with estrus ("heat"). It is important to be aware of the fact that the presence of follicles does not necessarily indicate estrus.
  • Not all mares do "show" well. There is a tremendous variation. Indeed, some mares will show to some stallions but not others.Not unreasonable when one thinks about it - not all humans like all members of the opposite sex :-)
  • The hormones that you are using (progestagens - Regumate - and prostaglandin) are all naturally occurring hormones or parallels of them. You are therefore not doing anything particularly abnormal, merely resetting her time clock. I always like to describe heat regulation as being nothing more than "changing the time zone" of the mare. There will be no negative long-term effect on cyclicity.
  • Cysts are most commonly not an issue for anyone but the mare owners (who tend to lose their minds over them!). True, if they are large or numerous enough they may pose a problem, but such incidences are rare when compared to overall cyst presence. The rule of thumb for cysts is "if they're not bothering you, don't bother them". It is unlikely that they have anything to do with your failure of pregnancy.
  • Although it is unlikely, the change of your mare's behaviour (re: herding the gelding) may be as a result of an ovarian tumour. Although it is unlikely, and most probably because of a dominance characteristic, it might still be worth another ovarian evaluation (ultrasound/palpation) to make sure that you are not looking at a problem such as a granulosa cell tumour.
  • If the above are not issues, then the mare retaining fluid is almost certainly where your problem lies. This is extremely probable as she is an older mare at 15. A single shot of oxytocin is insufficient to clear post-breeding inflammatory fluids. It is necessary to follow a post-breeding oxytocin protocol such as the one described in the forgoing link. Note the low-dose and frequency of treatment - those are essential features of the protocol. It is a cheap and easy treatment that has a high success rate.
  • I note that you are using frozen semen
    • Has the semen that is being used got proven fertility? Frozen semen can have good motility, and zero fertilising capability;
    • Was the semen thawed correctly? Failure to thaw correctly can destroy fertilising capability of frozen semen;
    • Was the semen inseminated at the correct time? For optimum success with frozen semen, one has to inseminate no earlier than 12 hours before, nor later than 6 hours after, ovulation.
With regards as to what to do now... I would start the breeding season with a clean slate:
  • Have your biopsy and culture run again, or at the very least a culture and cytology;
  • Have a full breeding soundness examination performed in conjunction with the b+c or c+c;
  • Use a veterinarian who specialises in equine reproduction;
  • Make sure the frozen semen you are using has known fertility;
  • Make sure that the timing of the breeding is correct;
  • Follow up the breeding with the use of the oxytocin protocol as outlined;
  • If you are continuing to have trouble pinpointing heat/ovulation, you can consider using P and E hormonal manipulation, which is more accurate than other methods.

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