I have a problem draft mare that has carried 2 pregnancies to term. She was bred 4 times in her life. She is overweight and is a draft mare. I know drafts have difficulties at best. She was diagnosed infected and treated for staph and strep a few years back. After that we tried to breed her but everytime she was bred she retained fluid and was not pregnant. This year we have decided to try again. She started off clean and has been bred to the stallion. She is currently infected with a discharge from the vulva. Can a mare carry a pregnancy and be infected at the same time? She did not come back in heat but I know that infection can mask a heat cycle. I do not want to put much money into this mare for testing, ultrasounds, cultures, etc.
What makes you think the mare is "currently infected"? A discharge form the vulva following breeding is perectly normal and in fact somewhat desirable, as it indicates that she is clearing post-breeding fluid.
How soon after breeding are you seeing the disharge, and how long is it remaining?
How were these diagnostics performed that showed in the past that she was infected? Was there a cytology smear prepared? A culture alone is not a reliable indicator of pathogenic status of the uterus - supporting evidence from the cytology smear is desirable. Without it you may be treating a contaminated sample, not a contaminated uterus!
What has been done to deal with the fluid this mare is retaining post breeding? Was an oxytocin protocol prescribed and followed?
I think a good breeding soundness examination performed by a veterinarian that is experienced in reproduction (preferably a theriogenologist) may be beneficial for this mare maybe beneficial.
Since she returned home after breeding she has had a milky to slight yellow discharge. This has gone on for 4 weeks. As I said she did not come back into heat after breeding. As for prior diagnosis, a uterine culture was performed and and she was treated with antibiotics vaginally until cleared by another culture. I do not think they performed any cytology smears. Yes, the oxytocin protocol was followed with prior attempts at breeding. It did not appear to help her. I had her at a good breeding facility that deals with problem mares with a fairly good reproductive vet. They gave up on her. At this point we are expecting the worst and hoping for the best. We know chances are slim at best for a term pregnancy. The 2 term pregnancies she had were natural breeding with no intervention or assistance. Question can she be infected and be pregnant at the same time? Will the infection/fluid retention cause abortion? Is vaginal treatment the only method of cleaning an infected mare? That is what I was told.
Since she returned home after breeding she has had a milky to slight yellow discharge. This has gone on for 4 weeks.
Have you had this evaluated by a veterinarian? This is not normal and may be indicative of injury. It is not typically indicative of a uterine infection, as the cervix should be closed - thereby preventing drainage - when the mare is not in heat.
Was the previous antibiotic treatment vaginal or uterine? Vaginal would be unlikely to work - the antibiotic must be introduced directly into the uterus, and yes, it is really the only reliable way to treat a uterine infection (systemic antibiotics do not elevate uterine levels sufficiently).
Was she evaluated for a uterine yeast pathogen or only bacteria? Cytology smears - in addition to picking up inflammatory issues not seen with a a culture alone - will often identify a yeast infection, while a bacterial culture will not.
I wouldn't give up on the oxytocin - it does sound as though there is another problem that requires treatment as well, but the oxytocin treatment is important in mares that fail to clear post-breeding fluids, which it appears this mare does, and a single dose or two is insufficent, so the full protocol should be followed.
Yes, a uterine infection and fluid is very likely to prevent pregnancy establishment/maintenance. It needs management if you want a foal from this mare.
I feel your pain, but no a pregnancy can't survive in that kind of environment. In my experience, sometimes they concieve, but the embryo does not survive long after it has cleared the oviduct into the infected uterus. So there can be and extra 6-20 days after breeding until the next heat cycle. I think a heavily infected uterus can throw the whole cycle off as well.
I think the uterine lavage is the recommended way of treating your mares uterus. 5 days of lavage is kind of rough on the pocketbook, but it is very effective and expedient. I think IM antibiotics are sometimes used in addition to lavage, but not alone.
Also be sure your Oxytocin is fresh and kept chilled. I think is makes a big difference if it's been in the vets truck all day. I got a bottle of my own from the vet straight out of the fridge, took it home in a cooler, and take the syringes out to the horses chilled as well. My mares are clearing fluid fine with this new bottle and didn't before.
I have not had her vetted yet. I can lavage her without any issue and give her Oxytocin but I did not want to interfere if there was a possibility that she was pregnant. Thanks for all of the information.
Lavaging if there is a patogen present will be unlikely to clear the pathogen unless the correct antibiotic is added to the lavage medium. That requires evaluation.
Lavaging that is not required may introduce pathogens and make things worse.
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