I am so upset & frustrated. I've had 2 mares at a frozen semen "expert" since late April. Communication was very poor, and sometimes not at all and dates don't quite jive. One mare was bred June 9. and was prounounced in foal with a 16 day embryo on June 26. I brought both mares home today due to dissatisfaction from lack of communication combined with gut instinct that things weren't right. Tonight the mare that was confirmed in foal is teasing to my stallion. Can this be? Even if she lost the embryo, would she be in estrus this soon??? I am questioning whether or not she was ever in foal, or maybe even bred. I am having my regular vet come out tomorrow and check this mare to see where she is at. I feel like I have been had & taken advantage of. I hope that I am wrong. Is it possible for my mare to be showing to the stallion if she had an embryo 3 days ago? I guess I will know more tomorrow when my regular vet u/s her. :o(
Hi Lisa...I'm new here, but I have some thoughts for ya... It is possible that the "16 day embryo" was indeed a cyst of similar size. That would explain her return to estrus behavior. The timing is about right (19 days).
Teasing isn't 100%. Some mares still respond to the stallion even if they are bred.
And the first 30 days or so are ver fragile for the developing embryo. It's possible she might have lost it on her own. I would think that there should be a delay in the timing of her heat if she concieved as you mention though.
I know how you feel when you start to wonder about the vet. Good for you to get another vet out to check her.
If the mare has lost the pregnancy, it is - at this stage - associated with the destruction of the CL and a return to estrus, so yes, a pregnancy and then estrus 3 days later is possible, although the pregnancy would have been likely to have shown signs of deterioration at the time of evaluation.
The only way you will know for sure is to have her checked again by ultrasound.
Here is the update. I had my regular vet ultra sound the mare. She has a 26cm follicle and absolutely no embryo, or any sign indicating that she ever had an embryo. There was no deteriorating, small embryo; no remains of fluid....nothing. My regular vet also felt that dates did not quite match up and that something wasn't right. My vet said there is no way to prove that there was not an embryo, but every "normal" indication shows that there never was. That I was told she was checked in foal is what my vet finds most disturbing. There is much more to this that I won't go into, other than the FS vet apologized for my dissatisfaction, admitted that there were some things going on in his life and he was sorry that I/my mares were affected by that. I hate to think ill of anyone, but I feel like I have been purposely deceived. Any comments Jos? I hope I make a better choice with the next FS vet.
If she had lost the pregnancy and was coming back into estrus, her cervix would probably be relaxed and the conceptus has left the uterus, so there would not be evidence of a pregnancy or uterine fluid associated with pregnancy loss.
Remember that the live foaling rate of mares, across the board, is about 60%, so lots of mares either do not get pregnant or lose the pregnancy, and the greatest risk period is the first 15 days or so. The pregnancy loss may not therefore be associated in any way with anything that anyone - vet or otherwise - has or hasn't done. It's just one of the bugaboos of horse breeding. You just bite the bullet and go and do it all over again...
Jos, I understand the percentages and risks and knew them before going into this. What I don't understand is how a mare can have a normal, 16 day embryo and then on day 20 have nothing present at all. I read your earlier post and you mentioned that if the mare were losing the embryo, there normally should have been some indication at the 16 day check. If I am understanding your second post correctly, the loss of the conceptus and fluid and a 26cm follicle all happens in 3 or 4 days? Is this the norm?
Cathy, my regular vet does not live at his clinic, so does not/cannot commit to the many checks and critical timing required for FS.
In a non-pregnant mare, around day 12-14 there is a release of prostaglandin from the uterus that destroys the CL. It is the CL that secretes progesterone that makes the mare resistant to the stallion's advances - so once the CL is destroyed the mare is not resistant any longer. She is not yet however fully receptive - that behaviour is associated with the rise in estrogen levels, the estrogen being secreted from the developing follicle. This is why just before a mare comes into true standing estrus, we see a couple of days where she is neither overtly receptive nor rejecting to the stallions advances - the CL has been destroyed, so the progesterone levels are dropping. Progesterone is also responsible for keeping the cervix tightly closed, so as the progesterone levels drop, so the cervix starts to relax. This too is encouraged further by a rise in estrogen levels.
In the pregnant mare around that same time frame of 12-14 days, there is a process happening called "maternal recognition". It - as the name says - is where the mare is recognising that she is pregnant. This maternal recognition prevents the release of prostaglandin that happens in the non-pregnant mare, and hence, the CL is not destroyed and keeps secreting progesterone - which in turn keeps the mare rejecting the stallion and the cervix tight (among other things).
If for some reason there is a failure in maternal recognition - and there are many reasons why it can happen - then the pregnant mare still releases prostaglandin, and the CL is destroyed. With the destruction of the CL, the progesterone levels drop, the cervix relaxes, and the conceptus goes out through the cervix and is lost. As with the non-pregnant mare, this change from elevated progesterone (and all the associated functions) to no progesterone (and the loss of those functions) happens in the space of a couple of days. This is the normal sequence of events connected with EED.
If the failure of the pregnancy is associated with a conceptus problem, then there may be visible (by ultrasound) problems with the conceptus such as size reducing, separation of the wall, irregularity of shape (prior to day 17 - after day 17 loss of regularity of shape of the conceptus is perfectly normal), etc. There can however be other problems that cause a failure of maternal recognition that would not be associated with a conceptus issue, and hence there would be no indication of an irregularity with the conceptus.
Uterine fluid can be present for a variety of reasons - especially when the mare is in estrus - and is not necessarily a sequela of pregnancy loss.
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