I purchased a 4 year old mare back in December she was bred as a 2 year old, foaled as a 3 year old and during delivery suffered a "grade 4" vaginal fistual. She tore from the cervix right on out. Her vagina and rectum are now as one. Her uterus gets a lot of manure in it although she has not been sick from infection. I purchased this mare knowing her condition and under the understanding that this could be fixed. She has undergone 2 surgeries in which the entire rectum floor, vagina roof, caslics and anus has been repaired. Within a couple of weeks everything tore. She then underwent 4 more surgeries only repairing, internally the rectum floor and vagina roof. The thinking was to repair it in stages. During recovery she was kept on a bran diet to keep her stool loose as to not put as much tension on the sutures. The mare does not do well on stall rest and our thought was she was tearing because she was so active and upset in a box stall. So for the last surgery she was tranqualized for the entire recovery time which only lasted about 2 and half weeks before all of the sutures had torn out again. This mare never recieved any local anasetic for pain during the surgery, she is all scar tissue which would explain why the tissue will not heal. It was suggested by someone to use a "hernia mesh" between the rectum and the vagina to give the tissue and stitches strength. My vet frowned on this method because the mesh is fiberous and will then grow bacteria causing an infection since the area is so "dirty". Another suggestion is put a tube into the rectum to allow the manure to fall out without going into the vagina. I have not talked to my vet about this suggestion. Ideally what I would like is for the mare to be able to pass manure but also to be able to sew up the caslics so that she does not suck in air. Right now she makes a noise that can only be described as a "boot full of water". I have no intensions to ever breed the mare but would very much like to make her a competitive barrel horse. She has the build and the drive to be great if only this problem can be fixed. Any new suggestions would be appreciated.
It may be that you are already dealing with an excellent surgical facility, but if you aren't - or perhaps even if you are - it might be worth your vets consulting with a leading edge research University with a bearing towards reproduction such as Colorado State University, Texas A&M or the University of Pennsylvania (New Bolton). They may be able to offer some leading-edge answers, while still contemplating the reproductive aspect.
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