Posted on Wednesday, November 15, 2006 - 09:18 am:
Here's my story: 6 year old maiden mare. Was bred once via shipped fresh cooled semen- didn't take. I brought her to the breeder the following heat cycle, she bred her 2-3 times until she was out of heat (AI), then I brought her home. She was at the breeder for a total of 8 days. She did not show any signs of returning to heat, ultrasounded at day 23, vet declared her not pregnant. I short cycled her, brought her to the breeder yet again and she was bred again until no longer showed interest in stallion (again AI). This time, I left her with the breeder. She had her vet check her at 14 days, and she had an embryo. She was checked again at 35 days, confirmed in foal, I brought her home the following day and about one month later, she was showing signs of heat. I waited to see if she would come into heat again, she didn't and I had the vet out to check her this morning. Once again, my vet confirmed not in foal and she saw "sparkles" on the ultrasound. She said her uterus was full of air and she'd never seen anything like this in any mare she's dealt with before. She coming out again next week to do a biopsy/culture. Meanwhile, this is extremely frustrating for me. She's an absolutely gorgeus mare with phenomenal bloodlines and I'll be heart broken if I can't get a foal from her. Any suggestions or ideas for me? Thanks so much!
(Message edited by justafarm on November 15, 2006)
Posted on Wednesday, November 15, 2006 - 11:18 am:
At this stage - past 35 days in foal - the is absolutely no point in having a biopsy performed!!! If the mare was pregnant as you say she was at 35 days, the endometrial cups will have formed, and consequently the mare is not going to come back into heat for about another 80-120 days (on the average). In view of that, I would personally wait until +/- 120 days (of alleged pregnancy) and check the mare again at that time using an estrone sulfate blood assay if there is any doubt of the results of an ultrasound (or even perhaps in addition to the ultrasound).
If the mare was pregnant at 35 days, the likelihood that the cervix has now relaxed and allowed air into the uterus is about nil. Either she wasn't pregnant; the air was there before and missed; or she doesn't have air now... the cervix is going to be kept tightly closed by the elevated levels of progesterone seen with the formation of secondary CL's (as a result of the endometrial cups).
On top of that - if you do a biopsy now and she is pregnant, not only will you lose the pregnancy, but the mare STILL will not come back into heat for another 80-120 days...
I'd leave well alone for the moment based on the picture you're presenting if it were my mare...
It's not possible to miss a pregnancy by ultrasound at this point, (she'd be around 112 days), is it? Mare was definitely confirmed pregnant at 14 and again at 35 days. This is what my vet said when she was out... Palpation felt abnormal, one horn was larger than the other with a "bubble" (air?) that she could push back and forth. So she hooked up the ultrasound (internal) and said that the bubble was all air. I don't know if the air might have been missed before, but she said it is definitely there now. My vet wants me to short cycle my mare so she comes back into heat for her to do the biopsy/culture. This is my first time breeding, and I've been trusting the vet, but maybe I shouldn't.... HELP!
By 112 days it may be possible to miss the fetus itself on ultrasound, as the weight of the pregnancy by this stage has often carried the fetus over the pelvic brim into the abdomen and out of the reach of the palpator/ultrasonographer. There should however be other "markers" that are suggestive of pregnancy (the umbilicus for example may be visible in cross-section).
Your description of the palpation would have me wanting to have the mare evaluated again - as I noted above - before invading the cervix with biopsy forceps. I do not really comprehend how a "bubble" of air could be "moved" as air is compressible, and would be more likely to therefore dissipate rather than move as one "object".
I would strongly encourage you to have the mare evaluated again, possibly by an independent third-party veterinarian - preferably one that is board-certified in, or specialises in, equine reproduction. Once you invade the cervix, the pregnancy - if there is one there - is almost certain to be lost. I also have grave concerns about the idea of attempting to induce estrus (heat) in a mare at this stage of assumed-time-after-ovulation (if one doesn't want to consider it a pregnancy). As I explained above, the chances of inducing estrus and being able to rebreed at this point are extremely low - to the point where I wonder at it being suggested without the high possibility of failure rate being explained to you.
Giving the mare a single dose of prostaglandin at this point (possible ~112 days of pregnancy) may not cause pregnancy loss - but why run the risk???
Get the mare checked again by someone else if you have any doubts whatsoever...
Well, she's definitely not in foal, blood work confirms that... I'm going to go ahead with the culture and biopsy to see if I can figure out what's going on and have it cleared up before spring, when, hopefully, I can rebreed again. Thanks for all the info!
If you go ahead with the biopsy and culture now, the cervix should be closed and will be likely to remain closed until the regression of the endometrial cups and secondary CL's. That means that you would be invading a closed uterus that is under the influence of elevated levels of progesterone - and therefore with a suppressed immune function. As one is almost certain to introduce a pathogen at the time of biopsy sampling, that means that you are quite possibly going to create a uterine infection that was not there previously. A biopsy and/or culture swab would therefore be contra-indicated at this stage.
Additionally, once the mare has got rid of the endometrial cups, she is likely at this stage of the season to go into winter anestrus. During winter anestrus the cervix is relaxed, thereby allowing pathogenic access to the uterus. If you sample the mare now and get a "clean" result there is therefore no guarantee that she will still be "clean" come spring.
You would do far better to delay your biopsy and culture swab until the spring for all of the above reasons.
What blood-hormone assay was used to determine pregnancy status, and at what day was the blood drawn? You may be on the cusp for accuracy depending upon what the answers are...
Posted on Wednesday, November 22, 2006 - 10:29 am:
I don't remember exactly what test was used, but blood was drawn about 1 1/2 weeks ago, so results are final. It's been about 2 months since she would have lost the foal now. I'm figuring she only held it for a week or two after she came home. I'm not sure what I'm going to do at this point. I'd like to see what's going on now. I understand what you're saying though, but I have recently noticed a little discharge from her, which might mean infection. So, I might go ahead and do a culture and biopsy now and then again in spring if need be. I don't want to wait until spring and then have to worry about treating a problem in time for breeding season. I'm not sure, I have a lot to think about.
Posted on Wednesday, November 22, 2006 - 10:44 am:
eCG (aka PMSG) would not be reliable at 100 days. Estrone sulfate (or total estrogens) should be at the reliable point by 100 days, but it is still early, and rechecking at ~120 days might give a different result. There is no other reliable routine hormone assay for detecting pregnancy in the mare.
"Discharge" is not necessarily an indication of a uterine infection - especially at this stage when there should be a tight cervix which would prevent expulsion of anything from the uterus.
If you do go ahead with the evaluation, and your veterinarian encounters a tightly closed cervix, if it were my mare I would ask them to stop before penetrating it...
Well, here's the latest... Culture came back negative, so that's good. Biopsy came back as a grade 2, so that could be better. Since her uterus is still full of air, we are going to try doing a caslick's on her and recheck in the spring. Hopefully all the air will be gone and she'll be ready for me to try and breed once again!
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