We did a repro PPE on a prospective broodmare and the (supposedly) maiden mare came back dirty. The examining Vet said the culture/cytology indicated "strep zo". I'm not familiar with that terminology, does this mean streptococcus zooepidemicus? Is this a serious pathogen?
We know for a fact that the mare has never produced a foal so now it seems likely that the previous owner did try to breed her & it must have been about 2 years ago. So if she were infected at that time and this has gone untreated for 2 years, how much permanent damage has likely been done?
I have requested a biopsy, but if this is a no-hope situation, I would rather know now than after I spend more money on further testing...
Streptococcus equi sub. zooepidemicus is the most commonly isolated pathogen from the uterus of the mare (note the new name - it was reclassified as a subspecies of Strep. equi a few years ago).
Simply because a mare is maiden does not mean that she cannot have a pathogen in her uterus. Nor is the presence of a pathogen an indicator of the mare having been previously bred.
Was there a cytology smear prepared and examined in conjunction with the culture? If not, then the value of the culture results are somewhat limited (if of value at all). Follow that link for an explanation.
A biopsy may be of value, as this will give you the same results as a cytology smear (plus other additional results), but if this is a young mare may be "overkill". You may simply need a cytology smear to confirm that the bacteria is indeed pathogenic in nature and not a contaminant, and if that is found to be the case, treat with 3 intra-uterine infusions or lavages with a suitable antibiotic solution to which the pathogen is sensitive. Note that systemic antibiotics will be inadequate in raising uterine levels sufficiently to clear the organism.
This is definitely not a "no hope" situation. It is a very common situation, and in fact about one-third of uterine swabs will return a positive for some sort of organism. The key is to determine (a) if it is a pathogen that requires treatment; and (b) what the suitable treatment is.
Thanks Jos, I think that the Vet did not perform a cytology - working with an unknown Vet from the other side of the country is tough.... My larger concern is whether this type of infection could cause a potential long term damage to the uterus which would prevent or inhibit a pregnancy. I sense though that you feel that this is not a hugely problematic situation and the local Vet is perhaps over-reacting when he seriously questions the mare's reproductive ability? Thanks!
Unless there are other factors, the uterine presence of Strep. equi sub. zoo. is pretty much routine, and is usually easily cleared. As long as it has not been present for a prolonged period of time with a heavy growth, the impact on subsequent fertility should be nil to minimal - as long as it is treated correctly promptly and prior to breeding.
Please note that opinions, product information, advice or suggestions posted on this bulletin board are not necessarily those of the management at Equine-Reproduction.com nor does the maintenance of the post position indicate an implicit or any endorsement of that information, opinion or product.
Further, although we have the greatest respect for the posters offering assistance here, you are advised to seek a consultation with your veterinarian prior to using information obtained from this board if it is of a veterinary nature.Proud to be sponsored and supported by: