I recently purchased a 4 year old mare who is quite underweight and has extremely poor vulvar conformation. She has no prior breeding or foaling history. She was purchased as a show prospect, not a breeding prospect. However, with her excellent breeding, movement and mind, the potential exists to breed her down the road should she prove her self in the show ring.
Her vulva is NOT "tipped" and it does look good as far as being vertical to both her anus and pelvic floor. However, her problem is she has a complete lack of a vulvar seal. Her vulva is open from top to the bottom, and she is a very obvious windsucker to the point where you can actually hear air being sucked into her body while standing still.
Iím guessing at this point she must have (had) repeated occurring uterine infections which I know can compromise future fertility as well as cause irritability.
My plan is to have my repro vet out to examine her and assess her for a caslicks procedure. Iím assuming they will want to do a culture and biopsy as well.
My question is this:
Given that this mare was not bred and has not foaled (or so I was told) and is also a young mare, is it possible that her seal issue could be entirely due to poor body condition? I'd hate to jump the gun on a caslicks if weight gain can remedy this.
It is always possible that the lack of vulval seal is due to poor weight, however, your observation that she is not "tipped" is probably erroneous. The "tipped" condition refers not only to the external conformation, but also the internal, and in order for the mare to be windsucking, she must have a degree of internal tipping, as it means that she has not only got a compromised vulval seal, but also a compromised vestibular seal.
I'm going to throw another loop at you to think about... if this does not drastically improve with addition of weight, should you be breeding her? It is a reproductive conformational fault, and as a conformational fault, it could well be hereditary to a degree. Good bloodlines or not, should we be reproducing conformational faults? Granted there are far worse conformational faults being perpetuated, but it is perhaps something that we all - not just you - should be thinking about...
As always, thank you for your fast and excellent information.
I was not aware that the internal conformation also plays a part in windsucking, but it certainly makes sense.
I agree with you about NOT reproducing conformation faults. I have six broodmares now, all of which have wonderful "text book" reproductive conformation, with the exception of one that we just put a caslicks in last year, who still looks great from the outside, but at age 23 and after 9 foals, she is sagging a bit on the inside!
It was my hope that this mares windsucking issues were basically all "man-made" from being in such thin condition and that we might remedy this by getting the weight back on.
Should my vet find her breeding conformation flawed, I would always have serious reservations about breeding a horse like this. Since I purchased her as a riding/show horse my thoughts about putting in a caslicks at this point, are not to ready the breeding environment, but to keep the horse happy and healthy.
Meanwhile one other question would be, can urinary infections, mild or serious, contribute greatly to weight loss?
There were definitely other contributing factors to her body condition, all of which I am addressing now. I just had to wonder if chronic urinary tract infections can play a big part in over all body condition or weight loss.
You stated that "urinary tract infections are comparatively rare in the equine, and typically not a major issue".
Am I wrong to assume that this particular mare (given her open vulva and obvious wind sucking condition) would most likely culture dirty?
Posted on Wednesday, September 19, 2007 - 12:00 am:
Your assumptions relative to poor conformation, windsucking etc. have nothing to do with a urinary tract infection! By "culturing dirty" - I assume - you are referencing a uterine swab culture, and that is a different location from a urinary tract!
If you clarify exactly what you are concerned about, I'll try and answer correctly!
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