I bought an older mare during the winter. Breeding soundness examination was done on her saying she is ok, which is apparently not true. Ok, I am not willing to send the mare back.
She is 19, has several cysts in her uterus. Was cultured before the breeding season – ok. She has irregular heat cycles. One was short, but most are prolonged – the heat itself is up to two (or even three) weeks, the interval between the heats is shorter, 8-12 days. She was bred naturaly the first few heats and only ultrasounded for pregnancy. Pregnancy didnt occure and (we thought that) because of the lenghth of the heats no good size follicle was visible.
Well, because the pregnancy did not occure we wanted to try a bit more intensive care. She was Caslick-ed, put on Regumate for 10 days, she recieved prostaglandin on day 10. Ultrasounded on day 15, ovarries seem like in anestrus. She went into the heat two days later (day 17), ultrasounded again on day 21, ovarries still small, very small follicles. Still in heat yesterday (day 29), ultrasounded, uterus was better, ovarries a bit more active, follicles a bit larger, but still not one large follicle present.
The idea was to try to breed her only once near ovulation, flush her post breeding, use oxytocine. Now with the unusual response to Regumate and with the heat without follicles, we are lost.
Is there any advice? The mare is of very high quality, dam of two champions and few other very good foals and the costs of therapy is not the problem. The stallion is mine and standing on the same farm. I would like very much to try to have one foal from her… Sorry for my long post.
Cysts - unless they are large or numerous - are not an issue, and I would in fact be surprised to find a 19 yo mare without cysts.
What did the cytology show? Was there a cytology smear prepared and read in conjunction with the culture? Follow the link and read the article for more information on that.
How did you determine that she had "irregular heat cycles" if you were not ultrasounding? Mares can display submissive posturing to stallions when teased that mimic estrus. Without determining what is on the ovaries and the uterine condition with ultrasound, you cannot "map" cycles in such a mare.
When (what time of year) did you see the "prolonged" estrus? Transitional phase estrus will often last 2-3 weeks.
Once the mare had started truly cycling, I get the impression that the diestrus period (the interval between "heats") is very short - you mention 8-12 days. This is typically indicative of a mare that has an irritant in her uterus that is causing her to come back into estrus early. i.e. she is likely to have a uterine infection.
The use of Regumate to cycle mares can produce unpredictable results - follow that link for details. As you will see from the article, the response was not particularly unusual and is not necessarily suggestive of an issue with the mare.
Has anyone thought to run a progesterone assay in this mare to determine if she is actually cycling? That might be a god start if a definitive CL has not been observed on u/s.
If she were my mare, I would probably start with confirming that she is truly cycling. If she is, then I would have a uterine biopsy and culture performed, and see what those results were and go from there.
I live in a small state in Central Europe and here the procedures you call usual are not usual and sometimes even not available. You would laugh at it.
No, progesterone assay was not done. Is there any link to see, how to do it? I tried to google it and found your article about silent heat mare - its written there : "If the mare has progesterone levels >1 ng/ml, that is indicative of her having ovulated (and therefore to be a behaviourally anestrus mare). It may be necessary to take a sample once a week for three consecutive weeks to accurately determine her status, as one could be sampling during estrus (with the obvious absence therefore of a functional CL)." Is that what you mean?
Uterine biopsy is unfortunately not available here. Even if my vet does it, there is no lab to interprete the results.
Culture was done, but can be done again of course. No, cytology was not done. My vet sends the culture to the lab. I will ask her about the cytology.
When I said "heat" I reffered to the behaviour. Please, try to understand (I know, that it probably sounds strange to you) that here it is not common to ultrasound the mares during the estrus routinely, only for AI and for pegnancy check. The mare was ultrasounded only during the last "heat" - the results are above.
The mare was under lights from the middle of December, together with other mares. This is her 6th "heat cycle", so I did not though about the transitional phase. All of her "heats" were long, except for one, the current already lasts for 15 days today.
You will need a test kit to do the progesterone assay such as the "Target" test kit obtainable from either Equitainer or Exodus Breeder Supply (see foot of the page for links to their sites). The test is not difficult to perform as long as you can draw blood. Another possibility may be for you to take the blood to your local hospital is they have a lab that can do a progesterone assay (it's also performed on humans). The reference you include above is indeed what I am talking about.
When dealing with a mare such as you are, it is going to be extremely difficult to achieve pregnancy without a lot of luck or some ultrasounding. Rectal palpation may assist if the palpator is competent, but ultrasounding will be more definitive (there is a greater margin for error with palpation alone).
Although the mare was under lights, there is no guarantee that you are seeing true estrus, and the issues I outlined in my first post need to be addressed to determine a course of action.
Many thanks for your answer. My mare was ultrasounded today and CL was present. So she probably ovulated. The problem, according to my vet, is that the CL was not "nice", it has some cavitations in it. Could it be considered "functional" CL, or progesterone assay is better in this case?
I printed out all the articles you reffered to and gave it to my vet. She will read it and hopefully we can start somewhere.
I have been given a beautiful Thoroughbred mare with a nice pedigree. She won over $170,000 on the race track. She has been retired since 2004 and the previous owner was only able to get one foal out of her so far. I have been informed that she is a transitional mare and that she ovulates before her cervix opens. What kind of treatment protocol would the group recommend for this mare? She has been to the breeding shed once this year and ovulated the next day but has been checked barren. I will not be breeding her anymore this year. I want to breed her to a TB so AI is not possible. Thanks Doug
Marina: If by "cavitiational" you mean that there were some black (anechoic) areas visible on u/s within the CL, those are normal and are merely remnants of a CH. That would not be indicative of it being a "poor" CL.
Doug: You need to start with a good breeding soundness examination by a veterinarian that is experienced in reproduction - preferably a theriogenologist. You might also get some other suggestions if you were to post your message in the correct place on the board under a topic title that is relevant.
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