Who's ready for a bit of a saga?? I would really appreciate any advice on this as nothing of use comes up on a Google search for this topic.
Our 8 year old (2003 model) mare delivered twins last year (March 2010), and it was a rough delivery, both foals were coming at the same time. They were delivered relatively quickly and without too much trouble once we jumped in to help. The mare was flushed 3-4 times in the week after delivering, and recovered very nicely. Both the babies survived and she nursed them herself. We bred her on 30-day heat after foaling and the cycle after that, with no pregnancy resulting from either breeding although the cycles were textbook, timing was perfect, and fresh semen was used. We figured it was just her body telling her she couldn't handle it, nursing 2 babies and all. We tried again in the fall (October), and again, textbook cycle, perfect timing and fresh semen; even flushed this time. And again, no pregnancy!
She was just bred, for the 4th time, at the beginning of the month. Normal heat - not transitional - same stallion, fresh semen, etc. etc. and is coming into heat again.
Everything looks fine on the ultrasound, and she comes into heat very regular, is extremely healthy, etc. Could the failed attempts to conceive be a result of her twinning dystocia last year? The stallion is older and from what I hear not the most fertile out there, certainly not as fertile as he used to be, but he is still getting mares in foal. Would it be wise to try her next cycle with an extremely fertile stallion? Could pasture breeding improve her conception rate? Any other suggestions?? Getting discouraged here, this is the ONE of all our mares we would want to be in foal
Have you had a thorough breeding soundness examination performed? If your current veterinarian has not recommended this, knowing your mare's history, you might want to consider using a veterinarian that specializes in equine reproduction - preferably a theriogenologist.
Culture and Cytology (follow that link for more details) or Culture and Biopsy?
Reproductive tract evaluation - with especial attention paid to the cervix (which may have been damaged during the prior foaling)?
Reproductive conformation (she may now require a Caslick's procedure if there have been changes in the reproductive conformation)?
Careful examination per rectum using ultrasonography and palpation (this last one it sounds as though you have had done).
I think the above would be your best starting point.
Fertility from the stallion perspective may be an issue, but if the stallion is producing adequate numbers of sperm which are viable and the mare is being inseminated with that adequate number of fertile sperm, then the chances are that the issues are with the mare - and the issues are more commonly with the mare than the stallion. Remember that even though an older stallion may no longer be producing as many sperm as in the past, it requires only 100 million progressively motile, morphologically normal (i.e. fertile) sperm to achieve normal pregnancy rates - and that is actually quite a few sperm in the realm of an average ejaculation (~6 billion!).
Ok, that seems reasonable. The vet has not recommended a culture/biopsy or culture/cytology, but if he does not when we bring the mare back to him this cycle I will ask him about getting them done. I don't think she needs a caslick's, but will ask about that too. I did not think the stallion was the problem, and I will try these things before switching stallions as this boy is the one we really want her bred to! Thanks for all the info and ideas
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