I bred my mare AI with fresh cooled semen on day 3 and day 5 of her heat cycle. This mare was out of heat late day 5 early day 6. I teased her back to the stallion starting day 14 post breeding. Today (day 21 post breeding) I hauled her the 6hr round trip for an ultrasound as she had not come back into heat. When the vet ultrasounded her she had a smaller follicle (a bit over 3cm) but she could not find an embryo. However, she did find something at the base of her uterus (possibly an embryo?) but could not definately say if it was a pregnancy or not. She says she does have uterine cysts so thought it could possibly be a cyst. She also said it looked smaller than a normal embryo should be so if it was an embryo she is possibly reabsorbing it, or that it was perhaps hidden and she was not seeing the whole thing? So I am bit frustrated (not at the vet) but the fact that I drove 6hrs and still don't have an answer. I don't have access to a stallion full time for teasing so I cannot continue teasing for the next 9 days when stallion owner is away on holidays. What are the chances the embryo is partially hiding and we are not seeing if fully? The vet had a VERY hard time getting a clear picture of her uterus to start with (gas and full bladder were in the way). I find it odd that she has not come back into heat and if she is growing another follicle probably will not come back in for close to another week which would put her around 28 days post breeding. I cringe to think that I will have to drive another 6hr round trip to find an answer, even more so because she has a foal at her side.
Update: Hauled her back the the vet 4 days later to check what was going on. Vet palpated her and said she either was pregnant or between cycles as her uterus was very toned. However, when we ultrasounded she could not see anything in a way of a pregnancy and the follicle she previously had had now grown and is 4.5-4.6cm. There was also virtually no edema. (No CL either incase that info is needed) The vet said that if they were going to AI her (they weren't as I planned to) they would be ordering semen. I brought the mare home last night and today decided to pick up a stallion a friend is lending me to tease her to. I brought the stallion home and she is aggressively kicking at him and trying to bolt away when I bring her near. She wants NOTHING to do with him! So needless to say I will not attempt to AI her until she is receptive. I am truly hoping it is not a color thing (he is a black/white pinto) but she has always shown VERY easily before even with a young foal at foot to other (solid)stallions. Most the time I don't even have to take her up to the stallion, I can stop her 10 feet away and she will be squatting and peeing. This mare is now 26 days post breeding and there is still no sign of a heat cycle and the vets are saying she is not pregnant. I am going to be keeping the stallion here to continue to monitor her. Any other ideas?
The first that I would contemplate is that she is pregnant and for whatever reason, the veterinarians are not able to identify her as such. Until you have definitive proof that she is not pregnant, I would not entertain any thoughts of rebreeding - to do so is a pretty final move for any existing pregnancy... If a mare does not show estrus ("heat") by day 26, there is a 90% chance that she is pregnant.
Do not bother about the presence or absence of a follicle as being idicative of anything! Some pregnant mares have follicles present at around 21 days, others don't. It does not indicate anything relative to pregnancy status.
Having said all that, there are other possibilities relating to the mare not being pregnant:
If she was pregnant, but lost the pregnancy during the early embryonic period, she could be "late" by the number of days past about day 14 that she lost the pregnancy.
She may - as you note - just not be "showing" to the stallion.
She may have a "retained CL". Note incidentally that I am a tad skeptical about the alleged absence of a CL on ultrasound - whether the mare is pregnant or not, with the indicated "uterine tone" there has to be a source of progesterone, which is the CL, no matter what. With that in mind, it does somewhat raise questions about the whole ultrasound experience...
What would I do if it were my mare and I were in your situation with trailering etc.? Well, first off, I would not rebreed yet. Next, I would - as you are - keep teasing. Then finally, after day 40 post-breeding, I would use a blood-test kit such as the "Pregnamare" kit, which tests for eCG, and which - as long as you can draw blood - you will be able to use yourself. Note that this test kit is not absolute in accuracy, but if you get a "pregnant" response, it would then be more worth while loading the mare and foal back on the trailer for another ultrasound.
Thanks Jos so much for the info! She is 28 days post breeding and still has not come back into heat. The stallion is being kept over the fence from her but when she comes up to drink she pins her ears at him and quickly drinks and leaves. I did know they could have follicles even when they were pregnant so I definately wasn't assuming she wasn't. I am more assuming there is a possiblity she is until she tells me otherwise. Since it is so late in the year I will probably just continue to tease her for a few more weeks and if she does not come back in I will try again next year. However, I will definately look into getting the blood test done on her after 40 days post breeding. Thanks so much for the help!
Cindy, This same thing pretty much happened to me last year. Had my mare U/S'ed 16 days post breeding, the vet said she had a good sized follicle, no presence of a pregnancy and should be in full heat. Luckily I own my own stallion, so teasing her was not an issue at all. I teased her regularly for a full 2 weeks past that ultrasound, and she never would accept the stud. I used the PregnaMare blood test kit on her 45 days after the last breed date and it came back positive. She had a beautiful bay blanketed Appaloosa colt this year! I would definitely keep teasing her and then use the PregnaMare around day 40. You can order it through Valley Vet online. They ship it overnight. I just used it on 3 of my mares about a week ago, and they all came back positive. And you don't really have to "draw" blood to perform the test. The test comes with a small lancet and you just have to scratch an area around the muzzle and wet a cotton swab with the blood. The test takes about an hour to complete. Good luck!
Thanks so much Sandy. If it was a 14 day post breeding ultrasound I could see them possibly missing it. I just have trouble believing they (two different vets) could miss a 21 and 26 day post breeding pregnancy if there was one. But hey, crazier things have happened! I would be ecstatic if she was in foal but don't want to get my hopes too high!
Hi Michelle, well I teased her up to 35 days post breeding and she still did not come into heat. So she did not get rebred. I was not sure what to think but had to return the stallion for my friend to use. I tried to order a pregnamare test but was having a really hard time finding someone not sold out. Mid Sept (over 2 months since she was bred)I had to take my pinto yearling filly to the vets for coggins papers. When I returned she was screaming for the other horses when she got out of the trailer and she has a VERY deep whinny. I did see my mare squat and pee while she was screaming and she did it a few times. I am assuming she was thinking it was a stallion and was showing a heat. I guess it rules out the thought that maybe she was biased about the pinto color! She has not shown anything before this or since but I only have mares on my property and so it is really hard to tell. At this time I am assuming she is not in foal and will try to rebreed her next year. It would be wonderful to have a surprise but I just don't think she probably is in foal. I REALLY would like to know what went on though and why she was not showing a heat when I was hoping to rebreed her. She was VERY obvious and strong on her foal heat so not sure if she could have gone into lactional anestrus or whether they even do that after they have had a foal heat. Sure wish I knew! Thanks for checking back!
Lactational anestrus mares will typically show a foal heat (or at least undergo a foal heat even if they don't display it!! ) and then go anestrus. The hormones are present and active at foaling to kick into gear the foal heat, but after that they may shut down.
The fact that the mare is showing heat now doesn't really mean anything. Some mares show heat during pregnancy. If it were me, I would have loaded the mare on the trailer along with the filly for the trip to the vets and had her checked again...
I know I probably should have her checked again but find it so frustrating to spend over $800 on 3 ultrasounds (gas included)! Not to mention a combined total of 18hrs of driving if I was to go again! I also was not overally confident in their assessments and abilities. It was so late in the season that I figured I probably wouldn't try again anyways. Just hoping that "if" she was to be pregnant that she does not have twins; however, I would think if they were not able to find one the chances of her having two would be slim.
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