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"Scamper" Proven Fertile!

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Scamper wins with no bridle - click to open larger image in new window
Scamper wins with no bridle!
(photo credit: Kenneth Springer)
Charmayne James' multiple world-champion gelding "Scamper" cannot of course sire foals himself, but his clone - "Clayton", foaled in 2006 - has proven fertile, with two mares being bred, embryos flushed, and maintained pregnancies identified in the recipient mares. This exciting new development for North American breeders offers future potential for perpetuation of genetics from stallions that have been gelded - something that Professor W.R. "Twink" Allen has been promoting for over 10 years, with his recommendation being that all prospective quality geldings have semen frozen before they are gelded! The "after the fact" technique of cloning means that Scamper's genes have now been passed on, and it will be interesting to watch the resulting foals in barrel racing performance in the future.

In a similar piece of news, a clone of "Doc's Serendipity" was recently twice bred to "High Brow Cat", with embryos successfully flushed and transferred on both occasions. There will be a number of clones and foals from clones arriving in 2009, 2008 having been a temporary hiatus year for cloning company ViaGen, owing to the need to relocate operations to Canada following closure of the horse slaughterhouses in Texas, causing a lack of availability of the oocytes required for the process. "Next year will be big" was Dr. Gregg Veneklasen's comment of the upcoming foaling season. Dr. Veneklasen owns and operates Timber Creek Veterinary Hospital in Canyon, Texas USA, which is heavily involved in the production of equine clones.

In an associated piece of news, it is reported that AQHA are to discuss and review its current no-registration rule regarding clones at their 2009 convention. It has long been our view (Equine-Reproduction.com's) that registries as a whole - not just AQHA - should be prepared to register clones with the same registration number as the donor animal, plus a suffix (e.g. 123456-a, 123456-b etc.), while at the same time microchipping all the animals involved (donor and clone[s]). Any work involving a recordable performance (competition, breeding etc.) would then require reading of the microchip to confirm identity. This will allow tracking of the clones and their genetic input, which is good from all perspectives of the argument - whether you agree with cloning or not - as currently, in the case of stallions, there is no way to identify if a foal sired by a clone could have been sired by the donor animal, or vice-versa, as the DNA of the offspring will match both donor and clone in the parentage verification process.


Pregnant Mare "Due Date" Statistics Demonstrate Wide Range of Gestational Duration

What was the duration in days of your mare's live-foal producing pregnancy?
Survey commenced in 2008 foaling season
Results © Equine-Reproduction.com
result319 Days or fewer:4.51%
result320-326 Days:7.05%
result327-332 Days:7.55%
result333-338 Days:9.59%
result339-344 Days:14.77%
result345-350 Days:12.73%
result351-356 Days:8.83%
result357-362 Days:5.86%
result363-370 Days:8.43%
result371 Days or greater:20.68%

Total Foalings Reported To Date: 4212
Each year Equine-Reproduction.com receives contact from concerned mare owners worried that their pregnant mare is past her "due date". Each year we explain to those persons that the normal range of gestational duration is anywhere between 320 and 370 days, and as long as endophyte toxicity (e.g. fescue exposure) is not an issue and the mare looks fine, then in all probability all is fine (although of course if there are concerns a veterinarian should evaluate the mare). We also have an article that discusses these observations - ("Is my mare overdue?"). Despite this, concerns still abound, so this year we added a poll at the foot of the article for readers to complete indicating gestational duration of their mare that produced a live foal. The results (presented at left in continually updated format) clearly demonstrate that the range of 339-344 days - which includes most commonly held "due dates" - while the highest percentile range, is most decidedly not indicative of a "due date", with under 20% of foalings taking place during that time frame! We will keep the poll open on a continuous basis, and as more readers add their statistics to it (please visit the whole article and enter your mare's data!) we hope that those readers that are concerned will glean a little solace in the clearly demonstrated lack of a "due date" in the equine!
Respected Veterinarian Dies in Tragic Accident

It is sad to report that Theriogenologist Dr. John Steiner has died following an accident he experienced May 20th 2008 while working on a Morgan stallion. The horse apparently struck Dr. Steiner in the head causing massive trauma, and although hospitalized, a spokesman at Rhinebeck Equine Hospital in Rhinebeck, New York told the Poughkeepsie Journal that Dr. Steiner was taken off life support on Monday morning at Albany Medical Center and died around 4pm. Dr. Steiner - a diplomate of the American College of Theriogenologists, and former president of that organization - had moved back his native New York State earlier this year, having previously been located in Lexington, Kentucky, where he began the Equine Fertility Unit at the Hagyard-Davidson-McGee (now the Hagyard Equine Medical Center). This is an unsettling reminder that even the most knowledgeable and talented can experience tragic moments of danger when working with horses as a whole, and stallions in particular. Our deepest sympathies go out to Dr. Steiner's wife, family and friends.

Cloned Stallion Proven Fertile and Capable of Siring Healthy Foals!

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Pierazade Du Vialaret

Pierazade Du Vialaret
Pierazade Du Vialaret is the daughter of the clone "Pieraz Cryozootech Stallion" and Dziupla, one of the foundation mares the endurance specialists "Elevage du Vialaret" possess. She was born 5th May 2008. The first picture (at left top) was been taken the day of her birth and the second (bottom), a few days later.

Let's wish both Pierazade Du Vialaret and her breeder, Mr Genieys, success! Mr Genieys is the first breeder to own a foal which carries the genes of the Champion Pieraz.

This birth follows the birth of Pégaso. Pégaso is Prométéa’s foal, Prométéa being the first mare Professor Galli cloned. Cryozootech hopes to breed Prométéa this year to Pieraz Cryozootech.

Pieraz Cryozootech Stallion is approved as a stallion in the A.E.S. Studbook. His fresh semen is available from Equitechnic Laboratory for the 2008 breeding season.

By Carnet Rose for Cryozootech. Presented here courtesy of Cryozootech. For more details on semen availability, please visit Cryozootech's web site (page in French).
EVA Presentation Now Available on the Equine-Reproduction.com Web site

The EVA presentation given by Equine-Reproduction.com about Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA) at the RPSI 30-day stallion test (see below) is now available on the web site in various formats. The format listing is available at http://www.equine-reproduction.com/articles/EVA/.

"Webinar" Presentation on EVA by Equine-Reproduction.com

We will be giving a presentation on EVA (equine viral arteritis) tomorrow night (Wednesday April 2nd) at the final of the RPSI 30-day stallion testing held at Silver Creek Farms, Broken Arrow OK USA. The presentation, which starts at 7:00 pm Central US time, is to be "webcast" and should be viewable via the Internet.

To access the presentation, go to http://www.silvercreeksporthorses.com/StallionTest2008.htm and follow the link at the left that reads "CLICK HERE TO VIEW FINAL TWO DAYS & EVA SEMINAR (link available on April 1st at 1:30 pm)".

Please be advised that we have had some issues attempting to open the web site using a "Firefox" browser (it intermittently locks up), although it opens in Internet Explorer with no issues.

We hope this may prove of interest and use to some of you!

Transported Semen Permits and Restrictions in the USA

Following the outbreak of Equine Viral arteritis (EVA) that significantly affected the Quarter Horse industry, some States are implementing and enforcing permit requirements with regard to shipped semen. One such State is Montana, which now requires a stallion owner to obtain a permit prior to shipment and use of semen shipped into that State. The permit application must be accompanied by a USDA-Aphis approved lab test result indicating that the stallion tested negative for antibodies to EIA (equine infectious anaemia) within the last 12 months prior to the application, and EVA within the last 6 months. If a stallion has been vaccinated against EVA, then proof of vaccination must be demonstrated. If the stallion has not been vaccinated, but has a positive titre for antibodies, then a virus isolation test of the semen must prove negative. Similar restrictions apply to the importation of stallions to Montana, although not if they are to be temporarily imported for competition. Importation and use of semen from positive and shedding stallions will not be permitted, and any veterinarian inseminating semen received without the requisite permit will be subject to sanction.

We at Equine-Reproduction.com always strongly support education of the breeding public about the issues surrounding EVA, but we do have concerns about the degree of restriction and lack of uniformity of the requirements of a permit such as that of Montana. Our concerns are:
  • The USA does not restrict the importation of EAV-positive semen ("EAV" refers to the virus itself), and the disease is therefore present in the country as a whole. As the disease can be asymptomatic (present without visible symptoms) during its acute (infectious) stage, any horse - stallion, mare or gelding - could be infectious without signs, and yet with a permit such as Montana's there is no restriction outside the breeding male or his semen. The effectiveness of such a permit restriction is therefore severely limited and will primarily be an inconvenience to breeders.
  • Semen from "shedder" stallions can be safely used to breed mares as long as the mare has been previously and suitably vaccinated, or has been tested and shown as having sufficiently elevated antibody levels against the virus (possibly through previous exposure), and is kept quarantined for 21 days following the initial breeding. To prevent the importation and use of positive semen completely to the individual State when the disease is already present in the country is "overkill", and will be a significant issue for breeders who have an unfulfilled prior breeding to a positive (shedding) stallion, and may represent a restriction of trade to them and others. Requirement of a mare vaccination and quarantine protocol would be more suitable than completely restricting positive semen import.
  • As the enforcement is to be applied against veterinarians only (it being impractical and likely outside jurisdiction to apply it against lay persons), mare owners inseminating their own animals may still be able to import and use infective semen, which means that the restrictions applied against veterinarians are unreasonable, and again may represent a restriction of trade.
  • As each State has the potential to enact its own regulations regarding importation permits for semen, the stallion owner/manager is left in the untenable position of having to contact all 50 State Vet Boards and/or Departments of Agriculture to ensure current regulations. It would be more workable if individual States worked with USDA-Aphis to create a permit that could then be obtained from USDA-Aphis and be valid for all States. The alternative is to rely on better breeder education by the State Vet Boards, rather than requiring permits with significant failings.
    • We recommend that stallion owners have a clause in their breeding contracts requiring mare owners to notify them of any State permit requirements by the mare owner resident State in a suitable period prior to the anticipated shipment date, allowing the stallion owner sufficient time to obtain those permits.
    • We also recommend that all stallions be blood tested for EAV antibody presence prior to the beginning of the breeding season, and vaccinated if such vaccination is deemed suitable.
      • Note that annual revaccination is required to ensure protection and that proof of that revaccination should be required as part of the permit requirement, and requested by mare owners prior to breeding.
Washington State is a good example of a State that is using a combination of permit requirement, workable restrictions and breeder education. Washington State does allow importation of "positive" semen, but requires their permit and an accompanying statement that the mare owner has been notified of the "positive" state of the semen; agrees to follow certain recommendations regarding breeding with "positive" semen; and that they will accept the semen. One of the required recommendations is that the mare be vaccinated prior to breeding and undergo quarantine following breeding. Details of Washington State's permit requirements are available on the Washington Government web site.

Sad Loss to the Industry

It is with regret that we announce the death of Dr. Pedro Jou of Ayr Ontario, Canada. Dr. Jou was well known and respected for his equine reproductive work, in particular with embryo transfer. Through his web site "EquineEmbryos.com" he marketed frozen semen and embryos both from Europe and which had been frozen at his business location in Ayr. Dr. Jou will be sadly missed in the horse breeding community, in particular by his many clients.

Equine Cloning - The Next Generation

With the advent of the first equine clone, there was speculation by some as to whether the cloned animal would be reproductively sound. Researchers and scientist had no such doubts, and that has now been proven with the first pregnancies being announced in and by cloned horses.

Prof. Cesare Galli, from Italy, who was responsible for the first cloned horse, has announced that the clone Prometea (who was in fact a clone of her own dam) is pregnant and due to foal in 2008. Cryozootech have announced that "Pieraz-Cryozootech-Stallion" - an entire clone of the gelding "Pieraz" - has been bred to Dziupla, one of the best endurance mares in France from the Vialaret farm. This once again raises the question of the stance taken by some registries to not record or register cloned horses - there would have been no way genetically to differentiate the Pieraz clone's foal from a foal sired by Pieraz himself, had it not been for the fact that the original horse was a gelding!

UC-Davis Announces Test for HERDA

Researchers at the University of California (Davis) have developed a genetic test to identify carriers of the homozygous recessive gene that causes the skin disease HERDA (Hereditary equine regional dermal asthenia, also known as hyperelastosis cutis). Identification of animals that carry this gene prior to breeding will enable responsible breeders to either eliminate carrier stock from their herds or make educated breeding decisions with a view to achieving the prevention of an increase of the presence of this disorder and hopefully preventing it becoming as prevalent as HYPP did in the same breed. HERDA is found in Quarter Horses most commonly associated with certain cutting bloodlines. One unfortunate aspect of this disorder is that it may not become apparent in animals until they start to be worked under saddle, by which time they have often changed hands from the original breeder. The advent of this test will allow the breeders to determine the status of their breeding stock, thereby assisting in prevention of propagation of the problem.

Britain's Equine Fertility Unit Slated to Close

It seems likely that the Equine Fertility Unit (EFU) - a horse breeding research facility - in Newmarket England is likely to close at the end of September. It has been in operation for many years and has achieved much useful research and many "firsts" over the last 37 years, with among other things identification of the "capsule" that surrounds the early conceptus; the significance of prostaglandins in producing estrus; early pregnancy recognition ("maternal recognition"); function of the equine placenta; the equine genome; and much more.

The cause of the closure is the failure of the Thoroughbred Breeder's Association (TBA) to continue its funding of the EFU. Previously the EFU had received £300,000 (US$595,000) per year from the TBA, but there was a need to increase this figure to £450,000 (US$892,000) for the next 10 years, which it appears was unacceptable to the TBA. In the realms of hard-sought research funding, the total of £4.5 million over the course of 10 years is not great, and the loss of this premier research facility should be considered a major blow to the equine community.

It is also worthy of note that there has been recent concern about the funding of the EFU by the TBA as a result of the EFU's involvement in research into advanced reproductive technologies including artificial insemination and embryo transfer, neither of which is permitted by any Thoroughbred registry world wide. If this is a significant cause of the loss of the funding, there can be little doubt that such a decision would be in the classic mode of "cutting off one's nose to spite one's face"!

Professor W.R. "Twink" Allen, head of the Equine Fertility Unit who was due to retire at the end of this year, has observed of the potential closure that it "is a nasty blow and I think it is short-sighted and stupid".

Equine-Reproduction.com along with many other researchers and individuals involved in horse breeding are distressed at the potential closure, and would be happy to assist in passing on any communication from persons that may be prepared to invest in the funding for the survival of the Equine Fertility Unit and its important research - please contact us.

Please visit our archived news page for past news items that have appeared on this index page.
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In our ongoing efforts to assist breeders with directing access to good quality and well priced horse breeding equipment, we are able to offer a listing of reconditioned horse breeding ultrasounds for sale at affordable prices direct from Universal Medical Systems.

Horse breeding topics covered in our articles section on this site include artificial insemination (A.I.); information about, and the use of frozen semen; stallion handling articles, including "phantom mare" training, and other semen collection methods; the collecting and processing of cooled transported semen; different equipment and supplies needed for semen collection and processing, and artificial insemination; managing the mare for breeding (including hormonal manipulation and the use of other drugs such as Oxytocin); and some articles relative to foals and foaling.

It's our aim to bring you not only a wide selection of articles about both basic and advanced horse breeding topics; but also a variety of links to sites containing more information about horse breeding. There is a book sale section where we list and review books on horse breeding that are offered for sale there in association with Amazon.com. We also invite you to review our horse breeding short course details, as well as stallion semen freezing and other services that Equine-Reproduction.com is pleased to be able to offer the horse-breeding public. Our bulletin board is an active community with a large membership that discusses and provides information on a wide variety of horse breeding topics.

If you have a question about anything you see on our site, or about any other horse breeding matters, or if you have a subject that you feel would be a good topic for an article to be written about, please contact us! Feedback is important to us to make this a useful site for all. If you would like to add a link to this site from your own, please feel free to do so. To assist you in this, we have some pre-formatted links available for you to copy here.

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