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Breeding the Problem Mare

Breeding Management Packages at UF Large Animal Hospital

Contact our reproduction specialists to discuss if a breeding management package is right for your mare. We offer several discounted package options that include:

  • Equine ReproductionShort or long-term boarding
  • A physical exam
  • Three days of breeding management (US examinations and teasing)
  • Ovulatory induction agent
  • The first pregnancy examination (at or around 14 days post-ovulation)
  • Additional options for fresh or frozen semen

What does the UF Breeding Management Program offer you?

Our reproductive specialists are able to use advanced diagnostic techniques and treatments to diagnose and treat problems in your mare (see ‘What is a Problem Mare?’ below). We will work with you and your veterinarian to develop a plan to maximize your mare’s chances of becoming pregnant. Breeding packages are available to clients to allow your mare to stay at the University while being closely monitored for peak fertility. We will examine your mare daily, documenting the size of ovarian follicles and ensuring that the mare is bred at the best possible time for conception. Depending on the stallion you would like to breed your mare to, we can use a variety of types of semen.

  • Cooled, Transported Semen – We will work with the farm of the stallion you have chosen farm to organize and facilitate shipment of semen so that it occurs at the best possible time for breeding. Our specialists will inseminate your mare at the optimal time and arrange for additional doses of semen if needed.
  • Frozen Semen – If you desire to breed with frozen semen, we will work with the farm of the stallion you have chosen to arrange shipment and storage of this valuable semen. Our facilities are fully stocked with appropriately maintained liquid nitrogen tanks which can store your purchased semen until needed. We will monitor your mare closely and ensure  breeding at the best time for fertility.
  • Deep Horn Insemination – In some mares, the placement of semen within the reproductive tract for breeding is helpful in assisting with fertilization. Deep Horn Insemination involves placing the semen deep into the uterus to help the sperm get to the right area for fertilization. Our specialists at UF are skilled in this technique and can provide it when needed for your mare.
  • Hysteroscopic Insemination (“Low Dose” Insemination) – Sometimes the best stallion for your mare may be deceased, or have poor fertility, in these cases we can place the semen directly on the opening of the oviduct to ensure it gets to the right area for fertilization. This is done with the assistance of the endoscope and can easily be performed here at UF.
  • Live Cover Breeding – We are happy to work with you to monitor your mare for live cover breeding. We will work with your stallion’s farm to schedule the mare’s breeding at the optimum time. We will ensure that your mare is evaluated closely for reproductive problems, that may occur during the estrous cycle.

Following breeding, we will monitor the mare closely and perform any medical treatments needed.  For mares that accumulate fluid following breeding, we are able to perform medical treatments quickly to minimize inflammation that can occur following breeding in problem mares.  We will document ovulation and can even keep your mare until the pregnancy examination, two weeks later, if so desired.

Evaluation and Equine Breeding Management of the Problem Mare at UF

UF Equine Reproduction Dr. PozorThe veterinary reproduction specialists at UF are dedicated to the reproductive health of horses and can assist in the evaluation and breeding management of your mare. Whether you own a maiden mare that is going to be bred for the first time, or an older mare that has had problems achieving pregnancy or carrying one to term, our team of specialists are available to provide superior diagnostics, treatment, and care for your mare.

What is a problem mare?

A so-called “problem mare” is a mare that has difficulty achieving pregnancy or carrying a pregnancy to term. Just because a mare has not achieved pregnancy in the past does not necessarily mean that the mare is infertile. We classify a problem mare as:

  • A mare that has difficulty achieving pregnancy
  • A mare that does not display normal reproductive behavior during the breeding season
  • A mare that has gotten pregnant in the past, but never produced a foal due to pregnancy loss
  • A mare that has a history of uterine infection or other reproductive abnormalities

Diagnosing the Problem Mare

Some mares may appear normal and display normal behavior when teased to a stallion, but still do not get pregnant. The specialists at the University of Florida are able to offer a set of diagnostic screening tests – known as a Breeding Soundness Evaluation (BSE) – to help identify potential reasons for not achieving pregnancy. Some of the more advanced procedures that we can offer at the University of Florida include:

  • Ultrasonographic Examination of the Reproductive Tract – Using this diagnostic tool the specialists at UF can accurately image your mare’s uterus and ovaries. Any uterine abnormalities such as cysts or abnormal fluid can be documented and a treatment plan developed to correct them. Your mare’s ovaries can be closely evaluated and monitored to determine if the mare is cycling, ovulating, or has any abnormal structures such as tumors or abnormal follicles that may interfere with fertility.
  • Low-Volume Uterine Lavage – This diagnostic tool allows the veterinarian to look at a small sample of fluid that has been placed into the mare’s uterus. This is helpful for identifying uterine infection or inflammation (endometritis), even in mares that have had negative uterine swab cultures in the past.
  • Uterine Biopsy Evaluation – Our specialists work with boarded veterinary pathologists to read biopsies (tissue samples) taken from a mare’s uterus. When this tissue is examined under a microscope, infection, inflammation, and scar tissue can be seen and used to predict a mare’s chance of carrying a foal to term. A biopsy can be taken by your primary care veterinarian and submitted for evaluation or can be taken here. Our reproductive specialists will then work with your veterinarian to outline a unique treatment plan and make recommendations especially designed for your mare.
  • Hysteroscopy – At the University of Florida, we have the capability of endoscopy – a specialized camera that can be used to view the inside of the mare’s uterus. This diagnostic tool is used when we are concerned about potential tumors, cysts, scarring, or other localized abnormalities of the uterus. These abnormalities can be identified, and then we can help with treatment recommendations. Our reproductive specialists can also image the uterine portion of the opening of the oviducts (Fallopian tubes) using this technique.
  • Karyotyping – Occasionally mares are born with the wrong number of chromosomes. This can make the mare infertile. The specialists at University of Florida can diagnose these abnormalities, ensuring that money is not wasted on failed breeding attempts of these mares.

Return to UF Equine & Large Animal Reproduction.