Breeding the Problem Mare With Endometritis

Learn how to manage these challenging cases and improve the mare’s chance of producing a live foal.
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In theory, horse breeding is simple: Mare plus stallion equals foal. However, it’s not always that straightforward. From sterile stallions to anestrus mares, reproductive veterinarians are often faced with challenging cases that require some problem-solving and subsequent treatment.

At the 2015 World Equine Veterinary Association Congress, held Oct. 8-10 in Guadalajara, Mexico, reproduction specialist Patrick McCue, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACT, took a closer look at managing the problem mare. McCue is a professor of equine theriogenology at Colorado State University’s Equine Reproduction Laboratory, in Fort Collins.

Several scenarios can lead to a patient being labeled a “problem mare,” McCue said, including:

  • Not becoming pregnant after being bred to a fertile stallion over the course of three estrous cycles;
  • Being unable to successfully carry a foal to term;
  • Having known reproductive pathology; or
  • Having behavior issues related to reproduction.

He said it’s crucial to make an accurate diagnosis of the problem before developing a treatment and management program, and he encouraged practitioners to devise a systematic plan for evaluating problem mares

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Erica Larson, former news editor for The Horse, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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