Common and Uncommon Ovarian Abnormalities

Knowing which ovarian abnormalities are benign and which are pathogenic can help vets manage mare successfully.
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Common and Uncommon Ovarian Abnormalities
About 85% of anovulatory follicles luteinize and 15% remain as persistent anovulatory follicles. | Photo: Courtesy Dr. Patrick McCue

Veterinarians see a wide variety of ovarian abnormalities when evaluating broodmare reproductive tracts. Knowing what’s benign and what’s pathogenic–causing disease or damage–can help them best manage these mares.

At the 2017 American Association of Equine Practitioners convention, held Nov. 17-21 in San Antonio, Texas, Patrick McCue, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACT, reviewed common and uncommon ovarian issues that veterinarians might encounter when performing transrectal ultrasound exams. McCue is the Iron Rose Ranch Chair in Equine Reproduction at Colorado State University’s Equine Reproduction Laboratory.

Common Ovarian Problems

Anovulatory follicles “Approximately 4% to 8% of large dominant follicles (those faster-growing that are next-up for ovulating) in a mare in estrus fail to ovulate,” said McCue. Of these anovulatory follicles, about 85% luteinize (transform into a structure that produces progesterone–the pregnancy-maintaining hormone) and 15% remain as persistent anovulatory follicles

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Alexandra Beckstett, a native of Houston, Texas, is a lifelong horse owner who has shown successfully on the national hunter/jumper circuit and dabbled in hunter breeding. After graduating from Duke University, she joined Blood-Horse Publications as assistant editor of its book division, Eclipse Press, before joining The Horse. She was the managing editor of The Horse for nearly 14 years and is now editorial director of EquiManagement and My New Horse, sister publications of The Horse.

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