Breeding the Older Mare

Older mares’ reproductive ability declines, and getting and keeping them pregnant become more problematic.
Share
Favorite
Close

No account yet? Register

ADVERTISEMENT

By the time a broodmare enters her late teens and early 20s, her reproductive ability begins to decline, and getting and keeping her pregnant become more problematic. The causes of reproductive difficulties in the older mare are numerous, but in many situations, good management, accurate diagnostics, and appropriate medical or surgical therapies can optimize the chances of producing healthy foals right up until the time there are essentially no more eggs in the basket.

Pregnancy Prohibitors

Contamination and infection, both of which can cause an inflammatory response, are primary reasons for reproductive failure in the older mare. The presence of inflammation in the uterus can destroy the semen or embryo.

In the aging mare, the leading cause for contamination and infection is poor anatomical conformation and, consequently, the reduced efficiency of the anatomical barriers that help keep infection and urinary, fecal, and air-born contaminants out of the reproductive tract. John Dascanio, VMD, Dipl. ACT, Dipl. ABVP, Associate Professor, Equine Field Service/Theriogenology, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, identifies the three most common conformational disorders. The first barrier to infection is the vulva. A number of older mares ‘will have a tilted vulva where their anus is sunken inward,’ he says. ‘This causes the vulva to tilt, allowing the mare to defecate on top of her vulva and contaminate her reproductive tract. In addition, the lips of the vulva may not seal as tightly, often due to multiple Caslick’s operations or past trauma

Create a free account with TheHorse.com to view this content.

TheHorse.com is home to thousands of free articles about horse health care. In order to access some of our exclusive free content, you must be signed into TheHorse.com.

Start your free account today!

Already have an account?
and continue reading.

Share

Written by:

Marcia King is an award-winning freelance writer based in Ohio who specializes in equine, canine, and feline veterinary topics. She’s schooled in hunt seat, dressage, and Western pleasure.

Related Articles

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with

FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com

Sponsored Content

Weekly Poll

sponsored by:

Has your veterinarian used SAA testing for your horse(s)?
67 votes · 67 answers

Readers’ Most Popular

Sign In

Don’t have an account? Register for a FREE account here.

Need to update your account?

You need to be logged in to fill out this form

Create a free account with TheHorse.com!