Biofilms and Mare Infertility

Find out what researchers have learned about treating endometritis caused by biofilms.
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Biofilm. No, it’s not a documentary playing at your local art-house theater or the newest sci-fi flick, but it might be what’s standing between your mare and pregnancy.

Bacterial infection of a mare’s reproductive tract, or endometritis, is a significant cause of equine infertility. The condition is often chronic and resistant to treatment, which is frustrating for mare owners, veterinarians, and researchers and can cause significant economic loss for the horse industry, said Ryan Ferris, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACT, of Colorado State University’s (CSU) Department of Clinical Sciences.

With an eye on chronic endometritis in the mare, Ferris has spent the past two years studying biofilms—a group of any microorganisms that stick to each other and a surface—and their possible relationship to mare infertility. He presented his team’s preliminary research findings at the 2014 American College of Theriogenology (Animal Reproduction) Symposium held Aug. 6-9 in Portland, Oregon

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Michelle Anderson is the former digital managing editor at The Horse. A lifelong horse owner, Anderson competes in dressage and enjoys trail riding. She’s a Washington State University graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in business administration and extensive coursework in animal sciences. She has worked in equine publishing since 1998. She currently lives with her husband on a small horse property in Central Oregon.

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