Mare Breeding Problems: Make Room for Baby

One of your main objectives whether you own or work with broodmares should be to produce the maximum number of live, healthy foals from the mares bred during the previous season. Perhaps the biggest obstacle to achieving this aim is the “problem” mare.
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One of your main objectives whether you own or work with broodmares should be to produce the maximum number of live, healthy foals from the mares bred during the previous season. Perhaps the biggest obstacle to achieving this aim is the "problem" mare. The biggest category of problem mare is the so-called "dirty" mare, or mare with a persistent infection that keeps her from either getting pregnant or maintaining a pregnancy. Commitment from the mare owner, breeding farm staff, and veterinarian is needed to successfully handle this mare. The owner should be made aware of the problem at the outset and be given a realistic expectation as to the chance of success.

This article will consider the dirty mare and how to provide effective management to help get her in foal. Particular emphasis will be on the mare susceptible to persistent post-breeding uterine infection.

Failure to Conceive

Many mares which cycle, but fail to conceive, have infections in their reproductive tracts–hence they are sometimes called "dirty" mares. While the term dirty mare is in common usage in breeding, it is not always appreciated that there are several causes of a mare being persistently infected

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Written by:

Jonathan F. Pycock, BVetMed, PhD, Dipl. ESM, MRCVS, operates Equine Reproductive Services, a first opinion and referral private equine practice based in Yorkshire, England. He has published many papers and book chapters on a variety of equine reproductive topics, and edited the book Equine Reproduction and Stud Medicine. His main interests include ultrasonography, breeding the problem mare, and artificial insemination. Currently, he is evaluating the use of oxytocin and depot oxytocin as a post-breeding treatment for mares.

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