New Hormone Therapy to Enhance Fertility in Mares

A researcher shares how using recombinant equine gonadotropins can support advanced reproductive technologies in horses.

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New Hormone Therapy to Enhance Fertility in Mares
Veterinarians have turned to a variety of advanced reproductive technologies to enhance mare fertility. | Photo: Kevin Thompson/The Horse
Mare pregnancy rates are only 60-80% due to factors ranging from age to stress to poor uterine environments. As such, veterinarians have turned to a variety of advanced reproductive technologies (ART) to enhance mare fertility.

As one of the keynote speakers at the 2019 Equine Science Society Symposium, held June 3-6 in Asheville, North Carolina, Janet F. Roser, PhD, professor emeritus in the University of California, Davis, Department of Animal Science, described current technologies, as well as a new hormone therapy with the potential to make them even more effective: recombinant equine gonadotropins.

First, Roser listed ART techniques and their limitations.

  1. Embryo transfer (ET), which involves removing an embryo from a donor mare and placing it in a recipient mare’s uterus to carry to term. It’s a common way breeders get foals from performance mares or mares with health problems.

“One of the problems with ET is obtaining one if not more embryos from the donor mare,” Roser said. “Whereas a single ovulating mare results in a 50% embryo recovery rate, double or triple ovulations would result in a higher recovery rate

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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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