Researchers in Denmark developed a product that would help mares with infertility caused by dormant bacterial infections of the uterus.
Potentially pathogenic bacteria were isolated from 31% of over 8,000 cultures taken from mares of different breeds in central Florida.
The majority of mares give birth without difficulty, moving smoothly through the various stages of labor and parturition. However, mare owners and foaling managers need to know when the mare is not making progress and may require intervention to ensure the well-being of mare and foal.
Stallion fertility can be influenced by nutrition, management, presentation of mares, and the stallion’s age, among other factors. To ensure the best pregnancy rates, managers need to take several factors into consideration.
Deciding whether to breed on foal heat depends on many factors, including the health of the mare after parturition and the breeder's goals for the resulting foals and the mare.
Breeding mares by artificial insemination can be accomplished using fresh semen, chilled semen, or frozen-thawed semen. Each option has its own method of use and average rate of pregnancy. Of these three techniques, using frozen-thawed semen to inseminate mares seems to be most tricky.
Premature foals born before 300 days of gestation have a low chance of survival. However, many premature foals do well with supportive care, eventually growing as well as full-term foals and catching up by or before two years of age.
Breeding a mare when she is most fertile is the best way to optimize the chance of pregnancy. Because the mare is at the peak of fertility for only a few hours during each three-week-long reproductive cycle, careful management of breeding mares is necessary.
Experienced broodmare managers know some of the usual signs that show a mare is close to giving birth. However, first-time breeders may not as be familiar with these signs. In order to be more prepared for delivery of a foal, anyone keeping a pregnant mare should watch for these indications.
Umbilical hernia is not an uncommon condition of newborn foals. With proper management, umbilical hernias can be rectified, and most affected foals have no long-term defects.
Researchers developed a lightweight facemask complete with a low-level blue light to help mares come into season earlier. The device shows promise for managing broodmares bred early in the year when natural light is inadequate.
Does exercise have a detrimental effect on reproduction in mares? And if so, are there certain times in the reproductive cycle or intensities of exercise that are more damaging than others? Researchers investigated these questions recently.
Insulin resistance occurs in pregnant mares, though it remains unknown how much pregnancy complicates insulin resistance with equine metabolic syndrome.
In some parts of the world, breeding season is right around the corner. The sequence of events that leads to ovulation and potential fertilization are fairly straightforward and summarized here.
Placentitis affects thousands of mares annually, making the problem a significant one for breeders worldwide. Researchers recently took a closer look at factors that might predispose mares to infection.
Many broodmares in the Northern Hemisphere are into, or quickly approaching, the third trimester of pregnancy, a period that is a critical in avoiding problems caused by grazing on tall fescue.
Researchers have evaluated a technique to determine fetal sex in horses using circulating cell-free fetal DNA. This technique has been used in humans, but it was not known whether it would be reliable in horses.
When their racing careers are over, many of the fillies are sent on to new careers as broodmares. At that point, virtually every aspect of their management changes.
A recent study found no correlation between successful breeding and the presence or absence of potentially pathogenic bacteria on stallions, though it should not be concluded that there is no correlation whatsoever between breeding success and all types of bacteria in every circumstance.
Can COPD in horses have a genetic component or affect the quality of colostrum?
The basis of mare reproduction is the estrous cycle, which is the time taken for the development of an egg within an ovarian follicle to the stage that it can be fertilized by a sperm, and for the preparation of the mare’s reproductive tract so that fertilization can occur.
About 14% of late-pregnant mares in Australia deliver a dead or extremely ill foal that survives only with intensive veterinary care. Bacterial placentitis is the cause of these problems in about half the cases.
Stallion fertility depends on many factors, and unlike mares, stallions are sometimes expected to be fertile all year, every year.
Newborns often show a variety of limb abnormalities, but many of these will self-correct during the first days or weeks of life as the foal grows and exercises.
I have a mare with insulin resistance, and I am having trouble getting her in foal. What can I do?
Foals rarely have difficulty swallowing. Milk observed draining from one or both nostrils is a sign of difficulty swallowing, and a veterinarian should be contacted immediately.
Abortion is the abnormal expulsion of a fetus any time from the first month to full term. Up to 30% of mares that conceive will lose the fetus before foaling. Most of these losses occur in the first 35 days of pregnancy.
Research has led to the development of a technique to identify defective genes in embryos as early as seven days after fertilization, allowing breeders to sidestep the birth of a foal affected by a fatal genetic disease.
With embryo transfer, a reproductive technique being used more and more frequently, a foal can be produced from a particular mare even though she will not physically carry and give birth to a baby.
Most domestic foals are weaned between five and seven months of age. This is in stark contrast to foals in the wild that may not be weaned until the next foal is born. So, when is the best time to separate foals from their dams?
The relatively mild and short-lived diarrhea experienced by many foals when they are about seven to ten days old has been termed foal-heat diarrhea because it often coincides with the mare’s first estrous cycle after giving birth.
A recent study revealed that many of the young foals referred to veterinary clinics for various maladies had significant eye abnormalities in addition to the primary illness.
When a foal’s dam dies or is not able to nurture her offspring for any reason, care and feeding of the youngster must be handled another way.
Due to trunk compression during birth, a common injury in newborn foals is broken ribs. Occurring in as many as one in five neonatal foals, simple rib fractures can usually be treated and will heal with few complications.
Jaundice is one indication of neonatal isoerythrolysis, a serious condition in which the foal’s red blood cells are attacked by antibodies in the mare’s colostrum.
What do I feed my already-overweight pregnant mare during the last three months of gestation?
Reproductive potential begins to decline in mares that are more than 15 years old. Older mares have a higher incidence of pregnancy loss, possibly due to defective oocytes, changes in the intrauterine environment, or other factors.
Do foals drink water? If so, how much?
Mares of breeding age naturally begin to show an active estrous cycle in mid to late spring of each year, but there are many reasons why a mare may fail to cycle normally.
Delivering a foal goes well for many mares, but problems may occasionally show up shortly after the foal is born.
Artificial insemination (AI) is an advantageous option for many breeders because it eliminates transporting a horse for breeding and also allows a stallion to impregnate a much larger number of mares than would be possible by live cover.
Foals that miss out on colostrum are at risk of infection from a host of environmental microbes, so getting this vital fluid into a neonate is extremely important.
Though it occurs infrequently, rejection of a foal by its dam can cause serious health problems for the newborn if not dealt with immediately.
After seven months of gestation, the equine fetus begins to develop rapidly, and the mare's nutrient requirements become significantly greater during this time.
Your pregnant mare’s foaling date may still be months away, but there are a few things to think about right now to assure a healthy mare and foal next spring.
In foals, cribbing is often related to feeding schedule and composition of meals.
Consider the health, performance, and reproductive history of potential broodmares.
Preliminary results from a study on flexural limb deformity and contracted foal syndrome showed that the deformities have a genetic component that is complex and poorly understood.
Mares that continue to come into heat or have more frequent heat periods may be suffering from ovarian tumors, infection, or other disease conditions.
Researchers set out to establish factors, including book size, that affect live foal rates of Thoroughbred stallions in Kentucky.
In order to investigate the effect of race training and performance on future breeding success, researchers examined the records of over 60,000 harness horses, both mares and stallions, that raced and subsequently were retired to breeding careers.
Can temperature and rainfall affect growth rate of foals? According to researchers in Kentucky, the answer is yes.
Though uncommon, when mastitis occurs in mares, it is a painful condition that should be treated quickly.
All horses imported into the United States are tested for dourine, a venereal disease, except if imported from Iceland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
The Bureau of Land Management will begin testing a longer-lasting contraceptive product on 100 mustang mares.
<p> If I switch my overweight lactating broodmare from a sweet feed to a ration balancer, will there be a drop in milk production?</p>
Placentitis caused by bacterial or fungal infection of the placenta is a major cause of fetal loss in late-pregnant mares.
The most important decision that the veterinarian must make when dealing with high-risk pregnancy in maresis when to intervene.
Bleeding into the broad ligament of the uterus or directly into the abdominal cavity is a common and often fatal postpartum emergency in broodmare practice.
Techniques continue to be developed to aid equine reproduction.
A genetic mutation is the cause of cerebellar abiotrophy, an untreatable neurologic disorder that mainly affects horses of Arabian breeding.
Leptospirosis is spread from wild animals to horses when bacteria enter through the skin or membranes of the eye or mouth.
How quickly can a mare return to riding and training after she has a foal?
Colic, a general term that describes abdominal discomfort, can affect horses of all ages, even the very young.
Equine proliferative enteropathy (EPE) is a gastrointestinal disease that results in thickened intestine and slower growth for weanling horses.
Though cases of foal heat diarrhea vary in severity, one unfortunate but common side effect of scours is the loss of hair on both sides of the tail as well as a possible trail of hair loss down the hind limbs.
Want a colt instead of a filly from your mare's next pregnancy?
It is thought that diarrhea, common in young foals, might be a result of an imbalance of helpful and harmful microbes.
Sick foals that end up in neonatal intensive care units usually have a pretty good chance of surviving.
For all mares bred in a season, only about 80% will give birth to a live foal at term.
It's true that older broodmares don't need to look as slick and polished as sales prospects, but there's one aspect of their care that is vitally important to their comfort: proper hoof maintenance.
A study conducted in Italy looked at the possible relationship between Cryptosporidium parvum and foal heat diarrhea.
Complications just before, during, or after birth can result in a decreased oxygen supply to the foal's brain.
Pregnant mares grazing fescue pastures or eating hay containing fescue are at risk for fescue toxicosis.
Australian horse owners whose mares have suffered early-term abortions suspect the problem has been caused by caterpillars.
Among the various supplements given to stallions in hopes of improving semen quality, some are more effective than others.
Endometritis, the inflammation of the lining of a mare's uterus, affects up to 15% of broodmares and is a major cause of infertility
Newborn foals may be affected by a number of problems, some of which have similar signs.
A new technique could be used to determine imminent ovulation without having mares palpated by a veterinarian.
Without a doubt, the nutritional status of mares is a critical component in foal health from the moment of conception and continues through weaning.
Problems associated with fescue are recognized among nutritionists and breeders alike.
Double conception in horses is not unusual, although birth of live, healthy twin foals does not happen with any regularity. One or both embryos are commonly absorbed by the mare early in pregnancy.
Placentitis (inflammation of the placenta) may be caused by bacterial or fungal infection of the uterus, most often by organisms entering through the reproductive tract.
Stallion semen collected for artificial insemination can be chilled to maintain quality for about 24 to 48 hours.
When health records from 14 cloned foals produced at Texas A & M University between 2004 and 2008 were examined, it was noted that 6 of the 14 were normal at birth while 8 showed problems such as angular forelimb deformities, neonatal maladjustment syndrome ("dummy foals"), and enlarged umbilical remnants.
Lameness and pre-purchase exams commonly include a flexion test of the forelegs.
<p> Could you suggest a change in management or a supplement that can help us stimulate heat in these mares?</p>
Researchers looked for an association, if any, between the age of the dam and the foal's risk of fracture later in life, and also any correlation between birth order (dam's first foal or a later foal) and risk of fracture.
<p> How can I help my mare gain weight before breeding season?</p>
An aged broodmare sometimes requires an extra dash of diligence by caretakers and health-care professionals. Despite some misguided lore, it is possible for those grizzled, sunken backed doyennes of the broodmare band to be fleshy and in fine fettle during all phases of production.
The USDA recently released information collected by an equine demographics, health, and management survey.
A number of Thoroughbred mares and their foals, all born in central Kentucky, were studied to assess the influence of month of birth, season, and gender on body weight, condition score, and daily weight gain. Foals grow rapidly following birth, often quadrupling their body weight by five months of age.
Weaning is synonymous with stress. The process produces anxiety among foals and mares, not to mention their caretakers. To ease the transition all foals must face-from maternal coddling to self-sufficiency among peers-owners can do a little homework before the day of parting arrives.
<p> How can you ensure a mare produces high-quality milk for her foal?</p>
<p> How much milk does a mature mare produce? How does it compare to the daily output of a dairy cow?</p>
Improving the land, acquiring premier breeding stock, building an experienced and capable staff, and following expert nutritional advice have moved Vessels Stallion Farm to its position at the top of the equine industry.
The processes and techniques involved in producing a cloned animal are time-consuming, expensive, and subject to a number of problems. At this stage of research, producing a live foal is not a guaranteed outcome.
Some foals don't seem to recognize the mare and are unable to nurse. They may wander around the stall, getting stuck in a corner and being unable to find their way out. Others slip into frequent periods of deep sleep, have seizures, or make strange "barking" vocalizations.
Mares come into estrus about seven to 14 days after giving birth. This period coincides with the occurrence of diarrhea in about 80% of foals, hence the name "foal heat diarrhea." There is no certain explanation as to why foals get diarrhea at this time, and various possible causes-influence of hormonal changes in mare's milk, foal begins to eat mare's manure, bacterial infection, parasite infestation-have been advanced.
Lactating mares use energy, calcium, and phosphorus at a greatly increased rate.
West Nile virus was first reported in the northeast United States in 1999. Since then, cases have been reported in almost every state and several Canadian provinces. Spread by mosquitoes, the virus can infect humans, horses, donkeys, mules, birds, and a host of other animals ranging from bears to alligators. Many infected horses are asymptomatic or show only slight fever or listlessness for a few days.
Higgins, on the other hand, weighed a walloping 243 pounds at 28 days of age. Colts of his age born in April usually hit the 205-pound mark. This fact makes Higgins about 18% heavier than others his age. Higgins is not obese, in fact few foals are, but he possesses height and scope, likely a reflection of his tall, lanky mother.
When the realization hit that his dam was nowhere to be found, Shout became uneasy and lapped the field at a full tilt gallop. Higgins did little to ease Shout's anxiety, merely watching the seemingly half-crazed Shout careen around the field. Skean seemed less fazed by the separation; she may have even been relieved to bid farewell to her youngster.
Skean, completely exhausted, lay motionless on the floor, breathing deeply. Milk once again flowed from her udder. Meanwhile, the veterinarians resuscitated the foal and gave him a thorough once-over, declaring him healthy except for a few fractured ribs. Skean gently rolled onto her chest, folded her legs underneath her, and offered the softest, most endearing nicker any mare could possibly bestow.
Evaluating the body condition of pregnant mares may become more difficult during late gestation, as the combined weight of the fetus and amniotic fluid may pull the skin tightly over the vertebral column and ribcage. Therefore, it's best to place emphasis on other key areas: along the withers, behind the shoulder, and around the tailhead.
For mares with known or suspected fescue exposure, managers should be sure the foaling is attended and a veterinarian is available. This is recommended even if mares have been treated with domperidone or fluphenazine. The attendant may need to cut the thickened placenta or help the mare expel a very large foal that is several weeks overdue.
Temperament is certainly a factor in deciding which stallions make good candidates for shuttling, but it is only one small piece of the decision-making process. Bloodlines are a larger factor.
A constellation of the finest scientists-veterinarians, agronomists, toxicologists, arborists, nutritionists, entomologists, meteorologists, and epidemiologists from all over the world-remain baffled a year after the onset of the crippling economic and emotional war waged in central Kentucky and its surrounding lands, the mecca of Thoroughbred breeding.
The ideal environment for a mare that is about to foal is a clean grass paddock where the mare can be observed with as little disruption as possible, but inclement weather or insufficient lighting can make this impractical.
<p> I was told by a stallion owner that my mare is “too fat” and won’t get pregnant at her present body weight. Can this be true?</p>
To anyone who has ever loved a horse, every healthy foal is a miracle. It is a joy and a wonder to watch them stand on their wobbly legs, take their first tentative steps, and find their first meal. While the vast majority of foals born every year find their way into the world in the usual fashion, occasionally a foal will arrive that provides a new definition for the word miracle.
Foals orphaned at a very early age should either be placed on a foster "nurse" mare or receive an artificial milk substitute. In either case, it is imperative that the newborn receives adequate quantities of colostrum. Obviously, if the mare dies at birth, the foal must be given colostrum from another mare.