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The advantages of pregnancy checking
The advantages of pregnancy checks...

Most of us have quit breeding our mares because it is becoming so late, the stud farm has quit collecting, or the owners are just worn out.  The intense heat has not helped the situation and tests the resolve of the most adamant horse owner.

The mares bred during July and August will be foaling in June and July next year.  With a little luck and some advance preparation the mare may breed back on foal heat.  Foal heat breeding will back up her due date by three weeks.  But should she decide to wait until the second heat (or misses on the foal heat breeding), her due date will be right back in the middle of the summer.

I am sure we have all had our mares checked for pregnancy.  For those diagnosed pregnant with the ultrasound unit, a recheck after forty five days is indicated.  The ultrasound is usually done around twenty days of pregnancy.  The embryo is not yet implanted into the uterine wall and is still very mobile.  By the end of thirty days the embryo has attached to the wall.  Once this attachment occurs the prognosis for a successful pregnancy improves.

If your mare has not been diagnosed pregnant, now is the time to have it done.  Even though you may not plan to breed her anymore this year if she is open, knowing her status will allow you to plan for next year.  Should she be open, we can do a reproductive exam to determine why she did not conceive and carry the pregnancy.

If there is an infection, she can be treated to cure it.  To delay treating an infection of the uterus will only give the organisms more time to invade and damage the tissue lining.  Infections of the uterus usually do not clear up or improve this time of the year.  The decreasing daylight hours are telling the mare it is time to stop all this foolishness.  If she stops cycling, the cleansing effect of her heats will decrease and allow any organisms within the uterus to grow.  This will only lengthen the cleanup time required before breeding can begin next spring.

Another disadvantage of not knowing the pregnancy status of the mare is the timing of the breeding next year.  If we assume our mare is pregnant and due in June, we are comfortable waiting until mid June or even early July for the mare who may be going past the due date a week or two.  By the time we decide to find out is she pregnant and going way over, it is very late into the summer.

Should the mare be open and free of any problems, we will evaluate the conformation of her external genitalia (vulva).  If the mare is in her teens, has had several foals, or is one of the breeds that does not have a heavily muscled rear end, her vulva may be tipped forward.  This allows contamination of the vulva and vagina and a resulting infection.  When the cervix opens for the heat period every three weeks, the infection migrates into the uterus.  The resulting infection causes deterioration of the uterine lining.

We can repair the vulva by suturing the lips together.  This blocks entry of the bacteria and will be very beneficial in preventing further contamination.  It is a procedure that does more for the reproductive health of the mare than any other.

Pregnancy checking the mare now will allow us to plan for the next breedinq season.  The confirmation of a pregnancy gives us an intense feeling of accomplishment well worth the trouble of doing it.

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