Pre- and Post-Reproductive Evaluations:
Prior to breeding your mare, we recommend a general health examination and a reproductive tract evaluation with or without ultrasound. Intrauterine cultures can be completed if your mare is in season or has a history of infection. For horses with a history of miscarriage, endometrial biopsy is advised to assess uterine status.
After breeding, an evaluation is recommended to ensure ovulation and to confirm the absence of infection. An ultrasound/pregnancy evaluation is conducted 14 to 18 days post ovulation. At this time, we will consult with you to schedule follow-up examinations to confirm your mare's maintenance of her pregnancy.
The normal gestation period of mares varies from 320 to 360 days. As a mare gets ready to give birth, the udder begins to enlarge and may leak small amounts of colostrum, which dries over the ends of the teats ("waxing"). Other signs that your mare may foal include relaxation of the pelvic ligaments and elongation of the vulva. External signs of the first stage of labor include restlessness, sweating, pacing, and raising the tail. Once your mare's "water breaks," strong uterine contractions signal the second stage of labor and result in the delivery of the foal, which is generally completed within 15-20 minutes of the onset of this stage. The third stage begins after the foal is born and is defined by the expulsion of the afterbirth. In most cases, the afterbirth should be passed within an hour of foaling.
After a foal is born, it is important to have both the mare and foal evaluated by a veterinarian within 12-24 hours. Be sure to save the afterbirth for inspection by the doctor and to remove it as soon as possible from the foaling area so that it is not damaged by hooves. The doctor will examine the placenta for completeness and evidence of thickening or infection. The doctor will also examine the mare's reproductive tract for injury. The mare will be checked for milk production, udder swelling, and signs of mastitis.
Our reproductive work involves diagnosis and assessment of fertility concerns. Beginning with a physical exam and a patient history, we continue with examination of cytology and cultures as indicated. Ultrasound and endoscopic evaluation allow an internal inspection of the reproductive system. From there we pursue treatment courses specific to each individual patient.
Redwood Equine Practice works with breeders across the United State and internationally to facilitate reproduction through artificial insemination using fresh or frozen semen.