Mare breeding soundness exams
This is performed to classify a mare’s reproductive health status. It is often performed in problem mares to identify causes of poor fertility or in maiden mares to assess reproductive health prior to breeding. A breeding soundness exam consists of trans-rectal palpation and trans-rectal ultrasound for evaluation of the ovaries, uterus and cervix. In addition, a vaginal speculum exam, uterine culture, uterine cytology, and uterine biopsy will be performed. Results will help identify problems such as uterine inflammation, uterine infection, uterine fibrosis, and other deficiencies in the reproductive tract that may need additional treatment/management around the time of breeding.
Breeding management and artificial insemination
Serial reproductive ultrasound examinations and cycle manipulation via drug administration will be done to identify ovulation and time breeding accordingly. Breeding can be done via artificial insemination or natural hand-breeding.
We can determine if your mare is having a colt or a filly! This can be done via trans-rectal ultrasound 9-10 weeks after ovulation or trans-abdominal ultrasound 15-17 weeks after ovulation.
Twins are not wanted in equine pregnancies as they can result in devastating consequences to the foal(s) and/or the mare. The best time to manage a twin pregnancy is early! Initial pregnancy checks are always recommended between day 14-16 after ovulation; at this time, a twin can easily be identified and managed.
Embryo donor/recipient management and transfer
Embryo transfer is an advancement in reproductive techniques in which a donor mare is bred and an embryo (very early baby) is flushed out of her uterus and placed into the uterus of a surrogate, or recipient mare. The recipient mare carries the foal to term. This procedure is recommended for mares that have a difficult time getting in foal, those that have a difficult time maintaining a pregnancy, those that have a busy show schedule, and those that have a physical limitation to carrying a pregnancy.
Similar to embryo transfer (above), a donor mare is bred and an embryo is flushed from her uterus within a week. If a recipient/surrogate mare is not available or you simply want to preserve genetics of a certain mare/stallion combination, the embryo can be frozen in liquid nitrogen indefinitely until a surrogate is identified. Once a surrogate is identified, the embryo can be thawed and placed in her uterus to carry the foal to term.
Oocyte collection via trans-vaginal aspiration (TVA)
This advanced reproductive procedure involves harvesting oocytes, or eggs, from the ovaries of mares. TVA is done standing and under sedation. It can be done at any point in the mare’s cycle and minimal time is required for the procedure. Upon recovery, the oocytes are shipped directly to a laboratory that will mature them and perform ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection), in which one sperm cell is injected directly into the oocyte to achieve fertilization. The embryo is matured in the lab until it is old enough to be transferred into a surrogate/recipient mare, who will carry the foal to term. This procedure is recommended for problem mares with a history of infertility, mares that have intense show schedules, mares in which embryo transfer has been unsuccessful, and mares whose stallions required ICSI due to limited supply of semen or subfertility.
Pregnancy monitoring in high risk mares
Pregnancy monitoring is done in high-risk mares, mares with abnormal pregnancy and mares with a history of abnormal pregnancy. This involves weekly ultrasound evaluations to monitor fetal and placenta health. This can be performed during the last 3-4 months of pregnancy. Treatments are implemented accordingly.
Mare foaling out
Your mare may be brought to JVC for foaling out in which she will be monitored day and night for signs of delivery. Upon entry, your mare will be evaluated daily. As she progresses, milk calcium and pH testing will be performed to aid in identification of impending delivery. When these tests show foaling is near, your mare will be watched 24/7 and if needed, assistance will be available during the foaling process. If there is a problem, it will be quickly recognized and managed accordingly. The foal will be observed for standing, nursing, and normal health.
Medical management of dystocia
Mares are typically pretty good at delivering their foals. However, every once in a while, a problem occurs and it is a true emergency. If your mare is in labor and has not delivered in 20-30 minutes or is not progressing during delivery, a veterinarian needs to be called immediately. Depending on the conversation, a surgical plan or medical plan can be instituted to aid in delivery of the foal.
Uterine culture and cytology
Uterine culture and cytology can be performed at request of a stallion contract, in a mare with signs of uterine infection, or as a part of a breeding soundness exam.
A Caslick’s procedure, or vulvoplasty, is a minor surgical procedure that involves closing a small portion of the vulva. It can be performed in mares with an external reproductive conformation that challenges the ability to maintain a pregnancy. In addition, it is also performed in young mares that have pain associated with ‘wind-sucking’ during performance.
A full reproductive consultation and evaluation will be performed to identify behavior associated with the estrous cycle. Based on exam findings, recommendations can be made to treat behavior.
Stallion collection and semen processing
A tease mare and phantom are used for semen collection. Following semen collection, semen evaluation will include obtaining total sperm numbers, progressive motility, and morphology. This can be done for a baseline evaluation, side-by-side breeding, semen shipment, and semen freezing.
Stallion training to phantom
Utilizing a tease mare, a novice stallion will undergo phantom training sessions as needed until semen collection occurs using an artificial vagina. Each session will last 20-30 minutes. A stallion will learn preparation for the breeding shed (including penile cleansing), breeding shed behavior, phantom mounting, and ejaculation into an artificial vagina.
Semen longevity testing
Longevity testing can be performed on stallion sperm to determine sperm quality over a period of a few days. This will give you an idea of how long your stallion’s semen will remain viable in the mare’s oviduct or chilled/packaged.
Additional semen diagnostics
Abnormal ejaculates may require additional testing such ejaculate fractioning and semen culture to aid in identification of the location where challenges are occurring. In addition, other tests may be done on semen to aid in diagnosis of a problem. Testicular ultrasound can be performed to evaluate the character of the tissue within the testicle.
Stallion Breeding soundness exam
A full breeding soundness exam includes semen collection and evaluation of sperm count, motility, and morphology. In addition, testicles are ultrasounded and measured via testicle calipers to determine your stallion’s daily sperm production. Finally, accessory sex glands are evaluation via trans-rectal ultrasound.
A test freeze is recommended prior to freezing and storing semen on your stallion. After your stallion is collected, the ejaculate is evaluated in 3 different types of semen extenders using 2 different concentration techniques. This will allow us to pick the best freezing extender type and concentration technique for your stallion based on sperm quality outcomes after the freezing process. The ability to select a freezing extender your stallion does best in will allow for better quality frozen semen.
A full semen collection and evaluation (see above) will be performed. Following evaluation, semen will be subjected to a freezing protocol that will ultimately result in preservation of semen in liquid nitrogen indefinitely. JVC offers semen storage on site via signed contract.