After waiting eleven months to see that new baby, horse breeders are usually relieved when the mare finally delivers her foal. While all goes well in the majority of equine births, there are still a few things to check in the hours and days immediately after a foal is born.
For mares that fail to become pregnant after multiple breeding attempts, research results might suggest a treatment that could help in some cases. If the tubes leading to the uterus are blocked, sperm and fertilized embryos are not able to travel along them.
One cause of late abortion in mares is infection with leptospires, bacteria that are found world-wide. Mares infected with leptospires rarely show any signs of illness before having an abortion or giving birth to a dead or non-viable foal.
Loss of pregnancy in the first 50 days after breeding is fairly common in broodmares. If the loss is noticed early enough that the mare can be rebred, the owner may still get a live foal in the spring.
Top Thoroughbred stallions may cover as many as three mares a day during the peak months of the breeding season. Advancing age, fatigue, a need for more dietary energy, or other factors can also dull a horse’s interest in breeding.
Embryo transfer is a technique in which a mare (donor) conceives through natural or artificial insemination and the embryo is flushed from the uterus before it implants. The embryo is then introduced into the uterus of another mare (recipient) where it implants and matures.
Gender in horses is determined by the sex chromosomes inherited from a foal’s parents. Chromosomes carried in the sex cells carry DNA that holds the blueprint for a developing embryo.
Granulosa-theca cell tumors can affect any mare but are most common in mares from five to 10 years old. Mares of all breeds may be affected.
Horses have eight major blood groups but more than 30 variations within these groups. Most of the time, blood groups are not an issue, but one exception, neonatal isoerythrolysis (NI), is important. This condition can be fatal to newborn foals.
Eastern tent caterpillars are dispersing from wild cherry trees and may be found on fences, barn surfaces, and grass blades in central Kentucky.
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