Benefits of Ultrasound Scanning in Mares
With Spring approaching and foals being born, now is the time to consider putting your mare to a stallion.
Horses are seasonal breeders. Increasing day length in early Spring stimulates ovarian activity and mares generally have regular ovulatory cycles every 21 days through the spring and summer.
Mares vary in their willingness to demonstrate oestrus behaviour and some only ‘show’ when in the presence of a stallion. Other mares are ‘silent breeders’ and exhibit no or very little behavioural signs of oestrus.
Typical behaviour includes straddling or squatting, raising the tail, frequent urination and everting the clitoris ‘winking’. Unlike cattle, mares rarely mount each other when in oestrus.
Ultrasound examination is an extremely useful tool in managing and manipulating a mares reproductive cycle:
1/ If a mare has an ultrasound examination performed when she is ‘showing’ it can enable us to determine an ideal serving date for going to the stallion or having artificial Insemination. This can aid fertilization rates and also prevent unnecessary traveling to and from the stud for mating.
2/Ultrasound examination can also help to determine the stage of cycle of mares which do not show typical oestrus signs ( silent breeders)
3/The presence of fluid /infection/ovarian abnormalities can be detected by the scanner and treatment initiated.
4/Ultrasound Scanning is used to detect pregnancy from 15-16 days post ovulation. This then allows early intervention if twin embryos are present and if a mare is not pregnant she can be ready to serve at the following ovulation.
Although ultrasound examination is a very useful tool in managing a mares reproductive cycle it does require restraint of the mare usually with a twitch or sedation and a good solid crush. We have a crush at the clinic which can be utilised. If you are considering having your horse mated this season please do not hesitate to give us a call for further information.