About Our Equine Reproductive Services
It's an exciting time when you decide to breed your horse. The process entails a bit more than you may realize, especially when your mare doesn't show any signs of heat. Woods End Equine Veterinary Services has state-of-the-art imaging to help monitor the entire gestation and has a comprehensive understanding of health concerns to monitor your horse for. We provide insemination services (fresh, cooled, or frozen), stallion collection, live covers, chilled semen evaluations, and new foal examinations.
General Information About Equine Pregnancies
Equine gestation is the period from conception to birth. It averages 330 days, but may range from 320 to 380 days. Pasture turn out provides all the necessary exercise and a regular diet should maintain a mare in the correct body condition even if she is in mid-gestation. Water supply is critical because of the increased fetal fluids and milk production. We offer services to monitor your horse's pregnancy and intervene, if necessary, to prevent complications from occurring. In most cases, a horse pregnancy doesn't have any complications.
Breeding Soundness Check
A soundness check is the first examination your horse will undergo when you decide to breed. This ensures your horse is healthy enough to breed.
During this exam, Dr. McGaughran can evaluate your mare's reproductive health through a trans-rectal palpation and a trans-rectal ultrasound. These help Dr. McGaughran view your horse's cervix, uterus, and ovaries.
- a uterine biopsy (if warranted)
- vaginal speculum exam,
- and a uterine culture/cytology.
All of these tests help us identify issues that could interfere with a healthy pregnancy, such as infections, and inflammation, among other problems.
Dr. McGaughran will evaluate the sperm count for a good motility rate and palpation of the testicles for any abnormalities.
About Artificial Insemination
The timing of ultrasounds, ovulation induction, semen shipping, and insemination is critical. A mare ovulates approximately every 21 days. During heat, a mare‘s uterus shows characteristic signs of edema (fluid swelling) and follicle (egg) size is measured. Dr. McGaughran can detect this easily by examining the reproductive tract with a trans-rectal ultrasound and trans-rectal palpation. it is important to check with your stallion breeder when the semen can be shipped. After insemination the mare should then be rechecked 15 days after insemination, Dr. McGaughran can confirm initial pregnancy and looks for twins by using an ultrasound.
About Horse Pregnancy Monitoring
The first 100 days of a mare's pregnancy there’s little to no changes in her physical body, but will not come back into heat or show interest in a stallion, once she is pregnant. As the mare enters the mid-stage of her pregnancy they sometimes can lose their pregnancy during the early days without the owner's knowledge. That’s why Dr. McGaughran likes to recheck the mare every 15, 30, 60 and sometimes 90 days after insemination. Herpesvirus (EHV-1) can cause late-term abortion and mares should be vaccinated for this disease preferably at five, seven, and nine months of gestation. Around day 250 the mare will start showing abdominal weight gain. At the time feed and hay should be evaluated to make sure she can keep a good body condition score.
For high-risk mares, more extensive monitoring is necessary during the last few months of her pregnancy. Sometime during the last three to four months of the high-risk mare's pregnancy, she’ll need weekly ultrasounds.
About Labor and Delivery
A female horse will usually experience one to two hours of contractions before getting ready to give birth. It ends with the sac breaking. The actual delivery process usually only takes about 30 minutes total. We can intervene at any time if complications arise. The next day, Dr. McGaughran examines both the mare and her foal for any problems.
Whether you’re breeding a horse for profit or for pleasure, we advise anyone interested in breeding to see a veterinarian with experience in equine reproductive services. We're able to assist in every step of the process to ensure both mother and baby are healthy.