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Breeding News for Mare & Stallion Owners 
Welcome to our Spring 2010 Edition!
Spring seems to have arrived a little early - but no surprise that foaling and breeding season is upon us. As you get ready for this season, I have included information here on ordering semen, and articles on breeding hormones, cytologies and uterine flushes. If you have anything you would like us to cover or are interested in please feel free to contact me. As always, I would like to thank everyone for your constant support. We are here to help and support you with your breeding needs.
From my barn to yours,
Mare and Foal
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Uterine Flush
Uterine Cytology
Good Quality Semen?

Rayne Memorial Colostrum Bank PLEASE HELP!

We have just used our last bag of colostrum to save the life of a young needy foal.
Please assist us in collecting extra colostrum from your mare to help another foal this season. 
Your mare can supply her own foal AND donate additional colostrom to the bank. The foal you save could be your own.
There is a correct procedure for the safe collection of colostrum, please contact us so we can let you know how to collect and get it to us.
Call us at Deerpath with any questions or if you are in need of colostrum this foaling season. Keep our number in your foaling kit and be prepared.

We're here to help.

Apt to Win
Lilly and Tucker
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Deerpath would like to thank our most generous sponsors for assisting with this newsletter and providing our current and potential customers with current and relevant information for their breeding programs.
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Deerpath Breeding & Development

Robert Fera
P.O. Box 021 RR # 2
Puslinch, Ontario
N0B 2J0 - Canada

Tel: (519) 826-0170
Fax: (519) 826-0747

What is a Uterine Flush? 

You may come across these procedures when breeding and there is a difference in the two and why they are used.

A uterine flush is used to essentially flush the uterus of any pooled fluid or discharge that may interfere with the breeding process. A flush may be used either before or after breeding.  Mares who pool fluid after breeding, should be flushed 6 to 12 hours post-breeding or the next day. This allows for better conditions for the chance of the fertilized egg surviving.

Mares that have recently foaled are sometimes flushed to clean the uterus of any debris that may have accumulated from the foaling process. Fluid in the uterus can lead to infection, so cleaning the uterus with a flush is essential.

A flush is preformed with a flushing catheter that is inserted through the cervix into the uterus. Then the flushing medium is attached to the catheter and the uterus is filled with the flushing medium. After the flushing medium is allowed to run back out the catheter and checked for color and contents. Massaging the uterus also helps with brings back the fluid. The flushing medium is usually a lactated ringers solution or saline. Oxytocin injections are usually given also to help facilitate uterine contractions to rid the uterus of fluid.

Infusing the uterus with an antibiotic is what is called an infusion. It is done with an insemination rod and is done when a mare has a uterine infection or when a mare was bred by a dirty stallion.

The Value of a Uterine Cytology

Acute bacterial and fungal infection on the lining of the vagina, cervix and the uterus is a major player in the cause of infertility in mares.

Cultures of the uterus are an important part of breeding management but are expensive and results are not quick.

Cytology is a tissue scraping of the uterus lining. The scraping is done at the same time as a culture with the same instrument. The sample is put on a microscope slide and stained. The slide is then examined under the microscope for signs of neutrophils (inflammatory white blood cells). If the slide contains a large number of neutophils compared to endometrial cells then the cytology is positive for inflammation and could indicate infection. With this result the culture could be submitted. If the cytology showed no inflammation then a costly culture can be omitted by recommendation of your veterinarian.

If you are breeding live cover then a culture is mandatory, but in the interm the cytology is the best indicator of endometritis in mares.

Pharmaceuticals used in Breeding: Oxytocin
Oyxtocin is a hormone present in the mare's body that stimulates contractions of the uterus as well as milk let down. The Injectible oxytocin your vet gives will help expel uterine fluid in a mare that pools fluid in her uterus after breeding. It is also given after mares have had their uterus's flushed for various reasons.

It is also used in mares that have failed to expel their placenta in a timely fashion or in mares that are not lactating very well as oytocin is responsible for milk let down. Even though oxytocin is a hormone circulating in the mare's body already it may not have been released in sufficient numbers to do a particular job. Also there are times such as in flushing or breeding when the use of oxytocin is a great addition to our strategy to get mares pregnant by reducing the amount of inflammatory fluid in the uterus.


What constitutes Good Quality Semen?

For those who breed you probably have heard many numbers associated with equine semen. Many look at the progressive motility as an indicator of quality. The real answer is: look at the number of progressively motile and morphologically normal sperm in a dose.

An insemination dose has been shown to be between 100 to 500 million progressive motile sperm in order to achieve pregnancy results.

Most stallion stations will send out a dose containing approx. 1 billion progressive motile sperm. (This number is widely accepted # for shipping.) When you get the semen and check it yourself the first thing you have to remember is to let the semen on your microscope slide rest awhile to warm up. I recommend at least 15 to 20 min. If the semen is in your opinion only 20 or 30 % motile REMEMBER 20 % of 1 billion is 200 million. This is still an acceptable insemination dose.

Some farms may send you more sperm per dose, so if the stallions motility numbers drop do not worry. The number to remember is the amount of progressively motile sperm. If this number falls below 100 million then you have room to panic.

Also remember though that you should be breeding close to your mare's ovulation to help increase her chances.

Why was I only sent one syringe?

In breeding, more is not always better, the more we put in the more has to be expelled by the mare. When you breed your mare, the semen you put into her has reached the site of conception (ova fossa) within 4 hours post breeding. So any semen left in the body of the uterus is not useful and needs to be expelled.

If one syringe contained 1 billion progressively motile sperm and you were inseminating at the right time then there would be no need to flood the uterus with excess fluid which would cause more of an inflammatory reaction and lead to infection or pooling leading to non conception.

We recommend that repeat breeding mares or mare with a proven uterine pooling problem be flushed 12 hours post breeding to effectively 'clean the house' and give the mare the best chance to conceive and carry an embryo.

Proper etiquette for calling for semen

Planning for breeding is very important. Getting mad or frustrated at a stallion owner or the collection facility is no excuse for your failure to plan. If you're planning to breed make sure your veterinarian is well versed in equine reproduction, you find out the protocols for calling for semen from the collection facility, and know what is expected of you.

Some collection facilities only collect Mon, Wed and Fridays, some everyday but not on weekends or holidays. You need to find this out before your mare starts cycling so that you and your vet know when they can order semen. Most facilities require 24 hours notice to collect. This reason is either because the stallion needs to be trailered in for collection and arrangements need to be made, or that the collection facility collects many stallions and scheduling needs to be done in order to make sure everything runs efficiently.

When you get that box of semen, remember a lot of stress, sweat and risk went into getting it for you. Enjoy the breeding season.