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 for artificial breeding and ensuring a healthy pregnancy. Easterwood Equine Hospital 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. Additionally, we provide insemination services.
General Information About Equine Pregnancies
In general, a horse carries a filly or a colt for approximately 11 months. This, however, varies from pregnancy to pregnancy. Typically, a mare carries a colt longer than a filly, but once again, this varies from pregnancy to pregnancy. In most cases, a colt or filly born before 300 days of gestation isn't able to survive.
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 mare is healthy enough to breed. During this exam, Dr. Easterwood evaluates your mare's reproductive health through a trans-rectal palpation and a trans-rectal ultrasound. These help Dr. Easterwood view your horse's cervix, uterus, and ovaries.
Other testing includes:
- a uterine biopsy,
- vaginal speculum exam,
- and a uterine culture.
All of these tests help us identify issues that could interfere with a healthy pregnancy, such as infections, uterine fibroids, and inflammation, among other problems.
About Artificial Insemination
At Easterwood Equine Hospital, we can artificially inseminate a mare. This process starts with finding the donor male and acquiring semen. We can freeze the sperm or inseminate the mare within 48 hours.
The mare must be ovulating, which Dr. Easterwood can evaluate for. Using a pipette, our doctor applies the sperm to the mare's egg. We can also inseminate the mare by removing eggs and performing the process in a lab. Then, your horse receives the fertilized egg.
About Horse Pregnancy Monitoring
Between 14 to 18 days after insemination, Dr. Easterwood can confirm if your horse is pregnant using an ultrasound. Sometimes, it's possible for our doctor to tell if a mare is having one or two horses at this point. We'll develop a pregnancy monitoring schedule for your mare.
At 30 days, our doctor can listen for a heartbeat. Dr. Easterwood can use a trans-rectal ultrasound between nine to 19 weeks after ovulation to identify the gender.
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. At the end of the delivery, Dr. Easterwood 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.