A number of our veterinary surgeons have particular experience and expertise in equine reproduction and stud medicine and provide veterinary services to local Sports horse and Thoroughbred stud farms.
During the breeding season, this includes routine gynaecological and pregnancy examinations, management of fertility problems, treatment of mares and foals and dealing with obstetric and neonatal emergencies. If needed, rapid referral to The Liphook Equine Hospital can be achieved for emergency surgical or medical treatment by our team of specialists, including caesarean section and intensive care for foals.
Mares, together with foals at foot, belonging to our own clients or referred from other practices may be admitted to The Liphook Equine Hospital for AI or supervised foaling. Mares and foals can be kept apart from the main hospital in our AI and Reproduction Unit where mares may be kept stabled or at grass according to their owner’s preference.
The Liphook Equine Hospital is approved by the British Equine Veterinary Association to provide artificial insemination (AI) services with chilled and frozen semen and Huw Griffiths is currently chair person of the British A.I. committee. AI is a popular and routine procedure for the breeding of sports horses. The health and safety benefits are well recognised and conception rates with fresh or chilled semen may equal those from natural service.
Before breeding from your mare, a full reproductive examination should be performed which will allow the veterinary surgeon to assess her suitability for breeding and highlight any potential reproductive problems. If your mare is going to stud or insemination is to be performed at an AI centre, the veterinary surgeon will be able to advice you on and perform any tests required before your mare goes.
Our veterinary surgeons will be happy to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using freshly collected semen, fresh chilled semen or frozen semen. Successful AI depends on regular monitoring of the mare’s ovaries and uterus so that she may be inseminated as close to ovulation as possible. The timing of insemination will be determined by which semen is chosen. For fresh or chilled semen, conception rates are highest when insemination is performed within 24 hours preceding ovulation. Frozen-thawed semen has a relatively short life span and therefore requires that mares be inseminated immediately before (within 6 hours) or after (within 4 hours) ovulation. Therefore management of mares for insemination with frozen-thawed semen is more intensive and mares require multiple ultrasound examinations to assess the correct time for insemination. Conception rates for mares using frozen-thawed semen are often lower and therefore ideally this should be reserved for mares with the best reproductive histories. Insemination with chilled semen requires good communication with the stallion stud so that semen is delivered on time.
After insemination, your mare will be checked for ovulation and for post-breeding inflammation. Provided all is well, your mare will be scanned at 16 days following ovulation and if pregnant, it is advised that scans be performed at 28 and 45 days to make sure the pregnancy is developing normally. Older or problematic mares may require further treatment in this early period.
If you would like to discuss the possibility of using AI in your mare, or have any questions regarding AI, please contact Sarah Boland or Huw Griffiths for further information.