We have an older broodmare that we purchased a couple of years ago. Although she hasn't had a foal in many years, she always had milk. Recently, we finally determined she had a sensitivity to soy and removed it from her diet. In about her a month, her bag totally dried up.
We Ai'd her three cycles last year with fresh semen from our stallion and each time she had a massive amount of fluid build up in her uterus. Our vet did numerous saline flushes and oxytocin treatments but she never got pregnant. I'm wondering whether the soy sensitivity might have had something to do with huge inflammation response and perhaps now that she is off soy we may have a better chance of her getting in foal? Has anyone else had a horse in this situation?
I can't offer any suggestions but I'm wondering if you noticed any personality changes with her now that she's off of soy? Was she calm & easy going before or hotter before? Does she look better overall? Maybe a better bloom to her coat? I'm just wondering.
Also please keep us posted about this mare. This is interesting.
I also have a mare who is extremely sensitive to soy. It actually affects her cycles making them very erratic, and she began to be extremely sensitive and somewhat naughty. I don't feed a lot of extruded feed - this mare was getting less than a pound a day in preparation for breeding, and she still reacted. The behavior change started within 2 weeks of beginning the new feed, and this mare who had normal cycles you could set your calendar to, became erratic, more frequent, like she was in heat every few days and yet not truly ovulating either. She was miserable. After 6 weeks, we cut her off cold turkey. The behavior started modifying back to her norm within 2 weeks and within 4 weeks she had a normal cycle, was AI'd and bippity-boo, preggers. My vet said her change was impressive, but not something unheard of in his practice as he had seen it before. Maybe the behavior was because she didn't feel good being in heat practically all the time.
It's getting harder and harder to find good quality feed that does not contain a bunch of soy, especially for broodmares. Soy is a cheap form of protein and manufacturers have jumped all over it for feed products.
OP, try putting this mare on human-grade Omega-3 capsules melted in hot water (don't microwave, just pre-heat the water and drop the capsules in), just 2000 mg a day at the very start of breeding season and increase her Vitamin E to 4000 international units (I also use human-grade E oil capsules melted in hot water) and poured over beet pulp or whatever grain you give. O-3 helps mitigate inflammation and also is suspected to improve overall blood flow although it's real effects on the equine are still needing to be fully determined - and because of this latter fact, more is Not better in the equine, so be careful in your dosing. The theory is, if blood flow is improved to the uterus it may help whisk away some of that fluid and the antiinflammatory effects may help the chronically inflamed uterus settle down a bit. The best thing to use with high-fluid mares, however, is estradiol prior to breeding, so putting her on a P&E protocol could help her substantially.
We have also used low-dose antiinflammatory like bute for 2 days prior to breeding and 2 days after. Bute will not inhibit with the uterine contractive ability (where banamine could). Your vet MUST flush the mare post insemination because the Bute and O-3 can inhibit the uterus' natural response - the inflammatory response is meant to clean out the uterus of foreign debris. Semen is considered foreign so it must be cleaned out. We have had success with mares who have an exuberant inflammatory response post breeding.
Also, your mare is not a candidate for frozen, so use fresh-chilled and try to use the least amount of semen possible, so she has less to deal with. You also need to pick stallions who are known to have "rocket fuel" (as another Cother put it) for semen and this is specifically so you can get away with the minimal-est amount of semen per insemination.
You can be somewhat aggressive with oxytocin too - This spring we had a new mare who was very exuberant in her response and tends to carry a bit all the time. My vet applied oxytocin to the mare for 1.5 days PRIOR to insemination (just 0.5 cc as they are more sensitive to oxy prior to ovulation) once she started her heat. He left her quiet for 8 hours before insemination (no oxy), just flushed her prior to inseminating, then inseminated. At 6 hours post insemination, he flushed her again and gave her the first dose of Oxytocin (0.5 cc as it was still prior to confirmed ovulation), and then from there on it was every 8 hours (1 cc post ultrasound-confirmed ovulation) round-the-clock for 2 full days. It worked. She's preggers.
Talk to your vet about these ideas. Between the 2 of you, you will know which ideas will work best for your mare. Good luck!
Edited to add: FWIW, I bred 4 mares this year. All were on the Omega-3 2000 mg and Vitamin E oil caplets 4000 IU. All 4 settled - three on 1st cycle (a 5-yr and 6-yr both with frozen 1 dose, and a 17-yr old 1/2 dose fresh), the 4th took on second cycle with 1/2 dose fresh - this 4th mare was the soy-sensitive 17-year-old mare.
Last edited by rodawn; Nov. 17, 2012 at 05:56 PM.
Reason: additional info
Thanks Ro-dawn, I am saving your posting to discuss with my repro-vet. It is almost impossible to find soy-free food!
I have had a difficult mare (finally pregnant on rocket-fuel semen), for whom we tried everything (diagnostic, and treatment-wise) over a 3 year period. I do think immune/EMS issues are involved (supported by diagnostics) and will be pushing vitamin E and flax over the winter. Also starting DMG and MSM as additives. I appreciate your input!
Sunnydays, B6 and B12 are immune boosters. Vitamin A is important too and hay loses it progressively over the winter, but most extruded feeds are Vit A boosted. Once the grass comes in, she'll get plenty of Vitamin A.
For whatever reason some horses may not absorb sufficient amounts of B vitamins (water soluble) so pushing extra might be the right call - whatever is too much is just excreted in the urine so you don't need to worry about overdose. Vitamin B6 is important for fat and protein metabolism and a deficiency causes altered metabolic processes. Low levels of vitamin B6 leads to a reduced activity of white blood cells necessary for fighting infections in the body. Vitamin B12 plays an important role in cell division and growth. It is responsible for the ability of white blood cells to destroy infecting organisms. Most broodie kibbles have the right combinations of minerals and vitamins - it's a problem when a broodie is soy sensitive however, because now the owner has to either find a mix that is soy-free, or mix their own feed and add a vit/min balancer or granular multivitamin/multimineral.
Before you worry about adding vitmains/supplements or trying different breeding techniques, etc. I would reccomend a uterine biopsy, and certainly a culture/cytology if those things haven't been done. An older mare that has been open for several years that has fluid issues is going to be a challenge and these mares often have very poor uterine condition that is going to make getting a pregnancy close to impossible. A biopsy is going to give you a good idea on what your chances are.