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When do you give up trying?

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  • #21
    When do you give up trying? Well, it all depends on how much you value the mare and believe in her ability to produce quality offspring. In my case, we kept trying for 6 years.

    For those of you who sometimes think of giving up on a difficult mare, I encourage you to persevere. Our mare, DJanna, up until 2003 had been the ideal broodmare (always conceived on the first insemination cycle, produced outstanding foals, and has been an excellent mother). She is the Granddam of Shira Mareen who recently finished in 10th place out of a field of 70 at the 4 yo Young Horse Championships in Verden.

    Beginning in 2003, things changed. First, in 2003 and early 2004 she was bred multiple times to Londonderry, all resulting in development of uterine infections.

    By mid-2004 we gave up on Londonderry, and instead bred to Fabuleux. Again, she conceived on the first attempt. Unfortunately, the fetus died at approximately 7 months, but instead of aborting, it decayed inside her. She had a massive uterine infection, and a skeleton still remained in her uterus. Numerous times a day for the next week or so, a vet had to insert her hand/arm into DJanna’s uterus and removed the skeleton, a few bones at a time.

    And then, the question was: how much damage had this caused to DJanna’s uterus; and, would she ever be able to carry another foal to term? After culture, cytology, and biopsy results indicated she SHOULD be capable of conceiving & carrying to term we decided to try again. DJanna had her first normal cycle in early April 2005; we decided to breed her, hoping she would conceive, and we could flush an embryo to transfer to a recip mare. After we were unable to recover an embryo on 3 successive breedings, we began to wonder whether DJanna was still able to conceive. So in August 2005 we bred her, but did not flush for an embryo, and on day 22 DJanna was pronounced in foal. A subsequent check, however, found no fetus. Good news, she was able to conceive; bad news, she did not maintain the pregnancy. Was the uterus too damaged, even thought biopsy results indicated otherwise?

    In 2006 she was bred once, and developed a yeast infection that took the rest of the breeding season to get cleared up.

    By now, a great deal of time, effort and $ had been spent trying to get another foal from this mare. Should we admit defeat, or continue trying? We decided 2007 would be our final attempt. Another failed attempt and sadly we would retire DJanna without having produced her replacement.

    But, as the saying goes “BLESSED ARE THE BROODMARES”. DJanna conceived on the first insemination in 2007, carried her foal to term, delivered without complications, AND produced the dreamed of replacement, a healthy, beautiful bay filly by Werther who we have named Ferradae! At her AHS inspection the judges were very complimentary about this filly, and in fact commented that we were lucky to have such an outstanding Werther filly here in North America.

    In 2008 DJanna again took on the first insemination and is currently in foal to Brentano II. Has it been worth all the effort, you bet!
    SherryM
    WildSwan Hanoverians

    Comment


    • #22
      Things didn't go quite so well this time, as the vet gave her a shot on Monday, and we were anticipating ovulation Wed/Thurs, and she didn't ovulate until the following Tuesday!
      • No more than 3500 IU of hCG per cycle for the average sized mare - more can cause follicles to regress.
      I definitely would try a caslicks. Dr DelVento is close to you. He is excellent. That stallion that got her in foal last time may be worth a try.

      How is Baccarat doing?

      JFYI, Miss Luna confirmed in foal today!

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      • #23
        A biopsy is going to tell you the extent of any inflammation and any fibrosis. It will be "graded" and based upon the grade you will get a rough idea of your chances of this mare carrying a foal to term.
        But - playing Devil's Advocate here - wont the biopsy results be completely dependant on what area the "snip" was taken from? So - taken from a bad area, she might come back as a 2B, whereas that 2B area actually only represented perhaps 5% of her actual uterus?

        Yes - I would also recommend doing a biopsy as well, but I think you need to use that information as one more tool instead of perhaps a definitive answer as I have heard of several mares that came up with different biopsy scores every season - 1B, 2A and 2B - and which one of those are REALLY the correct score???

        Castlicks are a must in older mares, and in my opinion most TB mares. Also I would start her on Regumate 5 days post ovulation. Regumate is cheap compared to extra vet bills breeding etc. I put all my older mares on it and then wean them off at about 100 days. Just my thing, but I have plenty of babies to show for it..
        And I will totally disagree with most points here ... (sorry! )

        I have nothing but TB mares and most my recent mare is the only one that I have ever owned that needed a Caslick's done. Because she came to us so underweight we are hoping that once she fills out more she will no longer require one going forward but we will wait and see on that one.
        The assistant that works with my vet used to work at a huge TB facility in the breeding barn, where they personally housed hundreds of mares and hundreds more came in for breeding and foaling and she said that 100% of all TB mares got Caslicked - as a matter of course - whether they needed it or not. Perhaps this is where the misconception comes from that "all TB mares need to be Caslicked"
        I will never do a Caslick's on any mare unless I look and see that she truly does need one. Other than that - no way, no how ...

        And I am also one that never uses Regumate either. There have been several articles published that you are literally setting up future generations to be dependant on the Regumate to conceive / hold on to pregnancies so you are - in effect - creating problem breeders in future generations by doing so

        Again - if there was a mare that we were having problems with, we'd run the whole battery of tests and determine where the problem lay, as best we could and then decide what course of action to take but never would I just put all of my mares on it as a matter of course ...
        www.TrueColoursFarm.com
        www.truecoloursproducts.com

        True Colours Farm on Facebook

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        • #24
          Originally posted by TrueColours View Post
          But - playing Devil's Advocate here - wont the biopsy results be completely dependant on what area the "snip" was taken from? So - taken from a bad area, she might come back as a 2B, whereas that 2B area actually only represented perhaps 5% of her actual uterus?

          Yes - I would also recommend doing a biopsy as well, but I think you need to use that information as one more tool instead of perhaps a definitive answer as I have heard of several mares that came up with different biopsy scores every season - 1B, 2A and 2B - and which one of those are REALLY the correct score???



          And I will totally disagree with most points here ... (sorry! )

          I have nothing but TB mares and most my recent mare is the only one that I have ever owned that needed a Caslick's done. Because she came to us so underweight we are hoping that once she fills out more she will no longer require one going forward but we will wait and see on that one.
          The assistant that works with my vet used to work at a huge TB facility in the breeding barn, where they personally housed hundreds of mares and hundreds more came in for breeding and foaling and she said that 100% of all TB mares got Caslicked - as a matter of course - whether they needed it or not. Perhaps this is where the misconception comes from that "all TB mares need to be Caslicked"
          I will never do a Caslick's on any mare unless I look and see that she truly does need one. Other than that - no way, no how ...

          And I am also one that never uses Regumate either. There have been several articles published that you are literally setting up future generations to be dependant on the Regumate to conceive / hold on to pregnancies so you are - in effect - creating problem breeders in future generations by doing so

          Again - if there was a mare that we were having problems with, we'd run the whole battery of tests and determine where the problem lay, as best we could and then decide what course of action to take but never would I just put all of my mares on it as a matter of course ...

          Actually, a biopsy is very representative of the condition of the entire uterus. It would be unusual to have a badly scarred area and the rest of the uterus to be healthy. Even if that were the case, the areas that aren't in "good shape" are still going to cause you problems.

          As far as a biopsy score changing from season to season, yes that can happen. In fact, sometimes we want that to happen! If you have a mare with a IIB and the report shows a large amount of inflammation, that can often be treated (whether it is due to infection, etc). It isn't unusual to improve a biopsy score after addressing the inflammation. That is why a biopsy is a great tool; if you have a poor score due to inflammation, then you have hope that you can reduce the inflammation and improve the score. If the poor score is due to fibrosis then you know it is going to be harder to change.
          Of course, it goes the other way too. You can have a IIA one season and a IIB the next season. Infections, foalings, etc. all take a toll on the uterus so it is common to have a poor biopsy score even after a few "good years".

          As far as Regumate goes, yes it is used too often. However, I haven't seen any research that using Regumate in a mare causes her future offspring to be Regumate dependent. There is some research that says you MIGHT make that individual mare Regumate dependent in future years, but certainly that doesn't hold true for many mares. Regumate is a good tool when used appropriately.
          Already excited about our 2016 foals! Expecting babies by Indoctro, Diamant de Semilly, Zirocco Blue and Calido!
          https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hills...h/112931293227

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          • #25
            I agree with what others have suggested - a culture with cytology and biopsy as a start. Possible caslicks. Possible use of Regumate.

            I have a mare who was a perfect producer for her first five foals. Then she was barren for three seasons. We did all of the above. We even took her to our local repro hospital for a full workup including scoping her uterus. All that showed was a healthy uterus, no tipping which might have caused urine pooling, great biopsy, great c&C. Great everything. The following season I used a stallion whose semen is redhot - cooled transported rather than frozen. Three good attempts and no baby.

            At that point my regular repro vet consulted his repro guru for outside the box ideas. Dr. Michelle LeBlanc offered an oldtime remedy, saying that sometimes mares will get a mucus lining to the uterus from repeated breeding and ET attempts. She suggested a dmso lavage. We did that, rebred her, carefully watched for and treated any post breeding inflammation, kept the caslicks in and had her on Regumate for the early part of her pregnancy. The result was her 6th foal born in 2007. She was rebred on her 30 day heat with no special intervention and produced her 7th foal this year.

            Sometimes, when none of the usual things work, a different tack can bring good results. Good luck!
            Mary Lou
            http://www.homeagainfarm.com

            https://www.facebook.com/HomeAgainFarmHanoverians

            Member OMGiH I loff my mares clique

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            • #26
              All the very experienced breeders who have posted her have good advice - excellent advice, really. I am going to say that I read your original post from a slightly different perspective - in breeding a mare who has become a "problem breeder", there is a point of diminishing returns.

              What are your hopes for the prospective foal - a replacement for it's dam (in case of a filly), a horse for personal use, or one for sale? All these things come into the equation for us - breeding is not the cheapest way to get a horse by any means - and even breeding a mare you love to a stallion you love does not always result in the foal you expect!

              When it takes multiple breedings to get the mare in foal, costs rise exponentially - if you do not get her in foal, it's a lot of money down the pipe, so to speak. If you can afford it and it doesn't bother you, that is simply great, but most people do have a budget of some description Even using our own stallion this year, we are figuring an average of a bit over a thousand dollars to get a mare in foal - one cycle, counting pre and post checking, lab work, collection, etc. The mare who took two cycles cost more!

              We have a client with an older mare who is on cycle number three - this is a mare with a spotty breeding history, and should NOT have been left open by the previous owner. Fingers crossed we have finally caught her, her vet thinks things look much better this time around.

              Bottom line - if the hoped-for foal is going to be of great value to you, and you can afford to keep going, it would probably be much better to get her back in foal this year - if you let her go another year, her chances for successful conception will be much lower.

              All the best of luck to you Devon,

              Kate
              Homesick Angels Farm
              breeders of champion Irish Draught Sporthorses
              standing Manu Forti's Touch Down RID
              www.IrishHuntersandJumpers.com

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              • #27
                I am going to say that I read your original post from a slightly different perspective - in breeding a mare who has become a "problem breeder", there is a point of diminishing returns.
                This is so true. The mare that I wrote about above is one of my best producers and a direct Rubinstein I daughter, so I went to great lengths. I was very lucky that it paid off in the end.

                On the other hand, last year I had a mare that had infection after infection. Every time we would get her cleaned up and bred, we had another new infection. The season culminated in a nasty yeast infection. After getting that cleaned up we tried breeding once more, only to have no pregnancy and a new bacterial infection. By then I was $8K into her in just vet bills. So, I decided that this nice, well trained mare needed to be a riding horse again. I sold her at quite a loss to a good friend and she is a happy riding horse today. In her case I saw a black hole with possibly no return, so I decided to cut my losses then and there. Each mare and each person's circumstance is different, but sometimes, saying enough is a smart thing to do.
                Mary Lou
                http://www.homeagainfarm.com

                https://www.facebook.com/HomeAgainFarmHanoverians

                Member OMGiH I loff my mares clique

                Comment


                • #28
                  OK, here is what I have done with my two "problem mares" for whatever it is worth.

                  Cory (mare #1). retired at 11, bred at 12, at 13 yo had a nice colt. (she took one insemination to get this colt). Bred her twice post foaling in 2003 with NO luck.

                  2004 season. Bred her one time no luck (early in the spring). Culture/cytology done. Culturre/cytology showed nothing significant, Bred her 3 x culture/cytology done with nothing to show for it.

                  2005 season. Started the year with culture/cytology/biopsy. Biopsy showed a IIB with nothing sig on c/c. We did flush her prior to breeding (really don't remember what besides sailine was in flush - I know that is a lame excuse, but so be it sorry). Bred her 4 or 5 x all optimal times, no luck.

                  2006 season. Bred her once. THREE VETS told me to stop and that she was on the shelf, be glad I got one foal etc (she didn't take obvisously). Nothing shows on her culture/cytology from prev two years, did not repeat the biopsy. Her "tone" btw all 3 years had remained "piss poor" according to one of my vets - and none of them, or the SO liked the tone. Last ditch effort.... SO and I did the DMSO flush (same year that HAF did hers). Bred her on the cycle following the DMSO flush. Vet came on my birthday (5/28) to preg check her on day 15 and she was PREGNANT!!!! Have a beautiful filly to show for it. (same stallion, excellent semen etc btw).

                  Bred her on the 30 day heat and she caught first dose and have a 2008 full brother to last year's sister on the ground. She is officially retired now.

                  Tanz prob mare #2: Pretty much same as above procedures except this mare retains fluid and has poor tone (worse than Cory). She has 8 foals on the ground (the last one being my colt born in 2006). Tried once or twice in 2006 post foaling to breed, no result, tried several times in 2007 to breed her with no results, and tried once in 2008. 30 day embryo and getting her checked again in 1 week for the 60 day check (then will breathe easy).

                  The trick with her? P and E is my friend. This mare shows silent heat and it is difficult to track her cycle (I do u/s prior to insemination). Thanks to Kathy St Martin (Equine Repro) I found out about P and E - got her tiing down to the miniute. As soon as she started cycling, I started giving her Oxytocin (1/2 cc every 6 hours round the clock). Stopped just prior to insemination, then cont 4 hours post round the clock every 6 hours for 3 more days. Poor mare was a pin cushion. We also did a DMSO/Betadine flush on her 2 days prior to breeding. This will be her last foal as well. (oh in 2007 I did a straight DMSO flush on her also, but it didn't work). I chalk her getting preg up to the P and E to time her then the extreme oxytocin pre/post insemination and the flush. My vet was SHOCKED that she was preg - he had ZERO hope of her ever gtting preg.

                  As for cost... only $1000 more than the stud fee??? I should be so lucky. The 2007 filly that I got on the ground was EASILY $5000 into just vet fees, and this foal of Tanz's is pretty close to the same. Is it worth it? I think so. Cory's first foal was a stallion prospect (didn't make it), Emma the filly is just breath taking, and the colt this year is another prospect. Tanz has produced one colt that was approved already, I hope her 2006 colt will be approved, and her other foals are all doing well in hunters and eventing... You have to be the one to know when enough is enough and you give up (based on the mare, the circumstances, and your pocketbook).

                  BTW: not all mares need caslicks and I personally hate Regumate and don't use it unless it is REALLY necessary - it is way over used IMHO.
                  Emerald Acres standing the ATA, Trakehner Verband, sBs, RPSI, and ISR/OLD NA Approved Stallion, Tatendrang. Visit us at our Facebook Farm Page as well!

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                  • #29
                    Originally posted by Home Again Farm View Post
                    Sometimes, when none of the usual things work, a different tack can bring good results. Good luck!
                    Ditto. The mare I previously wrote about had a IB biopsy and was put on asprin therapy. There is a condition called elastosis which results in not enough blood supply/nutrients to the uterus.

                    Specifically, elastosis is a buildup of elastic tissue in the arteries and miometrium (the muscle of the uterus as opposed to the endometrium which is the lining of the uterus). The condition is known to occur in pregnant women and apparently is treated with aspirin therapy.

                    The theory is that the same condition occurs in some of these problem mares. The aspirin thins the blood supply so there is greater flow to the miometrium, which in turn increases ability of uterus to support pregnancy.
                    SherryM
                    WildSwan Hanoverians

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      When to give up trying? Well, that really depends. When working with my own mares, I KNOW what is being done and what has been done, so I take several things into consideration. The age of the mare? I she an older mare and requiring more and more effort to get her in foal or to maintain a pregnancy? What about the stallion? Is the semen I'm receiving of good quality and does he have get on the ground proving that he is indeed fertile? Am I trying to breed with frozen semen on an older mare? What did her culture AND cytology show? If culture and cytology were clear, stallion is fertile, etc., time for a biopsy. If the biopsy is lower than a IIa, I stop. Sure, I may be able to get the mare pregnant, but will she carry to term? If I really, really like what the mare is producing, I may try doing an embryo transfer on her.

                      Originally posted by SidesaddleRider View Post
                      This spring, we re-bred her to the same stallion we tried last year, and again, everything went perfectly, and she didn't take. We then switched to Silvio. Things didn't go quite so well this time, as the vet gave her a shot on Monday, and we were anticipating ovulation Wed/Thurs, and she didn't ovulate until the following Tuesday!
                      What kind of shot? Prostaglandin to bring her into season? hCG or Deslorelin to accelerate ovulation? If hCG or Deslorelin were used, were all the other indicators in place (edema, 30 mm follicle for Deslorelin 35 for hCG, mare teasing, etc.).

                      She was inseminated 5x in expectation of ovulation, but did not take again (perhaps the follicle was infertile by the time she did finally ovulate).
                      Okay, 5x is a bit excessive.

                      We bred her again last week. She was cultured Tuesday, flushed Wed, bred Thursday, she ovulated a bit later Thursday, and vet said she did not retain any fluid, and everything looked perfect, and again there should be no reason why she wouldn't take.
                      Why the flush? Less is more and unless she grew something on the culture or there was an excessive amount of fluid, I ask again - why the flush?

                      Obviously, we're hoping that she took when she gets checked in a couple of weeks. However, if she didn't take, yet again, when do you give up?
                      Would I give up? Nope. Too many things set off alarm bells on this breeding for me to blame it on the mare - at least with what is posted here. So, without knowing everything that has been done right down to all the nitty gritty details, I probalby wouldn't throw the towel in quite yet.

                      Do we give her another try in October? It doesn't bother me to have an early fall baby vs. a spring one.
                      Except by October you may be dealing with fall transitions and she may not be cycling at all.

                      The problem is that she doesn't have any other job except to be a mom, and she is so good at it, and her foal is just lovely. But we can't keep spending thousands on her not catching, and she's certainly not getting any younger. Sigh.
                      Step back, regroup and assess what is being done with this mare. First, as others have repeatedly suggested, start with a biopsy. If the biopsy score is low, depending on the reason for the low score, you can try the DMSO/Betadine lavage but recognize that when we use it, it is often a last ditch effort. It "can" improve a biopsy score by a grade.

                      With regards to those who are questioning a biopsy a single sample may not be an accurate representation of the entire uterus, although research has suggested 92% accuracy with the level being increased to 96% only if an additional 10 samples are taken.

                      You also mentioned oxytocin was used, but didn't discuss how much or how often. A 3 ml bolus once or twice in a cycle isn't going to help much. As others have noted here, we recommend using oxytocin aggressively in SMALL boluses - 10 IU every 6 hours prior to ovulation and 20 IU every six hours after ovulation with appropriate timing for breeding. It "is" effective and we manage to get mares pregnant that others give up on. Granted, no one wants to visit with me during breeding season ...sleep deprivation is an UGLY thing. But, it does work and it is satisfying to see the end results.

                      Good luck!

                      Kathy St.Martin
                      Equine Reproduction Short Courses
                      http://www.equine-reproduction.com
                      Check out our Fall Enrollment special!
                      Equine-Reproduction.com Now offering one on one customized training!
                      Leg-Up Equestrian Assistance Program, Inc. A 501(c)(3) non-profit charity

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by Equine Reproduction View Post
                        Granted, no one wants to visit with me during breeding season ...sleep deprivation is an UGLY thing. But, it does work and it is satisfying to see the end results.

                        Good luck!

                        Kathy St.Martin
                        Equine Reproduction Short Courses
                        http://www.equine-reproduction.com
                        Check out our Fall Enrollment special!


                        OK, THAT was funny (and all too true unfortunately - NO ONE wants to be my friend during those months LOL).
                        Emerald Acres standing the ATA, Trakehner Verband, sBs, RPSI, and ISR/OLD NA Approved Stallion, Tatendrang. Visit us at our Facebook Farm Page as well!

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #32
                          I just thought I'd post an update.

                          The mare did not take (what a surprise ). I asked the vet if she had biopsied her, and as I thought, she hadn't. So, we are going to do a biopsy of her tomorrow to give us an idea of what her uterus looks like. Vet confirmed a dmso treatment if she has some scarring, but I just don't have a lot of faith that we're going to get her in foal again next year (age 16) even with treatment. Aargh.

                          I am planning on having a different mare (11 yrs old, reg. main mare book) cultured when she comes into season next, and if all looks good, may breed her in October.
                          Cherry Blossom Farm - Show & Field Hunters, Side Saddles

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