The vet was at the barn yesterday to do annual visit sorts of things: Coggins tests, vaccinations, floating teeth, etc. I had her perform a breeding soundness exam on Gina, too. Gina is an older mare who hasn’t had a foal since 2002, so I thought it prudent to have her checked out before attempting insemination later this year.
I informed the vet about Gina’s past breeding use; to my knowledge, her last foal was born in 2002. I’ve never been able to find out exactly what Gina was doing between 2003 and 2005, but I think I can safely assume that between 2005 and 2011 (when I got her), she wasn’t having babies while bouncing between hunter barns in the Tulsa area. I’m also unsure if Gina had any problems conceiving, carrying, or foaling.
The physical exam went pretty well. Gina’s in good shape, at a good weight, and is overall a healthy mare. She has no chronic conditions or conformational flaws that would affect her fertility or ability to give birth. The vet examined Gina’s teats, which are symmetrical, normal, and well-placed. She also examined Gina’s reproductive tract, starting with the easily accessed and obvious outside parts: tail, vulva, and hind legs. She was looking for things that would indicate problems: scarring, swellings, and/or dried discharge. Everything looked good. The basic conformation of the outer reproductive parts was evaluated too; no problems were found there.
The next part of the exam was an examination of Gina’s cervix, uterus, and ovaries. Gina was well behaved- no kicking or ear pinning. Most everything was good, but the vet found cysts on Gina’s uterus. This isn’t uncommon, especially for older mares. My vet didn’t feel these cysts would have a drastic effect on Gina’s ability to conceive and carry a foal to term; she made a map of them so that after Gina is bred, there won’t be confusion about what’s a cyst and what’s a pregnancy.
Finally, swabs were collected for a uterine culture and cytology smear. Those tests will show if Gina has any bacterial infections or fungal organisms present in her reproductive tract. I’ll get those results in a week or so; I’m keeping my fingers crossed everything comes back normal!
I remain cautiously optimistic; even though she’s an older mare who hasn’t had a foal in several years, Gina appears to be in basically good reproductive health!