Gina’s BSE

Gina is sometimes glad to see me.

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.

Let’s hope tail luxuriousness is hereditary.

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!

Gina's pre-baby body.
Gina’s pre-baby body. That mane is screaming “PULL ME”.

Author: Stephanie

Equestrian, amateur cook, people person.

32 thoughts on “Gina’s BSE”

    1. Thanks! I’m hoping everything comes back nice and clean so she can be bred on schedule! A fellow dressage group person was breeding a mare a couple of years ago who had some kind of bacterial infection that just wouldn’t quit, so the foal ended up being born last September. I’d like to avoid that something like that!!

  1. Hope all the test results are good ones!

    I find this really interesting. I’ve casually considered the idea of breeding my mare if I can get her qualified as a sport horse (above 65% at third level dressage), but I figured she’d be too old by then (if we even ever get there 🙂 ). It’s good to know that an older horse can be safe for breeding even if she hasn’t been used as a frequent broodmare.

    1. Thanks for the good wishes!

      Gina is 19 this year, which made me a little hesitant to breed her! Most of what I’ve read and heard from experienced local breeders is that breeding an older maiden mare can be difficult, but for mares that have bred frequently, you can pretty much go until they won’t conceive any more. Gina’s not a maiden, but she hasn’t been bred continuously, either!

      Having a breeding soundness exam done seemed like a logical choice- if my vet advises against it, I won’t do it! Similarly, I don’t want to spend scads of money trying to get her pregnant; if she doesn’t conceive on the first couple of tries, I won’t pursue it further. I’m trying to be as objective as possible!

  2. huh i completely forgot that Gina has had a foal before lol. also had never heard of a BSE but it makes total sense. glad all indicators are currently looking good, hopefully the rest of the tests bring more of the same news!!!

  3. Fingers crossed for you! Paige passed her BSE too, but the magic still didn’t happen. The semen was definitely to blame in my situation though. Fingers crossed for you!

  4. Yay gina! Whose the vet? We have used one out of Claremore, down by track, that is great. He is awesome with breeding. Pretty sure he’s Vanessa/WF go to guy.

    1. I used Sapulpa Equine Hospital for this, since they’re the barn’s regular vet office. I’m not sure if I’ll use them for the AI- I’ve heard good things about a vet in Pryor (who I think is the vet you’re talking about- at least, I think someone told me he did all of Vanessa’s). I need to give him a call!

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