Equine Reproduction - Moran Court Vets Equine Reproduction - Moran Court Vets Equine Reproduction - Moran Court Vets Equine Reproduction - Moran Court Vets Equine Reproduction - Moran Court Vets Book Appointment

Equine Reproduction

Equine Reproduction - Moran Court Vets

Having completed an internship with the world renowned equine reproduction specialist , Professor John Newcombe in the UK, Ciaran Gardiner has returned home to his fathers practice, with the knowledge and experience to investigate all complex equine fertility issues with “normal” and “difficult” mares.

With a special interest in artificial insemination (Fresh, Chilled and Frozen) and embryo transfer.

A large number of procedures and techniques may be utilised to investigate a cause of poor fertility, but every case will first be subject to a thorough historical and gynaecological examination before a plan will be formulated to diagnose the problems.

What is Embryo Transfer?

Embryo transfer, as its name suggests, is taking a 7 day old embryo from one mare (the “Donor”) and placing it into the uterus of another mare ( the “Recipient”).

This recipient mare will then carry the pregnancy to term and subsequently mother the foal until weaning.

The donor mare (no longer pregnant) is then free to be mated again in order to achieve more pregnancies in the same year or to continue her competitive career.

Equine Reproduction - Moran Court Vets

Ultrasound Picture Of 16 Day Equine Embryo

Equine Reproduction - Moran Court Vets

Ultrasound Picture Of 16 Day Equine Embryo

Why Transfer Embryos?

Embryo transfer opens up a number of opportunities to horse owners that could not have been previously achieved.

These include:

  • More than one foal in one breeding season.
  • Competitive career can be maintained while still being able to produce foals every year.
  • Allows for mares with problems that would prevent them carrying a foal to term (eg.age related uterine degeneration, injuries) or have abnormalities that would prevent a normal birth (e.g narrow/small pelvis, rupture of the abdominal muscles) to produce pregnancies each year.

What’s Involved?

In order to carry out this procedure the Donor mare is mated or inseminated and the precise time of ovulation is ascertained by regular ultrasound examination of her ovaries. The Recipient (one of your own mares or a mare from the Clinic’s pool of recipient mares) must be at the same stage of her reproductive cycle (ovulated within two days of the Donor mare’s ovulation).

Seven days after the time of the donor’s ovulation both mares (Donor and Recipient) must be brought to our Fertility Clinic. There the uterus of the donor mare will be flushed out using a special embryo flushing medium. This flushing medium is recovered from the uterus, filtered and examined under the microscope for the embryo.

Once found, the seven day embryo (which at this stage is no more than ¼ mm in size and barely visible to the naked eye!) is checked for normality, specially prepared by washing and then transferred to the uterus of the recipient mare.

The recipient mare can then be ultrasound scanned 6-7 days after the procedure to confirm pregnancy (at which time the embryo will be 5-15mm in diameter). Further ultrasound scans are usually advised to check for normal development of the pregnancy.

Equine Reproduction - Moran Court Vets

Ultrasound Picture of 21 Day Equine Pregnancy

Equine Reproduction - Moran Court Vets

Ultrasound Picture of 16 Day Equine Pregnancy

Why Equine Artificial Insemination?

The use of artificial insemination has many advantages over natural cover/mating, these include:

  • Mares can be bred by stallions that would otherwise be inaccessible, eg. from other countries, or those competing/training.
  • Mares and foals do not need to be transported to the stallion, avoiding the stress and expense involved.
  • Training and competition schedules need not be disrupted.
  • Injuries resulting from natural cover ( eg.kicks to stallion) eliminated and reduced risk of injuries to staff involved.
  • Reduced risk of venereal disease transmission.

Chilled or Frozen Semen?

When you are deciding what kind of semen you are going to use for your mare there are a number of factors to take into consideration:

  • Is the stallion of your choice available in chilled (delivery within 24 hr.), frozen or maybe both?
  • Your mare: what is her age, is she maiden, etc?
    E.g. in general, older maiden mares are harder to get into foal and therefore you might want to go for chilled instead of frozen.
  • Are you prepared to leave your mare with us? For using frozen semen the insemination has to be timed more accurately than chilled and therefore your mare has to be living with us for a number of days. For using chilled semen this is not always necessary.

If you would like us to advise you on what type of semen is most suitable for your mare, do not hesitate to contact us.

Equine Reproduction - Moran Court Vets

Ultrasound Picture of 24 Day Equine Pregnancy

Find Out More

Opening Hours :

Mountbellew: Monday – Saturday : 9am – 5pm

Ballinasloe: Monday – Friday 9.30am – 5.30pm
Late clinic:  Wednesday 5pm – 7.30pm

Athlone: Monday – Friday 9.30am – 5.30pm
Saturdays: 1 – 2.30pm
Late clinic:  Wednesday 5pm – 7.30pm

Closed for lunch between 1 – 2pm


Mountbellew – 090 967 9319

Ballinasloe – 090 963 1244
Athlone – 090 649 3651


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