At Waller Equine hospital we have an on-site breeding facility with a safe and quiet breeding shed, a phantom, stocks, and 5 mare/foal and stallion stalls. Our reproductive laboratory allows us a controlled environment for embryo transfer, and to process semen for freezing or shipping.
We offer breeding services using fresh, cooled or frozen semen. We incorporate ultrasound to evaluate the reproductive status of each mare including staging of the heat cycle, follicle size, presence of uterine fluid, uterine edema, and diagnosis of a pregnancy. Once a mare is bred, we recommend an ultrasound to confirm pregnancy at 14 to 16 days; at this time we check for the presence of twins. If twin vesicles are seen, we are able to pinch the smaller moveable vesicle and leave the larger more mature pregnancy. If the embryos are older than 16 days, they become implanted and it becomes more difficult to reduce one without damaging the other. Leaving twin pregnancies can be dangerous both for the fetus and the mare. Once a mare is confirmed in foal, we recommend a heartbeat check of the embryo at 25 days to ensure that it is a viable healthy pregnancy. On problem mares we may recommend such procedures as a caslicks to reduce the chance of ascending uterine infection, regular follow up ultrasounds to assess the health of the fetus and placenta, or the administration of Regumate or progesterone to supplement the pregnancy and help prevent abortion of the fetus. On all mares confirmed in foal we recommend vaccination for the abortion strain of Herpesvirus at 5, 7 and 9 months of pregnancy and annual booster vaccinations 4 to 6 weeks before foaling to help ensure the foal receives a healthy load of antibodies against common pathogens in the mare's colostrum.
To flush the embryo we must know the exact ovulation date to collect the embryo which is why the mare will need to stay with us for a few days. She will go home after AI and return in 7 days for embryo flush.
As a general rule, the chances of collecting an embryo, implanting it into a recipient mare, and achieving pregnancy are 60%. The percentages go down because we have to process the embryo for shipping. If you have an embryo transfer done with Dr. Hartman in Whitesboro, TX there is a 90% chance of pregnancy. Dr. Hartman has the recipient herd on sight, you would have to transport you mare to him and leave her. His number is 903-564-3200.
Recipient mare herds:
*******it is a very common thing to want to use a mare that you currently own or a friend's horse as the recipient mare. Unfortunately, at this time we do not do this. It would be a very difficult and costly thing to match just two mares cycles and get a viable pregnancy. There are recipient mare herds with hundreds of mares and they match your mare with one that is cycling the same.
We offer 24 hour mare care for mares about to foal that includes hospital staff monitoring 24 hours a day and a foal alert system that alerts both the in hospital technician and veterinarian on call when labor begins. Our facility is equipped to handle both assisted delivery for dystocias and caesarian sections when necessary. We recommend in- hospital delivery for dystocias due to the increased chance of survival of both mare and foal. When the mare is presented with a foal that is malpositioned such as a breech, she is quickly anesthetized to keep her from contracting and her haunches raised with a hoist in the recovery suite to provide room for rapid correction of positioning abnormalities and delivery of the foal. The foal is immediately intubated and ventilated with oxygen to help prevent hypoxia which can often occur in difficult births.
Prior to breeding or purchasing a mare for breeding we may suggest a breeding soundness exam. This includes ultrasound of the reproductive tract to check for abnormalities such as cysts or ovarian tumors. A cervical exam is performed to check for abnormalities such as previous cervical tears or urine pooling which can lead to reduced fertility. Uterine cytology and culture is performed to rule out infection or inflammatory processes in the uterus. A uterine biopsy may be performed to grade the ability of the mare's uterus to support a pregnancy to term.
Once a foal is born we recommend a thorough examination at 12 to 24 hours of both the foal, mare and her placenta. We ensure the mare has passed the entire placenta and is not harboring a piece in her uterus that could lead to sepsis and even death. We take a blood sample from the foal to test the level of IgG antibodies it has received through drinking colostrum. It is imperative to check these levels within the first 24 hours to prevent infection. If the foal is found to have an insufficient immune system, hyperimmunized plasma is administered until the antibody levels are adequate to fight off infection by common environmental pathogens. During the exam we also check for common congenital abnormalities such as juvenile cataracts, meconium impaction, entropion of the eyelids, fractured ribs, a patent urachus, ruptured bladder, heart murmurs or a cleft palate. If the foal's mare is of unknown vaccination status we may also administer a tetanus antitoxin. An enema may be administered and the navel treated with an antibacterial solution if the owner has not already done so.
24 hour neonatal care is provided for ill foals in most cases. If a foal is unable to sit sternal on its own or is severely premature, it may be a candidate for a referral to the university for even more intensive treatment such as a respirator and constant warming system. We are able at this hospital to provide services necessary for most ill neonates including nasogastric intubation and feeding, oxygen therapy, IV fluid therapy, necessary diagnostics, and treatments and surgical procedures that may be warranted to save the foal.
For the first time breeder we offer training of stallions to collect off of a phantom (dummy mare) using a receptive ovariectomized tease mare. Training of stallions to mount a dummy and collect semen using an AV (artificial vagina) decreases their risk for injury by uncooperative mares. Once a semen sample is collected it is analyzed for motility and concentration. This will give the owner an idea of how fertile a stallion is and how many mares can be bred per ejaculate.
Once a semen sample has been collected in an AV and analyzed we may recommend a test cool if the owner plans to ship cooled semen on the stallion. This involves properly diluting the semen in different extenders and cooling it in a shipping container to mimic a shipment. The semen is evaluated for total and progressive motility at 24 and 48 hours to see whether the semen appears viable when cooled and which formula of extender works best with that particular stallion's semen.
For stallions that have previously been collected using a phantom, we offer services to collect semen samples at the necessary times to either inseminate a mare in hospital or to cool and ship to mares in other locations. An appointment is made usually the day before collection is needed and the stallion is hauled in and collected in an average of 30 minutes depending on his performance. At this time the stallion can be returned home while the semen is processed and shipped to the desired locations. We offer overnight FedEx shipment in Equitainers or Equine Express containers or counter to counter same day shipment services on Continental Airlines. In most cases an identically packaged sample is kept in hospital to evaluate the next day in case of any discrepancy in semen quality on arrival to its destination. The amount of mares that may be shipped to in one day depends entirely on the fertility of the particular stallion and how well his semen cools and ships.
Some clients are interested in freezing semen from their stallion to use during a show season or to preserve in case the stallion is injured, sold or dies unexpectedly. The frozen semen should remain viable indefinitely as long as stored properly. Unfortunately, not all stallions' semen will freeze well and the first freezing session is therefore called a test freeze. During a freezing session, we recommend the stallion be left at the hospital Monday through Friday. The stallion is collected once a day from Monday through Thursday to clean any dead sperm or debris from his reproductive tract because in large numbers it can cause poor viability in the freezing process.
We work closely with Viagen The Cloning Company to recover tissues for gene banking and cloning. By collecting tissues early on you can bank them and preserve your investment for future use through cloning. For more information such as pricing please call our Hospital. You may also visit www.viagen.com to learn more about the process and benefit.