from the Vet Corner Archives

Part of Horse Previews Magazine website. Posted on 6/1/95; 10:00:00 AM.

Veterinary Corner 6/95: Embryo Transfer

Embryo transfer technology has become more popular in the horse industry. This technique benefits both the horse and horse breeders.

Embryo transfer is the process of flushing an embryo from a donor mare and placing it in a recipient mare, who will carry the embryo to term. Embryos can now be shipped, just like semen and this affords a lot of possibilities to the mare owner.

Valuable donor mares can stay at home, continue competing and avoid the risks associated with foaling. Mares that are physically unsound or have reproductive problems can now have foals.

The technique in skilled hands is becoming more commonplace. The embryo can be transferred to the recipient mare immediately on site or be shipped in a medium for up to 24 hours to a large herd of recipient mares. This time frame allows cross country travel and greatly improves the possibilities and pregnancy rates of this procedure.

Management of the mares, both donor and recipient, is very intense. Daily ultrasound examinations and manipulation of the mare's estrous cycle are needed to achieve pregnancy.

If you are considering this method of equine reproduction consult with your veterinarian, stallion owner, and breed association.

Mitch Hutchinson, DVM

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