Embryo Transfer Discussed

James Bailey, DVM, of Purcell, Okla., and Phil Matthews, DVM, of Ocala, Fla., discussed embryo transfer with a standing-room-only crowd during one of the table topic sessions at the 50th annual American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Convention in Denver, Colo., Dec. 4-8, 2004. Much of the discussion involved sharing professional information, such as specific instruments involved, but they also addressed such matters as preparation of the recipient mare and the most optimum state of embryo maturation for transfer.

Matthews told fellow veterinarians that he felt seven days was the optimum age of the embryo for successful transfer. After that, he said, the embryo is larger, but it is also more fragile.

He stressed the importance of proper preparation for recipient mares. For example, he said, the recipient should be washed as though being prepared for surgery. He also said that he normally tranquilizes recipients during the process, but care should be taken to avoid getting mares too relaxed or there is a danger of air being aspirated into the reproductive tract.

Bailey described the types of mares sought as recipients in his practice; and said they should be introduced into the herd for 60 to 90 days before the transfer takes place to make certain they have adjusted properly to the new environment. Recipients that are four to 10 years of age are desired, he said.

When purchasing recipients, Matthews added, an effort should be made to avoid any physical problems that could compromise the mare's ability to carry a foal to term. If there is any problem with the reproductive tract, the mare should not be considered a strong candidate to receive a transferred embryo.

About the Author

Kimberly S. Brown

Kimberly S. Brown was the Publisher/Editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care from June 2008 to March 2010, and she served in various positions at Blood-Horse Publications since 1980.

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