Equine reproduction: Q&A with an expert - DVM
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Equine reproduction: Q&A with an expert
Hagyard's Dr. Karen E. Wolfsdorf talks about equine fertility and clinical trends within reproduction


DVM: What myth would you like to bust about equine reproduction?

A. One that bothers me is true to females in general. If a performance mare or filly in training is not training well or is cranky or seems to be sore, everyone likes to blame it on her ovaries. They may point to cystic ovaries as being the cause, or just being in heat. People will blame the ovaries first and then look for something else. Most of the time, however, the ovaries are not the problem. Often it may be pain associated with muscle or back soreness, hind-limb arthritis or a behavioral issue.

DVM: What do you wish every DVM understood about reproduction issues?

A. We need to remember to go back to the basics. We spend a lot of time working on barren or subfertile mares. A lot of problems can be solved by looking at the confirmation or anatomy of the perinatal region. The barriers to infection are the vulva lips, vestibulo/vaginal sphincter or hymen area and the cervix. If we make sure that the vulva lips are positioned appropriately with regard to the brim of the pelvis (caslicks, if necessary) and the cervix is competent, we can solve some of the infertility issues.

DVM: What keeps you going in this field?

A. The love of the horse. There is nothing more fulfilling than seeing a foal born and knowing that you helped along the process. Then, having the opportunity to see it grow up. Although I haven't had the opportunity to experience it yet, some of these horses will end up performing in the Olympics. I have had the opportunity, however, to see them run in the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont and the Preakness.

My husband and I are owners in partnership with four other couples in a farm that boards, raises and sells Thoroughbreds. We have some Thoroughbred mares and foals of our own, so we definitely participate in the industry. And of course, our children have their riding ponies. We are what you'd call "horse crazy."

Skernivitz is a freelance writer in Cleveland, Ohio.


Source: DVM360 MAGAZINE,
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