Making Equine Ultrasound Safe and Affordable For Breeders

The Anatomy of the Mare

A basic understanding of reproductive physiology in the mare is necessary if producers and students are going to be able to effectively determine when to best breed mares.

The mare’s reproductive tract lies below the rectum and within the pelvic and abdominal cavities. The external genitalia includes the vulva, which is the opening of the tubular genitalia. The tubular genitalia includes the vestibule, vagina, uterine body & horns, and the oviducts. The ovaries are attached to the tract at the end of the oviducts. The portion of the mares tract in the abdominal cavity is suspended by the broad ligament.

This arrangement (suspended below the rectum) allows for the palpation (and ultrasound) of the mare’s reproductive tract by inserting an arm into the mare’s rectum and gently placing the hand under the reproductive tract (uterus).

Although the tract is not static, having a good idea of the normal placement or configuration of the tract will help in learning to safely palpate and ultrasound mares. It is important to understand that the tract has some movement, and location can depend on digestive tract fill. Mares also differ in “tone,” and the location of tract components will differ in young, maiden mares compared to older, multiparous mares.




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