Treatment of Retained Fetal Membranes in the Mare-A Practitioner Survey.
ABSTRACT: Retained fetal membranes (RFM) is a common post-partum problem in mares for which the treatment is highly variable. The aim of this study was (i) to investigate the different treatments used by equine practitioners for RFM and (ii) to determine if there is a difference between treatments used by reproductive specialists and general equine practitioners. Information regarding treatment of RFM was sought from veterinary practitioners via a survey and this was compared to recommendations in the current literature. The survey was sent out to equine veterinarians and mixed practitioners with a high equine case load. Most treatments of RFM were in line with current recommendations, while some obsolete practices are still routinely performed by a small number of practitioners. Treatment recommendations for RFM have changed over the last few decades, but there are no universally accepted guidelines. The vast variety of treatments reported by practitioners in the present survey reflect this lack of guidance. More extensive research is needed in this area to establish evidence-based, uniformly agreed upon protocols.
Project description:The failure of the maternal immune system to recognize fetal antigens and vice versa due to MHC similarity between the foal and its dam might result in the lack of placental separation during parturition in mares. The aim of the study was to investigate the influence of MHC similarity between a mare and a foal on the incidence of retained fetal membranes (RFM) in post-partum mares. DNA was sampled from 43 draft mares and their foals. Mares which failed to expel fetal membranes within three hours after foal expulsion were considered the RFM group (n = 14) and mares that expelled fetal membranes during the above period were the control group (n = 29). Nine MHC microsatellites of MHC I and MHC II were amplified for all mares and foals. MHC compatibility and MHC genetic similarity between mares and their foals was determined based on MHC microsatellites. The inbreeding coefficient was also calculated for all horses. The incidence of RFM in the studied population was 33%. Compatibility in MHC I and MHC II did not increase the risk of RFM in the studied population of draft mares (P>0.05). Differences in MHC similarity at the genetic level were not observed between mare-foal pairs in RFM and control group (P>0.05). We suspect that RFM in draft mares may not be associated with MHC similarity between a foal and its dam. Despite the above, draft horses could be genetically predisposed to the disease.
Project description:Endometritis is a major cause for impaired fertility in mares. The objectives of this study were to collect information on diagnostic and treatment practices performed by veterinarians and to investigate possible effects of professional experience, caseload, and geographical location on the practitioners' management of endometritis cases. For this purpose, equine practitioners (n = 680) were asked to fill out an online survey (34 questions). The online survey yielded 117 responses by veterinarians practicing in all parts of Germany. Most respondents came from Lower Saxony and managed <20 mares per year. For the diagnosis of chronic infectious endometritis, uterine sampling for microbiological examination was performed manually with a swab by the majority of practitioners whereas only few used the speculum technique. The incidence of antibiotic resistant pathogens was reported to be <5% by almost all respondents. Most practitioners relied on systemic antibiotic treatment with trimethoprim-sulfadiazine. Only occasionally veterinarians used intrauterine antibiotic therapy. Uterine lavages were performed routinely by almost half of the respondents in case of positive uterine cultures, mostly with 0.9% saline solution. Irritant solutions (e.g., iodine, chlorhexidine, kerosene) were used less often. Collection of an endometrial culture after completion of the treatment was common practice. While only a very limited association of the geographical location of practitioner (e.g., on selection of mares for endometrial culture, p < 0.05) was observed, the number of managed mares affected the answers notably (e.g., for use of irritating intrauterine treatment, p < 0.05). The management of persistent breeding induced endometritis (PBIE) was influenced by the number of managed mares (e.g., for use of oxytocin, p < 0.05) and 29.6% of respondents administered antibiotics as part of their PBIE management. In summary, treatment strategies in the field vary considerably and include also non-evidence-based methods, but most German practitioners apply the recommended suitable treatments. Following the guidelines for antibiotic usage, most veterinarians administer antibiotics dependent on endometrial culture results but do not use cytology, low-volume lavage, or biopsy routinely. Antibiotic resistant uterine pathogens are reported to be isolated infrequently and equine practitioners prefer systemic to local antibiotic treatment of endometritis.
Project description:Due to the extirpation of their natural predators, feral horse populations have expanded across the United States, necessitating their management. Contraception of females (mares) with porcine zona pellucida (PZP) is a popular option; however, effects to physiology and behavior can be substantial. On Shackleford Banks, North Carolina, USA, treated mares have exhibited cycling during the non-breeding season and demonstrated decreased fidelity to the band stallion, but PZP's long-term effects on mare physiology and behavior remain largely unexplored. After the contraception program was suspended in this population, we examined how prior exposure to varying levels of PZP treatment impacted (1) foaling probability and foaling dates (a proxy for ovulatory cycling) from 2009 to 2014 and (2) mare fidelity to the band stallion and reproductive behavior during 2013 and 2015. Additionally, we evaluated the effects of time since the mares' last treatment on these factors. Mares receiving any level of prior PZP treatment were less likely to foal than were untreated mares. Among mares that received 1-3 PZP applications, foaling probability increased with time since last treatment before declining, at ~6 years post-treatment. Mares that received 4+ applications did not exhibit a significant increase in foaling probability with time since last treatment. Moreover, previously treated mares continued to conceive later than did untreated mares. Finally, mares previously receiving 4+ treatments changed groups more often than did untreated mares, though reproductive behavior did not differ with contraception history. Our results suggest that although PZP-induced subfertility and its associated behavioral effects can persist after the cessation of treatment, these effects can be ameliorated for some factors with less intense treatment. Careful consideration to the frequency of PZP treatment is important to maintaining more naturally functioning populations; the ability to manage populations adaptively may be compromised if females are kept subfertile for extended periods of time.
Project description:The objective of this study was to characterize the chemical composition and lipid profile of colostrum and milk of purebred Quarter Horse mares. Thirty-four (34) purebred mares were selected, which were then separated into groups according to age, birth order and lactation stage. Colostrum samples were collected in the first six hours after delivery and milk samples from the 7th postpartum day, with intervals of 14 days until the end of lactation. The samples were refrigerated and sent to the Milk Laboratory of the University (Laboleite-UFRN), where they were analyzed for chemical composition. Colostrum was assessed by refractometry. The lipid profile was determined by gas chromatography through a separation of methyl esters. The data were tabulated and subjected to descriptive statistics and analysis of variance by the F-Test, and the groups were compared by the Tukey test using a significance level of 5%. There was high protein content and reduced lactose content for the colostrum of the Quarter Horse mares, differing from other breeds. The milk composition was not influenced by the mares' age. However, variations in the lactation stage and in the birth order of the Quarter Horse mares altered the milk's chemical composition. There is variation in the lipid composition of milk according to the lactation stage, without changing the characteristic profile of the mares' milk or diminishing the nutritional quality of the lipid fraction.
Project description:mRNA profiles of (1) equine endometrium collected 14, 22, and 28 days after ovulation from pregnant mares and (2) equine endometrium collected 20 days after ovulation from pregnant mares, and from non-pregnant mares which displayed and failed to display extended luteal function following the administration of oxytocin. Overall design: Examination of transcriptional profiles transcriptional profiles of equine endometrium collected 14, 22, and 28 days after ovulation from pregnant mares. In addition, the transcriptomes of endometrial samples obtained 20 days after ovulation from pregnant mares, and from non-pregnant mares which displayed and failed to display extended luteal function following the administration of oxytocin, were determined and compared
Project description:There are several non-steroidal intra-articular therapeutics (NSIATs) available for use by equine practitioners for the treatment of performance-limiting joint-related pathology. Information is limited on perceived clinical efficacy, recommended treatment protocols, and associated complications. Our objective with this cross-sectional survey was to investigate the current clinical usage of NSIATs by equine practitioners. An electronic cross-sectional convenience survey inquiring about the use of steroidal and NSIATS (platelet-rich plasma, autologous conditioned serum, autologous protein solution, cellular therapies, and polyacrylamide hydrogel) was distributed internationally to equine practitioners. A total of 353 surveys were completed. NSIATs were used by 87.5% of the participants. Corticosteroids and hyaluronic acid remain the intra-articular therapeutic of choice among practitioners, followed by autologous conditioned serum, platelet-rich plasma and autologous conditioned protein. Polyacrylamide hydrogel was the least used. Practitioners were more likely to use NSIATs if their caseload was > 50% equine (P < 0.001), they treated more than 10 horses intra-articularly per month (P < 0.001), and horses treated were considered English sport horses (P = 0.02). Years in practice and practice location did not influence the use of NSIATs. One of the most common reasons why NSIATs were chosen was to treat acute articular pathologies. As survey limitations, answers to questions regarding clinical response and complication rates were based on subjective estimation and practitioners recall, not clinical records. In conclusion, corticosteroids remain the most widely used intra-articular therapeutic. Among the NSIATs, blood-based products are more commonly used by practitioners, followed by cellular and synthetic products. Equine practitioners frequently use NSIATs, choosing to treat acute joint pathology more than previously reported.
Project description:To characterize miRNA expression throughout gestation, we utilized small RNA sequencing to evaluate matched chorioallantois and serum samples from mares at 4 m gestation (n = 3), 10 m gestation (n = 3) and postpartum (n = 3), as well as serum from diestrus mares (n = 6). Overall design: Next-generation sequencing of chorioallantois and serum in mares throughout gestation, including diestrus serum.
Project description:The value of prophylactic neonatal vaccination is challenged by the interference of passively transferred maternal antibodies and immune competence at birth. Taken our previous studies on equine B cell ontogeny, we hypothesized that the equine neonate generates a diverse immunoglobulin repertoire in response to vaccination, independently of circulating maternal antibodies. In this study, equine neonates were vaccinated with 3 doses of keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) or equine influenza vaccine, and humoral immune responses were assessed using antigen-specific serum antibodies and B cell Ig variable region sequencing. An increase (p<0.0001) in serum KLH-specific IgG level was measured between days 21 and days 28, 35 and 42 in vaccinated foals from non-vaccinated mares. In vaccinated foals from vaccinated mares, serum KLH-specific IgG levels tended to increase at day 42 (p = 0.07). In contrast, serum influenza-specific IgG levels rapidly decreased (p?0.05) in vaccinated foals from vaccinated mares within the study period. Nevertheless, IGHM and IGHG sequences were detected in KLH- and influenza- sorted B cells of vaccinated foals, independently of maternal vaccination status. Immunoglobulin nucleotide germline identity, IGHV gene usage and CDR length of antigen-specific IGHG sequences in B cells of vaccinated foals revealed a diverse immunoglobulin repertoire with isotype switching that was comparable between groups and to vaccinated mares. The low expression of CD27 memory marker in antigen-specific B cells, and of cytokines in peripheral blood mononuclear cells upon in vitro immunogen stimulation indicated limited lymphocyte population expansion in response to vaccine during the study period.
Project description:The placenta is a dynamic organ which undergoes extensive remodeling throughout pregnancy to support, protect and nourish the developing fetus. Despite the importance of the placenta, very little is known about its gene expression beyond very early pregnancy and post-partum. Therefore, we utilized RNA-sequencing to characterize the transcriptome from the fetal (chorioallantois) and maternal (endometrium) components of the placenta from mares throughout gestation (4, 6, 10, 11 m). Within the endometrium, 47% of genes changed throughout pregnancy, while in the chorioallantois, 29% of genes underwent significant changes in expression. Further bioinformatic analyses of both differentially expressed genes and highly expressed genes help reveal similarities and differences between tissues. Overall, the tissues were more similar than different, with ~ 95% of genes expressed in both tissues, and high similarities between the most highly expressed genes (9/20 conserved), as well as marked similarities between the PANTHER pathways identified. The most highly expressed genes fell under a few broad categories, including endocrine and immune-related transcripts, iron-binding proteins, extracellular matrix proteins, transport proteins and antioxidants. Serine protease inhibitors were particularly abundant, including SERPINA3, 6 and 14, as well as SPINK7 and 9. This paper also demonstrates the ability to effectively separate maternal and fetal components of the placenta, with only a minimal amount of chorioallantoic contamination in the endometrium (~8%). This aspect of equine placentation is a boon for better understanding gestational physiology and allows the horse to be used in areas where a separation of fetal and maternal tissues is essential. Overall, these data represent the first large-scale characterization of placental gene expression in any species and include time points from multiple mid- to late-gestational stages, helping further our understanding of gestational physiology.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Advanced mare age is associated with declining fertility and an increased risk of early pregnancy loss. Compromised oocyte quality is probably the primary reason for reduced fertility, but the defects predisposing to embryonic death are unknown. In women, advanced age predisposes to chromosome segregation errors during meiosis, which lead to embryonic aneuploidy and a heightened risk of miscarriage. OBJECTIVES:To evaluate the effect of advanced mare age on chromosome alignment and meiotic spindle morphology in in vitro-matured (IVM) oocytes. STUDY DESIGN:Morphometric and morphological analysis. METHODS:To investigate differences in spindle organisation and chromosome alignment between young and old mares, oocytes collected from slaughtered mares were divided into two groups depending on mare age (young, ≤14 years and old, ≥16 years), IVM and stained to visualise chromatin and alpha-tubulin. Spindle morphology, morphometry and chromosome (mis)alignment were evaluated by confocal microscopy and 3D image analysis. RESULTS:Oocytes from old mares showed a higher incidence of chromosome misalignment (47.4% vs. 4.5%; P<0.001) and a thicker metaphase plate (mean ± s.d.: 5.8 ± 1.0 μm vs. 4.9 ± 0.9 μm; P = 0.04) than oocytes from young mares. Although no differences in spindle morphometry were detected between old and young mares, an increased major spindle axis length was associated with chromosome misalignment (mean ± s.d.: 25.3 ± 6.1 μm vs. 20.8 ± 3.3 μm; P = 0.01) irrespective of age. MAIN LIMITATIONS:The oocytes were IVM and may not exactly reflect chromosome misalignment in vivo. CONCLUSIONS:Advanced mare age predisposes to chromosome misalignment on the metaphase II spindle of IVM oocytes. The compromised ability to correctly align chromosomes presumably predisposes to aneuploidy in resulting embryos and thereby contributes to the age-related decline in fertility and increased incidence of early pregnancy loss. The Summary is available in Portuguese - see Supporting Information.