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Equine Practice
Pre-breeding checks for mares
  1. Jonathan Pycock

    Jonathan Pycock graduated in 1983 from the Royal Veterinary College where he also obtained a PhD for work on breeding problems in the mare. He subsequently worked in private equine practice in the UK and in Australia before moving to the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands as associate professor of equine reproduction. He holds the RCVS diploma in equine stud medicine and is an RCVS recognised specialist in equine reproduction. He currently runs Equine Reproductive Services, a first opinion and referral private equine practice based in Yorkshire.


EVALUATION of the reproductive system in a mare should assess whether she has the potential to become pregnant and carry a foal successfully through to term. While unforeseen problems can always occur, there are a group of procedures, collectively known as a 'pre-breeding check', that can help to decide whether or not a mare is suitable for breeding. The suitability for breeding does not refer to the quality of the mare or her temperament; rather it is an assessment of the genital health of that particular animal. This article describes a clinical protocol for the investigation of the reproductive system of a mare prior to breeding that can readily be performed by a veterinary surgeon under normal conditions. The results of such an examination should be recorded in a systematic and accurate manner.

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