View Full Version : ET transfer in mare question

05-04-05, 05:17 AM

I am currently looking into ET transfer, and have been told by vet that I have to pay to use one of their mares as the recepient, is this standard pratice that you have to use their mares instead of your own.


05-04-05, 06:58 AM
kelly this is standard practise. You cannot just supply one mare. Most places that do ET will have to get around 4 recipients ready for your mare and they would use the one that looks like being the best candidate. Ie they have to set the recipients up to think they are pregnant to accept the embryo.

Very few people can supply the number of mares required.

Most clinics that do ET have large mare herds to select from.

05-04-05, 07:26 AM
And unfortunately this doesn't guarantee a good mother. I've only known one ET and the "dam" (supplied by the vet who was an interstate vet) had no clue, despite *apparently* having had foals before. She left it lying in a puddle exposed in the wind and rain (one of those summers that was like winter) and when I found it, it was not looking good at all. To make it worse, the mare was overly protective of the foal which caused a lot of trouble trying to get the foal into the shelter and towelled off/rubbed. When our vet arrived (this foal was on death's door) we tried to milk her to try and give the colt enough strength for the float ride to the surgery. Not even sedation settled that mare enough and she was quite dangerous even with the foal right there. The vet was furious with the ET vet for providing such a mare. By some miracle, the colt did survive...a huge credit to the vet.

That is the only ET I've known and actually ended up costing the owners an awful lot of money, not just the vet bills from the above, but that colt never really grew up after the episode. Even now as a 2 year old, he is a very stunted poor looking thing. I know it may sound a bit harsh, but I personally blame the whole incident on that mare. A good mother would never have put its foal in a puddle (and yes, mares will "put" their foals in certain places to sleep) and then stepped around the corner out of the wind!

So while it is fine for the vet to have numbers of mares on hand, you might want to look into just what kind of horses these mares are. I realise it's an extreme example, but things can always go wrong.


05-04-05, 09:45 AM
I have bred three ET foals and the mares were all great mothers. I guess you cannot determine how a mare will react to a foal.

if the foal has not grown I doubt it has anything to do with laying in a puddle for a few hours, it would take more than that.

I have alot of foals and I have never seen a mare put a foal anywhere, least of all telling them where to sleep, I see more poor mares chasing after wayward foals than anything else.

05-04-05, 04:18 PM
EA could you give us a little info on the type/breeding health of the mares you decided to do ET from and what you consider to be the most successful approach for you.

I am interested because I have an aged mare and her younger daughter and we are considering taking an embryo from one or the other next year.

06-04-05, 01:10 AM
Bats I bred 3 ET foals from the same mare. She was a WB, 16:hh. She herself was healthy, but she at the time did not seem to carry a foal. I tried on several occasions to breed with her naturally and she aborted late term twice and then again aborted by 60 days.

In fact we have 4 goes all up. The recipient in one case reabsorbed the foal. She was pregnant at 30 days but it was gone by 60 days.

She is not the easies mare to get in foal, she needs good semen, but if that is good then she will produce an embryo.

She was about 10 when I bred the first ET foal from her.

Subsequently when the mare was 13 she had a foal naturally, by accident. We bred her again last year and she has a filly by Xlibris this year.

So esentially as long as you can get the mare to produce embryo's you can do ET with them. They dont need to have a good uterus as the embryo never needs to implant, but it is best that there is not alot of infection in the mare as this will just kill off the embryo before it can be recovered.

I think the tricky part in the process is being good at preparing the recipients to accept the embryo.

06-04-05, 01:28 AM
Thanks EA that was most helpful. Our older mare does not seem to have a problems with the uterus. She missed to frozen last year (it was our first try with her) then didn't get in foal but had no fluid or infection. This year she - like your horse - is in foal to Ex Libris and the vet was very impressed with her internal health. In fact all our old mares are going better than ever and we have an 18yo, 17yo and a 16yo in foal to frozen. But as you can see by their ages we are getting concerned that we are not getting any replacement daughter from them. This year ALL our good older mares had colts!

As you have said though, it is going to be difficult to find and maintain 7 or 8 recipient mares.

06-04-05, 04:06 AM
I was afraid that may have been the case, As mentioned above by werdun, I am concerned about using someone elses recipient mares, as I do not know their temp or back ground.

Because usually large vets only buy slow trotters as recepient mares, and god only knows what the temp is like on them. I figure if I spend a fortune getting an ET foal, the last thing I need is a cranky sour mare, who is an awful mother and passes all her bad traits onto my foal. Also the other thing that concerned me was that if the recipient mare injured her self through no fault of my own then I had to pay all associated costs.

ET how have you found the ET mares that you have been provided with in the past?

Thanking you in advance.


07-04-05, 02:08 AM
Bats79, most vets that do ET will have a large recipient herd. I had mine done at Gouburn Valley, and they had a herd of about 80 recipient mares.

All the mares that we had were pretty quite, and very good mums, I think they had all had foals in the past. It was quite sad when we had to take them back. Of course you need to care for them and like any horse in your care if it hurts itself you are responsible for the veterinary care until it is returned, as you are essentially leasing the horse for the duration. Most clinics will expect the mare back after three months, so the foals are weaned at that time, so really dont get a big chance to be influenced by the mare. I certainly have not had any mare refuse to feed or be nasty to the foals.

I dont think too much of the mares temperament really rubs off on the foals, all the ET foals we have had have the same temperament as their genetic mother.

The process is very expensive though, you are looking at on average $4000 in costs per pregnancy so the foal you are breeding needs to be worth it.

bats you will be happy (or jealous ) to know that I actually had two fillies by Xlibris this year.

08-04-05, 07:19 AM
>if the foal has not grown I doubt it has anything to do with
>laying in a puddle for a few hours, it would take more than

It has grown heightwise, but it looks so poor compared to the other horses its age adn is workmed, etc regularly along with them. I only saw it for the first time since that episode (18 months ago) a few weeks ago so I can't really say what's happened in that time except the owners said it never picked up afterwards.

It was a very bad case of pneumonia for a foal and considering the vet doubted it would even survive the float journey to the surgery, I'd say it could have been serious enough to affect *something* inside. Yes, if it were me, I'd do bloods, biopsies, etc to suss it out just in case, but I don't think the owners would go to those lengths but I do think that the initial cause was related to the puddle incident.

>I have alot of foals and I have never seen a mare put a foal
>anywhere, least of all telling them where to sleep, I see
>more poor mares chasing after wayward foals than anything

I have seen a lot of mares do it (but only the mares that are the obviously fantastic mothers - the ones that you can see are always *teaching* their foals something, not just looking after them). I have also seen mares nudge their foals up when they lie down somewhere unsuitable. The best example was the dam of my colt who, at 2pm on the dot every afternoon, would take him over to my gelding (the nanny) where he would promptly lie down and have his afternoon nap. The gelding would stand over him that whole time while the dam went grazing, often out of sight, before coming back.

It takes several foals before a mare becomes that kind of mother, but it certainly does happen! Some sooner than others, some never. The mare that carried that ET foal had apparently had foals before, but you would never have guessed it and my point was that if a *vet* is providing a carrier, it should be a proven good breeder with a good temperament...they're not that hard to find especially if their herds are really that big.


08-04-05, 01:36 PM
What a silly thing to say, re: being a bad mother for putting the foal in a puddle! I think it is a pity she was not brought into a more sheltered area to deliver this precious foal in controlled conditions with the offer of assistance if required. The mare sounds as if she was justifably anxious about her babe. I suspect slightly better management would have avoided the situation.

09-04-05, 12:54 AM
Oh well Katherine I guess my 20 mares are all just bad mothers that cant teach their foals a thing, even though most of them have had half a dozen or so.

I have to agree with Pagan, I dont think the mare or the vet are at fault her , the owners that went to such trouble to breed and ET foal should have managed to foaling much better so that the mare was not out in the mud and rain with it in the first place. It would have had to been there for a long time to get Pheumonia, so extremely poor management

09-04-05, 09:56 AM
Okay, there are some wires crossed here. This foal was just under a week old...it was *not* a foaling incident. The puddle in question was right next to a very large open shelter...in a large, purpose built foaling paddock. Of course the mare went around the corner to stand in the shelter while the foal was outside in the puddle. The foal was still not strong, but healthy enough the day before. I went over there first thing in the morning (the cold front came in overnight) and found the foal.

I was just a 3rd party/observer/helper in all this and I can't fault the owners for their treatment of either horse at any time. I am comparing this mare as a mother to every other I have known.

EA, I don't know how you interpreted what I said as your mares being bad mothers. I was talking about one trait I have personally seen in many good dams I have known.

The purpose of my post was to offer my own experiences to the original poster in answer to their question. This is one of the reasons I and many others enjoy this forum and I am not going to continue any discussion where people start bagging other people's experiences. I have given my experience and opinion as have you...if we differ, so be it. There is no point arguing about it.

Enough said... :-) (Shake hands, make up....)


09-04-05, 11:03 AM
Ohh....As you realise I thought she foaled into a puddle! I am always ready to give a horse the benefit of the doubt! Sorry.
If baby did not grow too well he made have had 'rattles' as well as pneumonia. It is sad but it happens in the best (and worst) run set-ups. One can always be wise after the event, maybe .... I won't go with with maybe's.