Retrospective study on vulvar conformation in relation to endometrial cytology and fertility in thoroughbred mares

J Vet Med A Physiol Pathol Clin Med. 2005 Nov;52(9):474-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0442.2005.00760.x.


Changes in the conformation of the vulva predispose the mare to uterine infection. Vulvoplasty for closure of the upper vulvar lips improves fertility. Not all mares are resutured after parturition, but are resutured after mating. No clinical data have hitherto been published on the reproductive outcome in mares that are resutured or not after parturition. The objectives of the present study were to investigate relationships between vulvar status (not Caslick-operated, group A; previously Caslick-operated and/or not resutured after the last parturition, groups B and C respectively) and endometrial cytology, conception rate and live foal rate for different age groups and categories of Thoroughbred mares. A careful examination of the vulvar area, and endometrial sampling for bacteriology and cytology was performed. The mares were naturally mated once during oestrus (never foal heat) by one of two stallions. Mares belonging to vulvar status group A had the highest conception rate and live foal rate, whereas the lowest conception rate and live foal rate occurred in mares with vulvar status group C. A multifactorial analysis revealed that the vulvar status at arrival had a significant effect on pregnancy rate and live foal rate, but not on fetal loss. Stallion, year and age group had no significant effect on any of the three variables analysed. In conclusion, optimizing managerial factors such as resuturing Caslick-operated mares immediately after parturition to minimize growth of micro-organisms with a subsequent endometritis will contribute to their conception and that they carry a pregnancy to term.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endometritis / pathology
  • Endometritis / physiopathology
  • Endometritis / veterinary
  • Endometrium / pathology*
  • Female
  • Fertility / physiology*
  • Horse Diseases / pathology
  • Horse Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Horse Diseases / prevention & control
  • Horses / physiology*
  • Horses / surgery
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Pregnancy Rate
  • Pregnancy, Animal / physiology*
  • Reoperation / veterinary
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vulva / anatomy & histology*
  • Vulva / surgery