Horse Side Vet Guide ®

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Mare Doesn't Show Signs of Heat

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

Code Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

  • You hope to breed the mare as soon as possible.

Code Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

  • There is no hurry in breeding the mare.

During the breeding season (April through October in the northern hemisphere), mares should be in obvious heat approximately 5 days out of each 21 day cycle. Many mares show outward signs of heat during estrus, even without being exposed to a stallion. Most should show obvious signs of estrus when exposed to a stallion.

In this case, you expect your mare to be in heat but she fails to show any sign of estrus. When exposed to a stallion she is not receptive. You have tried this several times and she consistently appears unreceptive.

There are several things that could be going on. The mare might truly not be in heat, or she may be coming into heat but not behaving as though she is. This is known as silent heat or behavioral anestrus.

WHAT TO DO

Assess the mare’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), paying particular attention to her body condition score (BCS). Check the vulvar area for any obvious abnormalities and look for discharge. Consider whether there is a possibility she is already pregnant.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet will start with rectal palpation and ultrasound of the mare’s reproductive tract. The results of those diagnostics will provide the basic information to determine a path for managing the problem.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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