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Reproduction Glossary

Examine Reproductive Tract

Refers to palpation and detailed ultrasound examination per rectum of reproductive tract (ovaries, uterus, cervix). Depending on the stage of the mare's cycle, the focus of the examination is directed towards the development of follicle on the mare's ovaries, detecting abnormal fluid in the uterus, or diagnosing pregnancy. The basic procedure is similar in most circumstances but may be described as ovarian palpation or ultrasound scan examination.

Caslick Operation

A surgical procedure to suture the upper area of the lips of the vulva together to prevent air and manure being 'sucked' into the vagina, which can cause uterine inflammation and infection. It is performed regularly on susceptible mares with poor vulval conformation and may need to be repaired after service by a stallion.

Uterine Lavage

When uterine infection is suspected (often within 1-2 days after foaling) a large volume of a dilute antiseptic solution is introducd into the uterus and is then siphoned out. Used to mechanically flush and remove abnormal fluid in the uterus and to stimulate contraction of the uterus. Oxytocin® is often used as an aid to evacuate fluid from the uterus after the lavage procedure.

Post Service Infusion

An antibiotic suspension introduced into the uterus to manage infection. The antibiotic used will depend on the results of the swab taken from the uterus, the mare's history and the vet's experience.

Speculum Examination

A common technique used as a method to directly visualise the cervix and vagina to detect the presence of any abnormalities indicating inflammation, infection or foaling injuries. Also used to assess the degree of relaxation and softening of the cervix indicating a mare's readiness for service.


Prostaglandins (Lutalyse®, Juramate®, or Estromil®)
These drugs are a synthetic copy of a natural hormone. They act to bring a mare back in season when injected into a mare which ovulated at least five days previously.

Progesterone-type hormones (Regumate®, Altrenogest®)
A course of Regumate® can be used to suppress a mare's persistant cycling (spring heat, transitional anoestrous) so that a normal cycle occurs when the treatment is stopped.

Domperidone®, Fertagyl®, Receptal®
Hormones that can stimulate ovarian function in mares that display inadequate follicle development. Can be used in lactating mares in an attempt to stimulate increased lactation.

Chorulon®, Ovuplant® Biorelease Deslorelin®
These drugs are used to help manage the timing of a mare's ovulation to assist in the management of busy stallions.

Oxytocin® / Carbetocin®
Hormones that stimulate contraction of the muscle of the uterus (and 'let down' of milk in lactating mares). May be used both before and after service in mares with fluid detected in the uterus.

Clitoral Swab

A screening swab to ensure transmissible venereal diseases such as Pseudomonas or Klebsiella bacteria are not present before a mare is allowed to be bred.

Endometrial Swab

A swab passed through the cervix into the uterus to identify the presence of bacteria. If inflammatory cells are present also, this indicates infection and the mare may not be served on that cycle or may be treated with antibiotics.