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Guelph researchers investigating infertility in horsesJanuary 2019

Story by: Nicole Weidner

Researchers at the Ontario Veterinary College (University of Guelph) are gaining a better understanding of one of the most common causes of infertility in mares, while also investigating ways to treat the condition.

The team includes Dr. Michelle Caissie, a DVSc graduate student of Dr. Tracey Chenier, faculty member at the Ontario Veterinary College and equine reproductive specialist. Caissie recently presented the team’s findings at the 45th Annual Conference of the International Embryo Technology Society in New Orleans, Louisiana held on January 20 – 23rd, 2019.

PhD student Shannon StanleyThe condition the researchers are investigating is persistent breeding-induced endometritis (PBIE). Dr. Caissie explains what happens in mares with the condition: “Under normal circumstances, mares develop inflammation in the uterus after they are bred. This is a normal response that helps with clearance of debris and dead spermatozoa. However, in mares with PBIE, this inflammation does not go away as rapidly as it should. If the inflammation is still there when the embryo descends into the uterus, then the embryo will not survive (this is known as early embryonic death) and the mare may then be considered subfertile.”

The researchers have so far looked at one potential drug as a treatment for the condition. Although the treatment tested did not result in improvement of clinical signs, the study still gave researchers further insight into the inflammation that is associated with the condition. Read more about the study here.

For more information on reproduction in horses, check out Equine Guelph’s new Mare & Foal Care Tool (

Photo credit: Karen DaPonte