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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BIOPHOTONICS - THE APPLICATION OF NOVEL IMAGING METHODOLOGIES TO LIVESTOCK PRODUCTION RESEARCH Title: Emerging diagnostic approaches for evaluation of fetal and pregnancy well-being in the mare

Authors
item Ryan, P -
item Greene, J -
item Christiansen, D -
item Hopper, R -
item Walters, F -
item Leblanc, M -

Submitted to: Society for Theriogenology Newsletter
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 15, 2010
Publication Date: September 1, 2010
Citation: Ryan, P.L., Greene, J.M., Christiansen, D., Hopper, R.M., Walters, F.K., Leblanc, M.M. 2010. Emerging diagnostic approaches for evaluation of fetal and pregnancy well-being in the mare. Society for Theriogenology Newsletter. 2(2):149-161.

Interpretive Summary: Often when problems associated with late-term pregnancy in the horse manifest the condition is well advanced and clinical intervention may not be effective in rescuing the pregnancy. If a compromised pregnancy could be identified early, the pregnancy might be sustained through appropriate medical intervention. The challenge is determining the most effective diagnostic approach that will correctly assess the status of the pregnancy and the uterine environment. It is highly unlikely that any one test will serve this purpose; rather a combination of diagnostic approaches may be necessary to accurately assess the well-being of the pregnancy and the fetus. As in human pregnancy, the most common cause of later term pregnancy loss and pre-term delivery is associated with some form of insult or deficiency which places the pregnancy at “high risk”. Thus, this review will focus on current diagnostic approaches utilized in equine medicine and also describe emerging techniques in human medicine that could be applied to the mare to identify “at risk” pregnancies.

Technical Abstract: Placental insufficiency is regarded as the primary factor contributing to late-term abortion, pre-term delivery and perinatal death of foals. Often when problems associated with late-term pregnancy in the horse manifest the condition is well advanced and therapeutic intervention may not be effective in rescuing the pregnancy. If a compromised pregnancy could be identified early, the pregnancy might be sustained through appropriate medical intervention. The challenge is determining the most effective diagnostic approach that will correctly assess the status of the pregnancy and the uterine environment. It is highly unlikely that any one test will serve this purpose; rather a combination of diagnostic approaches may be necessary to accurately assess the well-being of the pregnancy and the fetus. As in human pregnancy, the most common cause of later term pregnancy loss and pre-term delivery is associated with some form of placental insult or deficiency which places the pregnancy at “high risk”. Thus, this review will focus on current diagnostic approaches (i.e., endocrine markers, transabdominal/transrectal ultrasound, Doppler ultrasound) utilized in equine medicine and also describe emerging techniques in human medicine (i.e., protein biomarkers in amniotic or cervico-vaginal fluids, bioluminescence imaging technology) that could be applied to the mare to identify “at risk” pregnancies.

Last Modified: 10/20/2014