Ask Your Veterinarian: What To Look At In A Broodmare Sale Prospect

by | 11.09.2017 | 4:47pm

Veterinarians at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital answer your questions about sales and healthcare of Thoroughbred auction yearlings, weanlings, 2-year-olds and breeding stock. Email us at [email protected] if you have a question for a veterinarian.

QUESTION: What information is available to help a prospective buyer looking at a pregnant mare at the sales?

DR. THOMAS RIDDLE: The sales company requires a certificate showing the mare was examined within 10 days of the sale and was found pregnant. Most buyers elect to then check the mare after she sells, but within 24 hours of the purchase to confirm the pregnancy status. If she is not pregnant, then there are steps that can be taken to return her (if she has been checked within 24 hours of purchase and the sales company is notified while the mare is still on the sale grounds). Therefore, the prospective buyer of a pregnant mare usually does not ask his veterinarian to examine the pregnancy before purchase.

There is other information the buyer may find helpful prior to purchase. This may include: 1) number of covers required to achieve the pregnancy; 2) last foaling date (if applicable) of the mare; 3) if previously foaled, is the seller aware of any difficulties with the delivery? 4) was the mare fetal sexed and, if so, what is the sex of the in utero fetus? 5) is vulvar conformation normal? 6) has the mare had a Caslicks performed? 7) does the mare have any physical issues that may affect her ability to deliver and raise a foal? 8) is the mare currently or within the last year has she been on any medication? 9) is the mare on normal turn-out with other mares? 10) vaccination history of the mare should be available; 11) if the mare has a weanling in the sale, the size and conformation of this individual should be noted. If the weanling is not in the sale, the prospective buyer may ask about it.

The answers to the above questions may be helpful for a number of reasons. For example, a large lapse of time between foaling and being bred back could indicate a difficult recovery from foaling. A large number of covers to achieve the pregnancy may indicate a problem history that should be investigated. Poor vulvar conformation may adversely affect the mare's ability to maintain the current pregnancy and could affect her future broodmare performance. Physical issues such as bad feet may affect the mare's ability to raise her foal, and they could affect the cost of maintaining her. Medication history obviously could be useful for the buyer in his/her management of the mare and could indicate other health concerns that the buyer should factor into their buying decision. Likewise, turnout history is important for the buyer to know so that if the mare is purchased, she can be cared for properly.

Ideally, the prospective buyer and his/her veterinarian should work together closely to select a mare that meets the buyer's needs. A proper investigation of a mare should minimize (but not eliminate) future surprises with the mare after she goes to her new home.

Dr. Thomas Riddle received his veterinary degree from the University of Georgia in 1978 and came to central Kentucky to intern with Dr. Don Witherspoon at Spendthrift Farm. He joined Dr. Bill Rood's ambulatory practice in 1982, and in 1985 the two purchased the land on which Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital now sits. The hospital now includes three campuses and is owned by 23 shareholders.

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