A mare experiencing her estrous cycle, or “heat” cycle, can sometimes act differently than her normal self; she may kick out while being ridden or have a hard time focusing on the task at-hand. Until recently, there have been very few options to delay a mare's cycle: one was daily oral altrenogest, a progesterone-like hormone, and the other was having a veterinarian insert a device into the uterus to trick it into thinking the mare is pregnant (sterile marbles have been used in the past).
Both of these treatments had potential issues: Oral altrenogest must be handled property, especially by women, and marbles may not be effective and can sometimes cause infection and inflammation of the uterus.
Recently, a drug-free, intrauterine device called a Upod has been developed. This device uses three egg-shaped, shatterproof magnetic beads that are inserted into the uterus using a pipette. The beads then self-assemble in a triangle. This signals to the mare that she is pregnant, thus stopping her estrous cycle and the accompanying behavior.
Scientists studying the Upod noted that it was retained in every mare used in the study. The device was easy to insert and remove, and was visible with a rectal ultrasound or an external metal detector. If placed in the uterus immediately after ovulation, estrus was prevented for 73 days.
The Upod has no impact on fertility; once removed, 100 percent of the mares studied were able to become pregnant.
Read more at Stable Management.
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