Gypsy Horses for Sale Lodi, California Performance gypsy horses
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    Gypsy Horse Embryo Transplant Process

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Gypsy Horse Embryo Transplant Process

DUE TO THE GRAPHIC NATURE OF THIS PROCESS- WE WISHTO ADVISE THAT NOT EVERYONE WILL WANT TO VIEW THIS CONTENT. The ET process involves significant physical contact with the mares’ reproductive system.

Screen shot 2009-10-09 at 9.38.05 AMControversy abounds when it comes to the concept of Embryo Transplant of Equines. There are often many valid reasons for utilizing this process and I for one have experienced one too many risky births, so that I am not willing to compromise my Performance Gypsy Mares health in order to procreate their lines.

Yet they have much to offer to the breed, so I have incorporated the ET process into my program. The secondary reason, I find ET a workable solution for the Gypsy Rose Ranch, is that I now have all of my mares available to show or exhibit, and they are in fit condition at all times. No constraints due to impending births for them personally.

The embryo transplant process has evolved significantly over the past 10 years. It has become more simplified and less risky to both the donor and recipient mares, since most of the transplants are now performed in the same manner as an Artificial Insemination process.

Here at the Gypsy Rose Ranch, we care for and manage a recipient brood mare band consisting of mainly Thoroughbreds, Quarter horse, Paints, and Morgan mares to utilize as our recipients.

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The Gypsy Rose Ranch / GHSwest wishes to express a heartfelt thank you to Dr. Hilda Baisel, and her Technicians, at Pioneer Equine Veterinary facility for their commitment and dedication, to the art of Embryo Transfer Process.

The mares cycles are monitored so that the donor mares are being bred and ovulate  1-2 days ahead of the recipient mares.  It is for this reason that we maintain several open recipient mares each year for the donors. You increase your chances for alignment of mares if you have a least 2 mares for each donor mare.  It is a little more risky if you have only one recipient at the time of the flush, because if your recipient mare is not in the prime state of estrus on the day of the flush, there is more risk of sloughing or absorbing the embryo.   It is possible to cycle on a 1-1 ratio, but again it is better if you have at least a 2-1 ratio, and a 3-1 ratio is even better.

The donor mare is bred every other day throughout her cycle until she has ovulated, ultra-sound is performed several times throughout the heat cycle to confirm the precise ovulation day. See images below)

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The potential recipient mares are also ultra sounded during the cycle to monitor their progress. Should either of them be lagging behind the donor mare, they are given an injection to attempt to catch them up to the donor mares, cycle. One week after the day of ovulation, the flush is performed and if all has gone well, there is a fertilized egg, in the petri dish.

The fertilized egg is then cleaned and prepped for implanting in the recipient mare, which is in the most ideal stage of estrus.

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The actual implant is performed in the same fashion as an AI procedure.  The recipient mare is cleaned in the peritoneal area with a disinfecting solution, given some tranquilizers, hormones, and then a pipette with the embryo is inserted vaginally with rectal palpation for placement. She is then sent home with additional med’s to be followed up with for a few days.

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At post 7 days implant, my vet likes to ultra-sound the mare to look for a contained CL, of the implant, if all has gone well, the CL is present.

At 22+ days gestation, another ultrasound is performed to verify if the heartbeat is present, at that check- point, you just pray for continued acceptance and continued growth of the transplanted embryo. (see images on top right)

Post 50 days, the embryo has finally attached to the uterine wall, and now has about a 60-70% chance of going to full gestation…. Ultra-sound should be performed at 50 + days to confirm that you are on track.

Then at 110 -120 days post implant, your chances of a completed pregnancy are increased to 85-95% as with any normal pregnancy, and once again it is best to have a ultrasound performed to confirm the recipient is still carrying the embryo and occasionally, if the embryo cooperates it can be sexed at that scanning point, as was the case with this embryo.image033

LEFT: Dark areas on right – Mammary Glands of 110 day Embryo

As with any pregnancy, there is still risk to a mare slipping an embryo at any given time throughout the gestation period, but no significant increase due to it being an embryo transplant, after the embryo has attached itself to the uterine wall. Another advantage to embryo transfer is that you know the precise age of the embryo at transfer time, as the cellular structure at the time of the flush is very distinctive to the trained veterinarian. The attending Vet can then predict with significant accuracy when the embryo is at 335days gestation and you will have a solid date to start watching your recipient mare for impending birth signs.

image035The filly (pictured to the right) moments after birth, was due on October 3rd, 2006 and was birthed on October 13, 2006. She is the filly conceived, and flushed out of Ms. Bodi. She is the same filly shown in the ultrasounds demonstrated above.

This image below is of the same filly at 1 week of age, as you can see, her inherited characteristics are fully that of her biological Gypsy Horse parents.image036

I am often asked if the birth Mom has influence on the attitude, or personality of the foal, and I can say that I have not seen any undue influences imparted by the recipient mares. The Gypsy foals still come to people and interact, just as foals standing at the sides of gypsy mares. As with any mare, foal relationship, the birth mare will discipline her embryo foal as she would her own biological foal, because the recipient mare does not know that this ET foal is not hers, as far as she is concerned she has nurtured and grown it inside her, so it is her baby.

The bond between surrogate mares and embryo foals is just as strong as the bonds between natural carry mares, and the embryo transfer program allows mares that may have otherwise been destroyed, because they were injured, or otherwise considered no longer useful, to still have a very fulfilling, useful lives. And Embryo Transplant foals now have two, “Very Special Mom’s.”

image038“Two Very Special Mom’s” – ET Filly at 4 months of age with both of her Moms.