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Keywords:

  • horse;
  • transvaginal ultrasound-guided aspiration;
  • ovum pick up;
  • haematoma;
  • abscess;
  • reparative fibrosis

Summary

Reasons for performing study: In the mare, ultrasound-guided transvaginal oocyte recovery and transfer might offer away to circumvent the demanding procedures of in vitro embryo production. Before clinical application, the possible consequences for subsequent fertility have to be considered.

Objectives: To examine ovarian function and morphology in mares after repeated follicular punctures.

Methods: A total of 14–26 follicular puncture sessions were conducted on each of 4 Norwegian pony mares overa period of 8 years. The ovaries of these mares were recovered by bilateral ovariectomy or at post mortem and subjected to macroscopic inspection and histology. For comparison, ovaries were collected from 7 nonaspirated control mares and processed for histology.

Results: In all experimental mares, ovarian function, defined as the ability regularly to ovulate preovulatory follicles and develop corpora lutea, remained normal during their last breeding season. Gross examination and histology showed that normal follicular and corpus luteum development was accompanied by the formation of condensed repa rative fibrosis and normal local haemosiderosis of the ovarian stroma in all experimental mares. In one mare, an ovary contained several foci of chronic apostematous oophoritis, while a cystic structure lined with a single layer of epithelial-like cells and surrounded by a cartilaginous capsule was present in the other ovary.

Conclusions and potential relevance: Repeated follicular aspirations do not hamper future folliculogenesis, ovulation and corpus luteum formation. However, ovarian puncture induces reparative fibrosis in the ovarian stroma and involves a risk of inducing abscess formation within the ovarian tissue which may impair fertility.