The results of a study on endometrial biopsies obtained from 700 infertile mares are reported. Infiltrative endometritis was present in 51% consisting of a combination of an acute and chronic cellular response in 6%, mild chronic infiltrations in 35% and moderate to severe chronic infiltrations in 10%.
Demonstrable endometrial fibrosis was found in 88% of the mares with the majority having mild (51%) or moderate (35%) changes. The age of the mares and the average number of years barren gradually increased with the severity of endometrial fibrosis, as did the combined incidence of fetal loss (early embryonic death and abortion) during the three year period preceding the biopsy.
A significant decrease in foaling percentage for the year following the biopsy was observed with increasing severity of endometrial fibrosis. Chisquare analysis projected a decrease in foaling rate of 22.8% for each category increase in severity.
The number of years barren and the farm management system used also had a significant effect on foaling probability. The foaling rates for mares that were bred artificially (82%) under strict veterinary supervision using an extender incorporating gentamicin were significantly (P < 0.05) higher than for mares bred in a conventional manner under average management conditions (48%).
It was concluded that endometrial biopsy is a valuable diagnostic and prognostic technique. When the degree of fibrosis is used to predict foaling probability, the number of years barren and the breeding method to be used should also be considered to arrive at a more accurate prediction.