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Asynchronous ovulation in mares: seasonal variations in frequency
  1. M. C. G. Davies Morel, BSc, PhD1,
  2. J. R. Newcombe, BVetMed, MRCVS2 and
  3. N. Reynolds, BSc, MSc1
  1. 1Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth University, Ceredigion SY23 3AL, UK
  2. 2Equine Fertility Clinic, Warren House Veterinary Centre, Warren House Farm, Barracks Lane, Brownhills, West Midlands WS8 6LS, UK
  1. E-mail for Correspondence: mid{at}


The mare's reproductive system is rarely capable of sustaining multiple pregnancies to term. Multiple pregnancies largely derive from multiple ovulations, most commonly double ovulations, hence, double ovulations are of significant concern to breeders/veterinarians. Double ovulations may be synchronous or asynchronous. Asynchrony of up to 96 hours may result in two embryonic vesicles of very different sizes, which are challenging to detect at early ultrasonic pregnancy detection. This study aims to (1) document the incidence of synchronous and asynchronous double ovulation and (2) determine whether this varies with month/season. 506 cycles from double ovulating mares were monitored at 8±1 hour intervals before expected ovulation until 96 hours post initial ovulation. Mares were grouped according to eight-hour ovulation intervals and month/season. When asynchrony was classed as greater than or equal to eight hours or greater than or equal to 24 hours apart, respectively, a significant (P<0.001) difference existed between the number of mares demonstrating asynchronous double ovulations (65.8 and 28.5 per cent) and synchronous double ovulations (34.2 and 71.5 per cent). Significantly (P<0.05), more asynchronous ovulations occurred in the seasonal transition periods. This study demonstrates that asynchronous double ovulation is common and emphasises the importance of closely monitoring mares, particularly at the extremes of the breeding season, for double ovulation up to or at 96 hours postinitial ovulation in order to minimise the chances of missing multiple pregnancy.

  • Ovarian function
  • Horses
  • Reproduction
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