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Veterinary Medicine

National television program on 'mare care' filmed at CSU Equine Reproduction Laboratory

July 15, 2013
by Coleman Cornelius

It was lights, camera, action at Colorado State University's famed fertility clinic on July 9, as a crew from agriculturally focused RFD-TV visited to film an hourlong show about horse reproduction.

Success! A mare and her newborn foal, at the CSU Equine Reproduction Laboratory this spring, represent the lab's successful work.Scheduled for nationwide broadcast on Sept. 12, “Managing Your Mare” is sponsored by Merck Animal Health and features the CSU Equine Reproduction Laboratory and its experts.

Pre-pregnancy to foaling

The cable-television program – addressing mare care from pre-pregnancy through foaling – features a panel discussion with a studio audience of dedicated Colorado clients of the Equine Reproduction Laboratory.

Was it nerve-wracking to ask questions of the panelists before a microphone and four television cameras, under the glare of set lighting?

“Obviously, because I forgot my last name!” said Julie Patton, a former CSU Equine Sciences student and equine photographer who attended the panel discussion from Loveland. “But I’m happy to be here because the ERL is great, and I do everything I can to support them.”

Patton asked the experts how to care for a brood mare that habitually retains her placenta after foaling, a problem that can lead to hemorrhage and systemic infection. Answer: Have your vet on standby with injectable oxytocin, to induce contractions that will safely expel the life-giving organ after foaling.

Providing information and answering questions were: Dr. Joe Manning, Merck Animal Health equine technical services veterinarian; and Drs. Pat McCue and Ryan Ferris, both veterinarians specializing in reproductive health at the CSU Equine Reproduction Laboratory. Ag broadcaster Max Armstrong moderated the panel discussion about mare care.

International reputation

Manning, whose global company develops equine pharmaceuticals, said he knew just where to turn when Merck decided to sponsor a special RFD-TV program on mare management.A small studio audience gathered at the CSU Equine Reproduction Laboratory to ask mare-related questions of expert panelists.

“The CSU Equine Reproduction Laboratory has just done great things, and they have an international reputation. So this was a no-brainer as a project we wanted to get behind,” Manning said, while prepping for the show in stud-horse lab that had been converted into a TV set.

For about 45 years, the CSU equine reproduction program has developed leading-edge equine reproduction techniques and technologies that have greatly improved the success of horse reproduction, and have provided critical insights for work in human fertility. With its teaching, research and outreach, CSU has advanced techniques such as: collection of horse semen and artificial insemination; recovery and transfer of equine embryos; shipping cooled semen; and shipping cooled embryos.

'Best of the best'

The CSU Equine Reproduction Laboratory is also tops at horsey OB/GYN.

Tom and Joyce Kemph of Cheyenne are longtime clients who use the laboratory for pregnancy testing and stallion evaluation of their American Quarter Horses. The Wyoming ranchers even loaned the Equine Reproduction Laboratory a pregnant mare whose foaling was filmed for the RFD-TV show.

“We’ve never had anything but the best of best results here,” said Joyce Kemph, as she and other studio audience members prepared to take their seats.The RFD-TV program on 'mare care,' featuring CSU experts, will air nationwide in September.

McCue, who holds the Iron Rose Ranch Chair in Equine Reproduction and is senior clinical veterinarian at the laboratory, said talking horse reproduction for RFD-TV was an extension of his daily work. After all, he discusses equine uterine health and spermatozoa motility with the best of them.

Only this time, there were lights, cameras – and repeated dustings with face powder to minimize shine. “That was different,” he said, with a laugh.

“Managing Your Mare” is scheduled to air nationally on RFD-TV on Sept. 12. View the program schedule.