Foals at the Center for Equine Health
Following a two-year hiatus due to retirements, the Equine Reproduction Service at the UC Davis William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH) is once again up to full strength. In the past few months, board-certified reproduction specialists Drs. Bruce Christensen and Ghislaine (Gigi) Dujovne have joined the School of Medicine to rebuild the program.
Dr. Christensen, assistant professor, serves as chief of Equine Reproduction Service. He comes from Iowa State University where he was assistant professor of clinical reproduction. Dr. Dujovne, associate staff veterinarian and clinical professor of equine reproduction, previously served as a clinical instructor at Auburn University, where she also completed her residency in theriogenology (clinical reproduction and obstetrics).
In addition to equine reproduction, Drs. Christensen and Dujovne will also work with camelids and, in the future, small animals, and, perhaps, non-domestic species as they develop student teaching and resident training programs in comparative theriogenology.
Drs. Christensen and Dujovne provide routine and advanced reproductive care for mares, including but not limited to: diagnostic work-ups on infertile mares, artificial insemination, ultrasonographic pregnancy diagnosis, twin reduction, pregnant mare care, obstetrics and foaling management. Services provided for stallions include fertility evaluation, investigation of infertility, stallion breeding management, semen collection and evaluation, preparation and shipment of cooled semen, and freezing of semen. Also available are advanced reproductive technologies, including embryo transfer and collection and freezing of epididymal sperm.
Another resource available to Drs. Christensen and Dujovne is the UC Davis Veterinary Genetics Laboratory (VGL), internationally recognized as a pioneer and expert in DNA-based animal testing. One of the many equine tests available through VGL is the horse embryo pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD)—a procedural test performed by veterinarians on embryos recovered after uterine flush that can determine gender and genetic traits prior to implanting the embryo in a surrogate mare.
DNA testing of horse embryos prior to implantation allows selection of those embryos that have desired sex, coat color variants, or that are free of known genetic diseases, thus maximizing the outcome of embryo transfer process.
“This test will be a valuable diagnostic tool for clients with a concern about a specific genetic disease in their horse's bloodline, allowing us to screen embryos and only use those that do not express the undesired traits,” Dr. Christensen said. “It could also be useful if a client would only be willing to accept a foal of one gender, not the other.”
To schedule an appointment, please call the VMTH Large Animal Clinic at 530-752-0290.
Communications, School of Veterinary Medicine