Q: My mare acts up when she is in heat. We aren't planning on breeding her so we are considering having her spayed. What are our options?
A: You do have a few options. However, it is important to make sure the ovaries are the cause of the behavior problem. Medical treatment involves adjusting her hormones so she doesn't come into heat. The most commonly used drug is progesterone (Regumate®). Inserting an intrauterine marble is also a non-surgical option, but should be discussed with your veterinarian.
Surgical treatment generally involves removing the ovaries and leaving the uterus. The University of Minnesota recommends a standing ovariectomy using the laparoscope and an instrument that melts the blood vessels shut. The laparoscope is the key tool for minimally invasive (keyhole) surgery and allows rapid healing with minimal complications. It also lets the surgeon see the ovary and its blood vessels.
Other options for removing ovaries include flank or vaginal incisions, without the laparoscope. These methods have additional risks, including hemorrhage and problems associated with the incision.
By Micky Trent, DVM, University of Minnesota