1. Evaluate the method of breeding, whether natural cover or AI. If performed properly, AI can reduce the risk of bacterial contamination of the female reproductive tract by eliminating physical contact between the mare and stallion and by incorporating antimicrobial drugs (AMD) in the semen extender. Artificial insemination with shipped semen allows the mare (and foal) to remain at home and thus not be exposed to potential pathogens at another location; however, viral and, to a lesser extent, bacterial pathogens, may gain access onto a breeding facility via infective semen. Some stallions may shed potentially pathogenic organisms in the semen. Procedures used to collect semen may be less than optimal at some facilities. Use of AMD cannot be expected to kill or eliminate all bacteria in a semen sample. Furthermore, viruses are not killed by AMD nor are they eliminated by cooling or freezing.
2. Consider whether the stallion is at risk for carrying an infectious disease agent. Determine if the horse has been tested for Equine Infectious Anemia, CEM (Taylorella equigenitalis) and EVA (serology, agent detection). Testing is strongly recommended if the stallion is at risk of infection. Check whether there are potentially pathogenic bacteria or viruses on the external genitalia or in the semen.
3. If a mare has to be moved to a breeding facility other than her farm of usual residence, assess whether the mare and/or the foal by her side are at risk of contracting a disease. Quarantine of the mare (and foal) for an appropriate time, preferably 21 to 28 days, is recommended upon their return to the home farm.