Last Updated on February 24, 2022 by Allison Price
A Caslick’s is also known as Vulvoplasty and it is a common procedure that veterinarians perform on mares. Kentucky practitioner E.A. E.A. is a Kentucky practitioner. Caslick observed that mares with air buildup in their vaginas (windsucking), which led to problems for mares trying to conceive due to bacterial infections of their uterus. This was prevented by closing the upper portion the vulva.
A mare must be sterile or free of infection in order to become pregnant and have a foal. The environment is too harsh for embryos to survive due to pathogenic bacteria and inflammation. The mare’s anatomy has three barriers that prevent harmful bacteria from entering the uterus. They are the vulva and vestibulovaginal seal. These barriers can fail due to poor perineal conformation, weight gain, and injuries. Caslick’s can help if the vestibulovaginal or vulva seal is not adequate.
A normal vulva should lie perpendicularly to the ground. The mare’s pelvic bridge should have most of the vulva located below it. This bony shelf can be felt to one side or the other of the vulva. Endometritis is caused by bacteria in the vulva from manure, which is naturally close to the mare’s pelvic brim. A tilt is an abnormality in the vulvar conformation. This can be caused by a recessed or rounded anus. It creates an area where the vulva is almost horizontal.
The vestibulovaginal sealing This “curtain”, made of tissue inside the vagina, should create a tight seal that prevents contamination from the vulva from reaching sterile uterus. Any bacteria that gets into the vulva through this seal will be able to enter the uterus if it is not efficient.
This structure seals the uterus and vagina. The mare’s cervical can become torn or damaged during foaling. This can make it difficult for her to get pregnant or stay pregnant. Caslick’s procedures won’t fix or repair cervix tears or injuries.
Other reproductive issues, such as a sagging uterus or urine collecting in the vagina (often caused by trapped air), can also make the uterus susceptible to bacterial contamination.
A veterinarian will evaluate the mare’s orientation and test the vestibulovaginal seal. This is done by separating the vulva, and listening to the sound of air entering. A veterinarian can also use an equine vaginal scope to examine the area.
The veterinarian may decide to sedate the mare standing on her back and inject local anesthetic in the vulva. After removing a small amount of tissue from each side, the veterinarian will then sew the two sides together. These sides will then heal together and form a permanent seal, which remains after the sutures have been removed.
It is important to maintain enough space for normal urination. In some cases, extra space may be required to allow for breeding or other uterine treatments.
It is important that a mare in foal be opened by cutting along the “seam” before foaling. Foal’s passage without an open vulva can cause severe laceration to the surrounding tissues.