Gonads and Genital Tract of Horses

The Gonads and Genital Tract of Horses

Last Updated on March 29, 2022 by Allison Price

The Ovaries

Ovaries are female hormone-producing gonads. These hormones are essential for egg development and preparation for pregnancy. The size and shape of the ovaries changes once the horse reaches puberty and has its heat (estrous). A group of cells within the ovary forms a follicle that surrounds each egg. Follicle stimulating hormone triggers the growth of follicles, which leads to maturation and production of estrogen. The brain releases luteinizing hormone which stimulates egg release from the ovary. This is called ovulation. The follicle is transformed into a corpus-luteum after ovulation. This produces progesterone. Progesterone makes the mare go out of heat, and prepares her uterus to become pregnant. The mare will not get pregnant if the corpus luteum does not explode and she returns to heat.

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The Testes

Testes are male male gonads which produce sperm. Follicle stimulating hormones and testosterone are released and produced to stimulate sperm maturation. Testosterone is necessary for the proper functioning of the accessory sexual glands and male sex characteristics. Because normal body temperatures are too high to allow sperm development, the testes must be able to descend into the scrotum. An evaluation of semen samples, hormonal tests and other testicular functions can help to determine the function of the testicles. Testicle measurement and examination may also reveal reproductive diseases.

Gonads and Genital Tract of Horses

The Female Genital Tract

The female genital tract comprises the vulva and vagina as well as the cervix, cervical, cervix, pelvis, oviducts, ovaries, and uterus. The oviducts connect the ovaries and the uterus via small tubes. The cervix is the end of the uterus. It is a protective barrier that prevents infection and separates the uterus and vagina. The vagina, a muscular tube that runs from the cervix outside to the inside, is connected to the skin surrounding the opening of vagina. The female genitals’ external opening is called the vulva. The oviducts are used to transport eggs to the uterus after ovulation. The oviducts secrete a protein-rich fluid that provides the right environment for the survival of mature eggs, fertilization and the first few crucial days of embryonic development. For the establishment and maintenance a pregnancy, it is also necessary to have a healthy cervix and uterus. Female infertility is often caused by infections contracted during mating. They interfere with the normal function of the uterus. There are many ways to diagnose infertility in females. These include ultrasonography, hormonal tests and uterine culture. The vagina, vulva and last part of the birth channel are the copulatory organs. Poor function of the vagina and vulva may lead to chronic uterine infections, infertility, and even death.

The Male Genital Tract

The genital tract is a conduit for semen and sperm cells in males. The testicles are responsible for the production of testosterone, the main male hormone. The testicles produce sperm and testosterone. Sperm then pass into the epididymis where they mature and can be stored. The epididymis connects to the ductus, which carries the sperm to urethra. The fluid portion of semen is created by the accessory sex glands (prostate and seminal Vesicles). Ultrasonography or physical examination can diagnose abnormalities in the genital tract. An evaluation of the sperm can help determine the quality and quantity of sperm, and it can also give an estimate of fertility.

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