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Post-Foaling Complications

Date Published: 07/31/2006

Last time I talked about complications that can occur after foaling in the mare and that the number one problem is retained placenta.  A placenta that is retained after 3 hours is a medical emergency in the mare due to the possibility of infection and founder developing.  Infection and founder can also develop the uterus does not involute or shrink as it should.  For this reason, it is always a good idea to have all mares examined by your vet 5 to 7 days after foaling, especially if a uterine discharge is present.  Mares can also have a severe bleeding episode from the uterus and can die from hemorrhage within hours, or the bleeding can be contained within the uterus.  If the bleeding stays within the uterus, Dr. Sara Lyle from LSU indicates colic can develop as well as pale mucous membranes, sweating, and an increased heart rate.  For this reason, it is important to have your vet examine all post-partum colics and not just give flunixin or Banamine. 

Mares can also prolapse their uterus and this is an emergency and much more serious than in the cow. Dr. Lyle indicates 50% of the mares with uterine prolapse will die regardless of treatment.  If you have a mare that prolapses, keep the uterus clean and hold it up level until your vet arrives, although be careful manipulating it so you do not make a hole with your fingers.  Cradling it in a plastic trash bag works well.  The uterus must be cleaned and replaced immediately.  Uterine tears, either associated with foaling or prolapse, can be deadly due to contamination and peritonitis.  Surgical repair is required on most uterine tears as well as antibiotics.  Mares should be watched closely after foaling and your vet should be notified of any abnormalities.


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