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FAQ The Pregnant Mare

by Jamie Anderson

My mare is in season, has she aborted the pregnancy?

Not necessarily. Although mares generally do not cycle once they are pregnant, around 10% of mares will show at least one season during their pregnancy.

Additionally, some mares may appear in season when they are not actually cycling. Submissive behaviour such as squatting and urinating in the presence of other horses may be mistaken for oestrus behaviour.

The best way to tell is via an ultrasound scan. Make an appointment with your stud vet.

My mare has blood coming from her vulva, has she has aborted the pregnancy?

Blood coming from the vulva is not normally a cause for concern. In the vast majority of cases, it is caused by varicose veins in the vagina rupturing. Blood then leaks from the vulva. In some cases a lot of blood can be seen, and it may be preferable to have these varicose veins treated by your vet.

If you are concerned about your mare’s pregnancy status, please make an appointment with your stud vet.

My mare has a thick purulent discharge, has she aborted the pregnancy?

Discharge that appears purulent could be a sign of abortion, and so should be taken seriously.

If you are concerned about your mare’s pregnancy status, please make an appointment with your stud vet.

My mare is lactating prematurely/bagging up very early, has she aborted the pregnancy?

Premature lactation could be a sign of impending abortion, and so should be taken seriously.

If you are concerned about your mare’s pregnancy status, please make an appointment with your stud vet.

What vaccinations do I need to give my mare during pregnancy?

You should ensure that your mare is vaccinated against EHV at 5th, 7th, and 9th months of pregnancy to avoid EHV-related abortion, plus all the normal vaccinations. Please speak to your vet who will be able to help you ensure your pregnant mare is properly vaccinated.

My mare’s temperament has changed while she is pregnant, has she aborted the foal?

The temperament change may or may not be related to the pregnancy. It is possible that her behaviour is being affected by the discomfort of carrying the foal, or the hormones produced by the foal and placenta.

Alternatively it could be unrelated to the pregnancy.

If you are concerned about your mare’s pregnancy status, please make an appointment with your stud vet.

My mare is behaving aggressively/in a stallion-like manner, what could be wrong with her?

Aggression in the pregnant mare could be due to a number of factors, including hormonal changes or discomfort. However, the main possibility that needs to be eliminated is something called a granulosa thecal cell tumour (GTC). GTC is a steroid producing tumour, which will generally produce testosterone (the male sex hormone) and cause your mare to behave as if she were a stallion.

GTCs are relatively easy to find on an ultrasound scan, and can be confirmed with blood tests for testosterone and inhibin.

It is best to consult your stud vet, ask their advice and get them to perform an ultrasound scan if appropriate.

How long can I ride my mare for while she is pregnant?

Ideally she should not be ridden after 200-230 days of gestation.

Can my pregnant mare go out with other horses?

With other mares, yes, as long as they get on fairly well. Geldings may present a danger. Some geldings are still able to achieve an erection, and will mount (and penetrate) a mare, given the opportunity. If this were to happen with a pregnant mare, and the penis penetrates the cervix, it will almost certainly cause an abortion.

What special feed requirements do pregnant mares have?

You should ensure that your mare receives adequate food through the winter, ideally complemented with a quality stud balancer. Through the last 3-4 months of pregnancy, she should be on an increasing plain of nutrition to enable her to cope with the increased demands on the unborn foal, without allowing her to become overweight.

What wormers can I use on my pregnant mare?

Some wormers should not be used on pregnant mares. For example, Equest Pramox should not be used on a pregnant mare, and Eqvalan Duo should only be used after the first 3 months of pregnancy. Check with your vet or retailer. Additionally you can find more advice here:

http://www.wormers-direct.co.uk/wormingmares.html

(we are not responsible for the content of external websites).

When will my mare start to look pregnant?

This will vary from mare to mare. A mare with normal body condition will probably begin to look obviously pregnant in her third trimester of pregnancy, around 7-8 months into her pregnancy at the earliest, but it can be easily confused with a mare simply putting on weight. You may be able to see weight gain or change of shape before this point, but it is not a reliable indicator of pregnancy.

If you are unsure about whether or not your mare is pregnant, please consult your vet for an ultrasound scan and/or blood test.

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