Hi there, I guess im looking from some preperation, I have a mare at 343 days (smaller breed) we had the vet examine her today and she felt the foal was alive, but quite small (as in it felt like a mare a month off foaling), we are having the mare scanned externally next week - if nothing untoward happens over the weekend. We are cetain of the breeding dates so know its accurate. I have heard of many mares going longer than the generally accepted 330 days in this case is the foal usually smaller than normal or could it be something else? I also had someone suggest to me that sometime the egg does not attach directly after breeding and can float around in there for 10-15 days afterwards, and then attach and become viable, is this correct or is it just someones personal theory?
Hi Victoria. Firstly, the the foetus doesn't attach till about 17 days, anyway. But it still grows during this time.
Secondly, there are a number of reasons that the foal may be smaller than expected. If the mare has had a setback during her pregnancy, so that she couldn't give as much to the foal's growth, that can slow the process down, making her overdue, or a small foal. Some mares just do it over a longer time frame than others. We have one mare that is always a month over the "norm". Often an old mare will produce a smaller foal. As do some maidens. Do any of these fit your mare? I'm sure there are other possible causes, too. So don't panic just yet, you may just be in for a longer wait.
Shows my ignorance, I guess thats why we don't foal our own mares out and stick to training... I was told that is justification as to why a mare may stand for the stallion a second time when they are already in foal..
No she is not a a maiden mare nor an older mare, 8 year old had 2 previous live foals both were around 330 days. She hasn't had a set back that I know of, In January she did something weird she looked really huge and like she developed a small udder that you could express fulid out of for about 2 weeks then it dissappered. However everything has been like on a delay with this mare this time around, she usually starts to udder up 7 weeks out from foaling, this year it was about 4 weeks out from her 330 days date. The vet did suggest it could be twinning and the other twin was lost (however im sure when she was scanned at 21 days she was checked for twins)or the placenta could have started to detatch. What would they be looking for with an external scan? The mare for all counts looks was said to be happy and healthy by the vet.
Victoria: Take a look at the article on this site entitled Is my mare overdue?. I think it will answer all of your questions!
A mare may stand for a stallion after she has been bred and is pregnant. It is perfectly normal. In fact, one would expect a mare to stand for up to 2 days after she has ovulated, pregnant or not, as it is the rise in progesterone (secreted from the developing CL created in the area left behind by the ovulated follicle) that causes the mare to start resisting the stallion's advances, and that level will not have risen sufficiently to cause that effect until a couple of days after the CL has started to be formed.
Lisa: A few technical points here (you know how picky I am...).
The developing "thing" isn't a foetus (or "fetus" to Americans) until about day 40. Up to that point it is termed an embryo. The terminology changes at the point where the embryonic/foetal structures invade the lining of the uterus for the earliest stages of placentation (another definition is when the endometrial cups invade the lining of the uterus, which is about day 36).
The embryo doesn't "attach" at about day 17, but rather it becomes "fixed" at that point (actually, day 16 is slightly more common). The embryo remains unattached until around day 35 when the endometrial cups form, and invade the endometrium (the lining of the uterus). Even then, this is not true "placentation" (i.e. formation of the placenta), which does not commence until about day 45-50 and is not completed until around day 140.
The nutritional source for the developing embryo/fetus changes during the pregnancy too, and is equally fascinating (to me anyway!). The early source is "uterine milk" (aka "hystrotroph") and is absorbed into the yolk sac. After placentation is initiated, the nutritional transfer changes to the uterine/endometrial glands through the placenta. This is why compromised glandular/endometrial structure (e.g. fibrosis) is closely associated with pregnancy loss between days 60-90. Essentially in that case the fetus starves to death.
Jos explained so well and check out that link! It was invaluable to calming my nerves during my foal watch! I do want to add that my mare went 368 days (maiden) this year and had a healthy colt. I'm sure if she would have been scanned a month before that my foal would have been smaller too. Your mare is most likely baking this one longer! A vet told me a story about one of their clients mares who was 370 days and they were discussing induction but the vet advised the client to wait it out.....she went a little over 13 months and the foal was tiny and immature looking, but lived and thrived. Imagine if they had induced! The vet felt that sometimes the placenta isn't working at 100% and those foals just need more time. Was your mare examined for a particular reason?
Thanks, I did check out the link. I just wondered if in the case of the mares who go longer term if the fetus is smaller. No I didn't even know my mare was going to be examined - she is healthy and happy according to the vet, and appears that way to the eye, it was instigated by the owner of the foaling centre without my knowledge, the first I knew of it was when we got a phone call saying how sorry they were and that it was basically a lost cause because it is small its a dwarf is their thinking. I think we will go ahead with the external scan next week anyway (this mare is very precious to me, was a 21st present as a weanling) but I will not permit anything invasive unless the mare is in danger, does anyone know what they might be looking for on the scan? also what questions should we ask the vet? Im actually pretty angry about the whole thing today..
Maybe they are just going to double check the size issue with the next scan. I don't blame you, I'd be pretty upset too!! If there is nothing wrong, there's no reason for the exam in the first place. Now they've just succeeded in giving you something to worry about. The scan should give them a look at the fetus, placenta and maybe even if she's starting to dilate or not. But bottom line is she'll deliver when she's good and ready and you already know that. If the vet felt the size meant she was still a month out, then maybe she is still a month out!! If she went 370 days, that's about another 25 days for you so I'm sure the foal would have caught up by then. It may just be a smaller foal, which I think is fine too. Let us know how the scan goes! I'll be thinking of you and I'm sorry for all this extra worry. Your mare sounds very special (mine is the same, owned her since she was a weanling!)
Jos, You know when you have one of those, "What's that word?" moments? I was having one... Thanks for the additional information. I sometimes feel my vet thinks I'm incapable of understanding how things work. So when I ask a question, (which is very often) I get a watered down, breeding for idiots type answer. This may be fine for most people, but I suffer from a need to know the ins and outs of a duck's backside, so to speak.
I love your technical points! At the moment you're the biggest source of information I have.
Okay I have just been informed that they want to scan internally NOT externally. What in the world could they tell from an internal scan this far along?
Please note that opinions, product information, advice or suggestions posted on this bulletin board are not necessarily those of the management at Equine-Reproduction.com nor does the maintenance of the post position indicate an implicit or any endorsement of that information, opinion or product.
Further, although we have the greatest respect for the posters offering assistance here, you are advised to seek a consultation with your veterinarian prior to using information obtained from this board if it is of a veterinary nature.Proud to be sponsored and supported by: