My name is Mackenzie and I have a 15 year old sorrel QH mare. We bred her this summer for a June 2007 baby, but she didn't take the first time, so we bred her again and she did take. The vet thought she saw cyst-like cells in the ultrasound, so she came back 2 weeks later and the Ultrasound was normal. She has had 3 foals before and her last foal was in 2000. Last Saturday and Sunday, she was showing signs of heat, but only for those two days. We had her ultrasounded today and the vet said that it looks to be that she is absorbing the fetus. The fetus is the size of a 3 week old fetus and should be about 3 months old. He said the foal could just be a slow grower or something may be wrong with the fetus and it will not survive. There is 30% chance the fetus will survive and a healthy foal will be produced, but there is 70% chance that the foal is being absorbed and won't survive. What can cause this? Im worried about my mare and Im heartbroken. I really would have loved a foal from her. Does this mean she will always absorb the fetus? The vet said that it will be easier to conceive her next year, because she has been bred this year, is this also true? Please give me all the answers you have!!! Thank you, Im sure Caprice has a reason for absorbing the fetus. Oh, he said he is coming back in 2 months to ultrasound her again to see what is going on but if she shows heat again, then that means that the fetus is absorbed and gone because it is hard for mares for to go into heat during fall/winter. Thank you very much, Mackenzie
(Message edited by flowerscaprice15 on October 30, 2006)
I think it is a good idea to have the mare evaluated again a little later. There's nothing much you can do at this point anyway, but it is always conceivable that your vet was not actually able to access the uterus to the degree necessary to evaluate the pregnancy - a 21 day pregnancy is in no way comparable in size to a 90 day pregnancy, and there should be no doubt!
Cysts are generally not a problem (although they can be), but they can confuse the diagnosis of pregnancy - indeed it is quite possible that what was thought to be a pregnancy was in fact a cyst!
FYI, pregnancies are not "absorbed" - they are lost through the cervix. It is just that the tissues are generally so small as to not be noticeable.
If she was pregnant and has lost it, there is no way to determine without diagnostic work why she lost the pregnancy. I will say however that I do not agree with your vet that it will be easier to get her in foal next year simply because she got in foal this year - if there is a problem and it is not treated, the problem is still going to be there next year!
If she is not pregnant, I would recommend starting your breeding season next year with an endometrial biopsy and culture. It is possible if she has lost the pregnancy recently that the problem is related to fibrotic changes in the uterus, and those can be identified with a biopsy.
But let's hope that your mare is still pregnant...
There isn't much I can do now, but I plan on getting her ultrasounded at a later date. My mother called the vet and asked about two questions. My aunt told her to ask these questions because she has a breeding farm. She asked him If he was able to palpate both uteran horns and which uteran horn did he feel the fetus in. He isn't in today so he will get back to us tomorrow. I honestly don't know what is going on and hope she doesn't come back into heat. Im always hoping that he may have mistaken the cysts for the fetus or uterus. How long would you wait to get her ultrasounded again?
Could the cysts just have been hidden the second time she was ultrasounded? Could the fetus have grown backwards in development? This is truly a major heartbreak for me so I am trying to figure out what causes all of this and to do my best to prevent it if possible. I've always wanted Caprice's foal to train myself because she is 15 and I don't want to game her very old because she doesn't have the strongest of hooves. I bred her for a barrel baby and to have a foal to train myself and learn more about horses because I am only the young age of 14. I've had Caprice for 2-3 years and I finally got my parents to let me breed her, and I thought everything would be fine. I'm surely hoping that the vet missed it and if he didn't then I guess there is nothing I can do about it, but wait until next spring. Thank you for your input.
I am hoping she is still pregnant, I have doubts, but Im still hoping
(Message edited by FlowersCaprice15 on October 31, 2006)
I don't think that knowing which horn the conceptus fixed in originally will help you at this stage. It's either there now or it's not... Nor will the knowledge that both (or only one) horn[s] was being palpated be of any use - at this stage of pregnancy, the entire uterus should show some degree of enlargement, not just one of the uterine horns. It's therefore somewhat academic if the horns are palpable by now.
As your veterinarian has already suggested, ultrasounding again in about 2 months would be good.
The fetus would be unlikely to regress in size unless it was in the process of being lost.
Unfortunately the live foal rate of all mares bred is only about 60% on the average, so many pregnancies are lost at some point.
As I said above, about all you can do right now is hope that perhaps she is still pregnant and plan ahead for next year if she's not.
I've been watching her stomach growth and the way she is acting and she isn't acting at all differently. I know a mare who lost their foal and they were just a reck. Caprice is fine and she seems to be content. She's still sweet and cuddly as can be. I think What I will do is wait 3 months and try to find the best vet around my area, then have that vet U/S her and see what they say. I could also just wait until her due date, in mid June and just see if she has a foal. I know of mares who have come back into heat during pregnancy but still had healthy foals, hopefully that will be her!!
A mare's disposition will not change when she loses her pregnancy while it is in utero, it is only after a mare foals that you will see distress at the loss of the foal - and even then not always. A change in attitude in the manner you describe is therefore not an indicator that you can use.
Be aware that if you do not determine that the mare is pregnant, and she is pregnant, then you will not be in a position to do the variety of things that are recommended for a pregnant mare - such as the EHV-1 vaccinations at 5, 7 and 9 months of pregnacy (at the very least); a full vaccination panel 30 days prior to the anticipated foaling date; and making sure you are there for the foaling. All very important steps in increasing the chances of a live and healthy foal...
I didn't mean her disposition changing, sorry I don't really know how to word it. What Im trying to say is the person I know, her mare delivered a dead foal, and also did what you call absorbing the fetus and the horses disposition didn't change, the horse just seemed down all the time, unless that is what you mean by disposition. I always thought disposition was the attitude of the horse towards human, like tempermant. ie - hyper, hot, calm , quiet..but Im not sure. I know you are much more experienced in horses than I am. I've had Caprice for only 3 years now and have been riding for about 5.
I do plan to get her rechecked in 2-3 months like the other vet recommended to see what they say. I'm not sure who I can find though, because the vet that checked her was not professional at all and I dont even think he found the right thing. I want to do everything I can to make sure the foal is healthy as long as she is pregnant. My aunt's mares foal without assistance all the time if that is what you mean by being there. I'll find the best vet around and have her U/S Caprice in a couple months and see what it looks like, but what if they say she isn't pregnant and she has a foal and what if they say she is pregnant and she doesn't foal? I'm only 14 and I've only had Caprice for 2-3 years. I've never had anything to do with a pregnant mare before, although my aunt has a breeding farm, I've never seen a foal being born either. I figured that with Caprice having 3 foals already she would be okay, and I would have a foal from her that has some of her traits and is a horse I can train on my own. What do you think I should about this whole vet situation?
Posted on Wednesday, November 22, 2006 - 11:03 am:
"Disposition" refers not only to the attitude towards humans as you describe, but also the horse's overall mental attitude. Your description of the mare being "down" relects a change in disposition from "cuddly" or "up". I hope that clarifies it.
The vast majority of mares do foal without a problem. The trouble is that the birthing process happens so fast in a horse that if there is a problem, you don't have much time to reverse it before there's an onset of serious complications (loss of the foal and/or the mare). It is therefore not only desirable, but also responsible to make every attempt to be present at the foaling.
As far as your vet is concerned - not having dealt with them I can't really form an opinion. I would ask some other horse people in your area what vet they use for their horses, and especially their reproductive work. Don't rely on just one persons opinon either! Ask quite a few different people and base your decision on the majority opinion.
Oh, Alright I wasn't exactly sure what disposition was referring to.
I understand that completely, I know many mares who foaled without a problem. I also know mares who foaled with major problems. I would just like to figure out if she is actually pregnant before I do anything. I do not want to wait until June to find out she is not pregnant, I would have been able to barrel race her in all that time. I also do not want to barrel race her if she is pregnant, the stress of running so fast may not help the pregnancy.
I think that is what I will do, there are not many people around my area that do breed their horses. Where I live it's not much of a horse town, I do know maybe about 3 or 4 people that do breed around my area, I will have to speak to them. I will ask about vets and what they have experience with their mares foaling. I sure hope she is pregnant and that I can do everything possible by me and the vet to make sure the foal is healthy. If she is not pregnant, then I guess it was for a reason and I will have her cultured and if possible get her bred back to Alero this summer.
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