Hi Carrie, I went on the internet to see if I could find out something for you. Here's what I found. I hope this helps.
From: Susan My maiden mare is due to foal the second week of April. Last weeK I noticed she had a tinge of sarisaqual drainage on the inside of her legs by her labia(she is white/gray vaginal area). I notified our vet. He said this could happen due to the positioning (as I expected) close to her last month. But the next remark upset me. He said if she is going to abort than there was nothing we could do about it. Hum!!!!! I have been checking her everyday and this evening at feeding time I noticed she had some dark blood on her. The foal is very active and for the past month she has acted as if she is miserable. She is swatting her tail against her rump with a popping sound. All her vitals are within normal limits and no edema in her extremities. I have another maiden mare that is due to foal the same time and she is doing great. The foal appears to be in good position and she is doing great. It would be appreciated if you can give me some insight on this matter. Thank you, Susan
Hi Susan! This is a question that really should be sent to a veterinarian. I'll be glad to give you some suggestions that may help you have a more productive discussion with your veterinarian, but for anything beyond that, you'll need on-the-spot, qualified veterinary advice!
What your vet said about aborting is true, but he wasn't terribly diplomatic about it, and I suspect he probably meant to be comforting. He didn't say "Your mare IS going to abort and there's nothing we can do". I think it's quite possible that he wasn't predicting an abortion, or even suggesting that one might occur - just telling you that it COULD occur, and that IF it happens, you shouldn't feel that it's due to anything you've done wrong, or to anything that you've neglected to do. I'll grant that the way he said it probably wouldn't win any prizes in a bedside-manner competition, but it sounds rather like something a very tired vet (as they all are, all the time, during foaling season) might say to a very experienced and professional-seeming horse-owner. If you're worried about this, do try to ring him and discuss it with him briefly - or call another equine specialist.
If your mare is this far along in her pregnancy, it's possible that you may need to be ready for a foal arriving a little earlier than you thought it would. Are you absolutely certain about her due date? Since it's her first foal, you don't have any previous record to go by - some mares are consistently nearer 330 days, some consistently nearer 350 days, some go back and forth... and if the mare was bred twice during her heat cycle, there are a few days to play with in any case. You'll just have to watch this one carefully, which I'm sure you would do in any case.
Blood-spotting in itself isn't necessarily cause for alarm - it's always much more impressive-looking against a grey coat, remember. It's not unusual, and may be quite normal. Sometime before foaling, usually a week to ten days before foaling, sometimes just a few days before, a mare will lose the mucous plug that has been blocking her cervix. If the mare is dark and you're not looking under her tail, you may not notice this at all; if the mare is light and you ARE looking, this can look like a small, slightly bloody discharge. The plug can come out all at once, or slowly and over a few days. If you've been noticing a significant discharge for more than a few days in a row, or if there's a good deal more blood than would typically be associated with a mucous plug (just enough to turn it pinkish-brown), then it would be a good idea to have the vet take another look. Don't panic - it's not necessarily anything horrible or dangerous. It's possible that she may have a ruptured vaginal blood vessel, which, if it's a small one, isn't necessarily cause for alarm. And although it's not typical, some mares lose that mucous plug two weeks or more before foaling - and some mares show a little blood every day for a week or two before producing a perfectly normal foal.
If this mare is healthy, has had all her shots, and was taken off any endophyte-infested fescue in good time, you're just going to have to keep watching her, and be patient. Keep watching them both, actually - but even though the one you're worried about isn't supposed to foal immediately, I'd be buying the straw and bedding the foaling stalls NOW if I were you.. assuming that you haven't already done that. You may have. ;-)
DO talk to a vet - either your regular one or another equine specialist - if you're worried. The cost of an extra vet visit is trivial when you consider the cost to yourself of worrying and going without sleep for weeks... Good luck, I hope you get SOME sleep during the next few weeks - and please let me know what happens.
The most common cause of blood coming from the vagina during pregnancy is a leaking vaginal varicose vein. As your veterinarian has presumably evaluated the mare in order to be able to tell you not to worry, the chances are that is what he found. If it was a vaginal varicose vein, then there is indeed no cause for concern.
Mares leaking of blood from the vagina invariably causes panic among the owners as a result of anthropomorphism by the owner - in the human blood spotting during pregnancy is a bad thing - but think about the difference in reproductive conformation between equine and human. The human, being vertical, leaks almost immediately from the vagina, but the equine would have to fill the vagina to the level of the vestibular seal before passage of blood to the outside if the blood were indeed coming from the cervix. Hence (in that case) any abortion would have been likely to have happened by the time the blood leaked externally.
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