I have just been most unfortunate to lose 2 foals within six days of each other, the first at 244 days and the second at 246 days. Both have been sent to the vets for further investigation, but with the holiday season its been pretty long and waiting, and the first tests have shown nothing abnormal. The mares were absolutely fine, showed no signs of any discomfort/reason. We have just gone into the box in the morning feed (Around 7am) and found a foal- both have been colts. The mares have shown no sign to cause concern afterwards either. Everyone (vets, etc.) don't understand what has happened, is it purely a coincidence? I have been told (and from past experiences), that the most common time for mares to lose a foal is at around the 8 month mark, but there seems to be no reason, which is the most worrying part. All of the mares Service dates are around the same time, and I have 2 more that I am just praying are ok. I suppose I will just have to wait and see, if any one has any idea please let me know as we are stumped!
As you note, mid to late term pregnancy is the most common time for abortions, so coincidence is a possibility, although a less likely one.
When one sees abortions occurring in the manner you have - multiple and close together - the first thing that should be evaluated is the possibility of a causative infectious agent. Two common such agents are Rhinopneumonitis (specifically the abortion strain 1 of EHV-1) and Equine viral arteritis (EVA). Of the two, with the apparent lack of symptoms in the mares and the closeness of the timings, EVA might be more likely.
Were there recent "visitors" to the farm (in the form of horses)? Were any of your animals recently off-farm at a show or other event where there were other horses? Were your mares innoculated against EVA or EHV-1 (the necessary products for EHV-1 in North America are either "Pneumabort-K" or "Prodigy", and must be given at 5, 7 and 9 months of pregnancy at a minimum)?
Unfortunately, until you get a result back from the necropsies, there really isn't much you can do.
Good luck and let us know how you make out with the necropsies and the other mares!
I am so very sorry to hear of your loss. Please keep us informed. It could be many factors but as Jos stated one of the most common is the Rhino virus. Fescue hay or mold in hay, acorns and other enviromental things can cause this as well. I hope thats all you have to deal with and your other two mares will fare well. Keep us posted..
I was just wondering if it may also be equien herpe's virus (it's not like human herpes). I'm in Australia and we had a mare abort her foal at 9 months along, we had to have the foal checked for the virus as if it was herpes we were told that our other mares were more than likely to abort. Luckily for us it wasn't that, only a infection of the placenta. I'm not sure wether this is a virus that is found outside of Australia but thought it may be worth consideration.
OK sorry ... never herd it called that here. So is that the same Rhino injection that some people think causes birth deformaties?
Posted on Thursday, January 05, 2006 - 12:46 pm:
Well the results are back and nothing virus related was noted, one was fine so it is still undergoing a bit more checks to see the cause, and the other wasn't forming right, I think that is the least convuluted way of putting it. It seems coincidental, just unfortunate that it was so close and on such a small farm (with 4 mares obviously 2 is 50% of the foal crop). The one was just not right so it is better that the pregnancy finished. The other, well the mare was fighting in the field the day before (her and another mare were really kicking and biting each other bad), so that might be the cause, which is awful but its horses I think.
Posted on Sunday, January 08, 2006 - 03:06 pm:
My mare is 7-1/2 months pregnant. On Dec. 3rd (at 6-1/2 months) she had colic surgery. Regumate, 10 ml per day, was prescribed. She has retained the pregnancy and is doing well, but has become almost unmanageable. She is VERY anxious, actually dangerous to lead and to handle. I have been trying to turn her out (she has been on stall rest), but she is too explosive and I don't trust how she will handle turnout. Yes, I know, to transition a horse from stall rest to a turnout schedule can be difficult, and perhaps we should use some 'Ace,' but she almost appears to be 'jumping out of her skin.' And she does have welts on her sides, which may or may not be the Regumate. My question is, could Regumate be affecting her temperament in this manner? I have gradually been reducing her dosage; over 4 days we are now at 8 ml per day, with the intention of reducing her slowly and finally taking her off the drug. My vet and the surgeons at the clinic have advised that she remain on Regumate until 30 days before her due date. Has anyone had this experience with temperament changes? Am I risking the pregnancy by withdrawing the support that Regumate offers?
It would be unlikely that Regumate would cause agitation - progestins actually have a tranquilizing effect.
If the vets have advised that she be kept on the product, then probably your best bet is to contact them and discuss the issue with them directly so that they can consider all the factors before advising you to stop giving the Regumate or not.
We had an older mare on Regumate and she went from being laid back and very docile to having a whole lot more energy. ( rather like she felt like a spring chick again ! ) Unfortunately, it was not enough to keep her from absorbing the foal each year.
Sometimes when a horse has been confined for an extended period, they can have a lot of energy and the trip to the turn out is rather scary. (those horses, I let my husband handle..lol)
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