Hi, my mare foaled on Saturday night (11th). A couple of days before foaling she developed edema along her stomach. She is a 13 year old maiden TB. After foaling the swelling on her stomach was massive and the vet came out Sunday morning. He said it was severe edema with a possibility of herniation (there was some soft swelling in front of her udder). He gave her an anti-inflammatory and diuretics and said if the soft swelling wasn't down the next morning he would need to see her again. Next morning the soft swelling was much worse so I eventually managed to get hold of him and he came and examined her again in the evening. He said he was pretty sure there was no hernia, just severe edema and gave her 3 more days diuretics and anti-biotics (as she also has a bit of a discharge from her vulva). The diuretics end tomorrow morning and the swelling has gotten worse, spreading along her stomach. My vet has never seen anything like this before and I would be glad of any input. Here is a photo I took this morning,
My Maiden mare has ventral edema as well, though she has not foaled. She got severe edema around the end of March and didn't want to hardly even move. I gave her bute for 3 days and it subsided. She is due to foal any day now and still has some ventral edema even now. My vet is not concerned about it, he said older mares will get this and it is more common for them (she's almost 14). I might seek a second opinion or call a repro vet about your experience. It may be something, it may be nothing to worry about at all. My Vet had my mares blood checked for a specific enzyme(I don't remember which one now)which can be indicative of an episode of muscle truama. They were elevated slightly meaning she could have injured herself in the pasture when we still had some nasty ice. Your mare could have had some abdominal injury (her body was just assaulted!) and the edema could be associated with that. I am no expert, but this is the conclusion we came to after testing my mare. By the way your girl does not look any worse then mine did when she had the worst of it. Good luck to you and your mare.
Thank you Jennifer for your reply. The vet came out on Thursday as she had been getting worse, even with the diuretics. It was a different vet and he again said it was probably just edema, he checked her for a lateral hernia but couldn't feel anything, but he also had never seen anything like it before! I asked him to put her on bute as she was in alot of discomfort and since then she has been walking around more and looking happier. Basically the vet said as long as she is eating and drinking and feeding the foal leave her for a week to see if it settles. The edema continued to get slightly worse, even creeping round between her hind legs, but this morning the edema was looking much less, however the softer swelling on her belly is looking bigger (if you look in the photo above you will see a bulge on her stomach in front of her stifle).
Anyway, I know there is nothing can be done over the weekend. I am going to wait until Monday and see how the soft swelling is, that's the one that concerns me. If it continues to get worse I can get them to refer her to the vet hospital. But it's nice to hear from someone else who has had a similar experience. There is a possibility of trauma as she should have been separated from the other mares before foaling, but the yard where she is kept is overflowing with horses at the moment and there wasn't a spare paddock to put her in, so she foaled in a field with 2 other pregnant (non-maiden) mares.
I asked my vet about that and he said he sees alot of that in ewes (he's a livestock vet) and he didn't think it looked like that. He watched her moving about and she looked comfortable (I think he wondered why I was asking for bute!) and there is no blood in her milk. He said he could do an ultrasound but they are not good at reading them so I decided that would be a waste of time (they did have a really good equine vet on the practice but he left a year ago, he did all their ultrasounds). At the moment I'm taking one day at a time, I'll see how she is tomorrow.
I think he meant that edema is caused by a chemical imbalance, often made worse by pregnancy hormones and maybe my mare was passing on the imbalance in her milk. Anyway, my mares edema has gone, and the foals went at the same time. The swelling on her stomach is still there so we are waiting on a referral.
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