Help! I've got a 15 year old Arab that has a history of "appearing pregnant". When our ranch originally bought her at auction we were told she was pregnant... as it turned out, she wasn't, she just had this metabolic issue with certain feed that would cause her to "blimp" and appear pregnant, but not actually /be/ pregnant.
Now she's doing it again. She was out in pasture with our herd over the summer months (June/July) and all of a sudden started blimping on us. At first we thought it was just hay belly given she wasn't worked regularly. Over the last few months she has her good days and bad, meaning there are days when she looks like a double-wide, and other days when she doesn't look pregnant at all. My farrier said that on her last shoeing she was upset over having her rear hooves brought up towards her belly to put on the stand; supposedly a sign of pregnancy. Some of my coworkers have sworn they could see something moving, yet my boss mistook her ribs as a possible hoof. (She's got the typical Arab sprung ribs.) I have yet to see motion or feel anything at all, and when I bring her rear hooves up towards her belly she stands quietly for me. Plus she hasn't gotten any bigger.
So to finally end the ranch debate as to whether or not we're going to expect a Mu-'rab (given the only studs out near our ranch are the wild burros.) I called out the ranch vet, and paid out of my pocket, the cost to have a pregnancy test, given I'm in the process of buying her. The vet did a typical exam going in through the rectum and was rather perplexed. Internally she feels like a normal, non-pregnant mare, meaning nothing on the inside has dropped yet like it should if she were a month along, however when he went to check the right horn he found a large mass there... it wasn't defineable as a fetus (perhaps the tail end of the foal was his guess) it hasn't moved into the uterus, and the ovary is still behind and a normal size.
He's not sure what it is, as he's never felt anything like this before, but is advising to treat the mare as though she's pregnant. I told him there was no way she was only a month along and we discussed the potential of it being a mummified foal. There doesn't appear to be any leakage, vaginally, but I'm also unable to be with the mare every day to be certain of this.
We go for weekly rides, her and I, and her spirits are fine as are her energy levels. However if she's truly pregnant it puts a kink in my purchasing her.
Has anyone run into this issue before? Can anyone recommend a good website, a vet that specializes in this sort of thing? Should I seek a second oppion from a different vet, or have an ultrasound performed? My funding at this time is limited, and the most frustrating is while I haven't paid for her the ranch isn't interested in putting the money into haveing her checked to see exactly what's going on with her; they're just running under the assumption that she is, just like the vet is. I'm concerned it could be a cycst. And if it's a mummified foal how long will the body carry it before finally expelling it? Is there any way to terrminate a pregnancy? I really want a 100% answer, not this, "I'm going under the assumption that's a foal I'm feeling.".
Never mind. The manager took her in to the local surgical facility when he was taking in his six month old filly and the Doctor there confirmed she's not pregnant, but has cancer. She's been turned over to me to live out the rest of her days with someone who loves her and appreciates her, and will make sure that when it's time the right thing will be done.
I think I'd prefered she'd been covered by a wild burro.
Kristi, You have a big heart and it is so great to hear you taking in this mare for the rest of her days! I know when you look into her big expressive eyes that you know you did the right thing.
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