We have 2 Shire broodmares. Neither has had trouble with foaling, but they take a long time to pass the placenta. We start oxytocin injections (1cc) automatically at 1 hour post foaling, reinjecting every hour until it is passed. We call the vet at 2 hours post-foaling if she has not passed it yet (so far always the case). Normal seems to be 3-4 hours. We aim to have this all done at 3 hours, but this year a lovely snowstorm delayed vet care - she passed the placenta nicely before the vet arrived.
I realize drafts have a higher occurrance of retained placentas, but is there such thing as some mares simply taking longer to pass it? We follow the book and get anxious at 3 hours - we're seeing a trend though.
I'd also like to know if there is *anything* that we can have on hand to help in an emergency if a vet cannot get out by 6 hours post-foaling. We have oxytocin, but is there anything else? We got a scare this year with the snowstorm. The roads were difficult for the vet to travel and there was no way we could trailer the mare anywhere. I'd like to be better prepared in the future.
I don't really have any answers for you, but welcome to the board! I have draft horses as well! We have a black shire mare who foaled a beautiful drum filly for us last June. We bred her again in March and are hoping she is in foal. We have a HUGE bay Shire mare who we have yet to get in foal, but we're still hoping!! We have a young Clydesdale mare who we are breeding for the first time currently; and 6 Gypsy mares. We have foaled out our Shire mare twice before and Clydesdale mares in the past and they have all passed the placenta within an hour or so. We had one retained placenta on a Gypsy last August, but she was a standing birth and most of the sac broke off with the foal so there wasn't enough weight to help pull the placenta out. Did your mares already foal this year?
The next step after oxytocin is a high-volume lavage, so if you are capable of doing that without a vet then that is the equipment you should have on hand.
As you note, retained placentae are more common in heavy horses, but they are also more common in low-selenium horses, so you might want to evaluate your nutrition program to make sure that adequate selenium is present - don't automatically supplement though as selenium toxicity is considerably worse than retained placenta!
Thank you for taking the time to reply, Jos. I will try to learn how to lavage before next foaling season - I'm so glad there is something else we can do.
We live in a selenium deficient area, so our mineral supplement contains a moderate amount. We'll look into that further though also - there's always room for improvment.
Colleen - glad everything is going well for you and your big girls. We have one mare that is an easy breeder and one that is very difficult to maintain her early pregnancy. We only had one foal this year and she was born Tuesday evening - healthy and happy
Thanks again for your help, Nan
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