Page 36 - NM Summer 2023
P. 36

  Retained Placenta
  Photo provided by Dr. Ahmed Tibary
Photo provided by Dr. Ahmed Tibary
                 “A mare that shows anything abnormal
in the first few hours becomes an emergency.”
thorough post-partum exam—not only for her, but also for health and safety of the foal. We might be able to avoid or head off problems that we could tackle immediately. It is also the first step in making a decision on whether we can breed that mare on foal heat,” he explains.
“A mare that shows anything abnormal in the first few hours becomes an emergency. This would include anything from profuse bleeding to colic, to abnormal appearance of vulva and/or rectum, a
mare that is shivering or shocky, rejecting the foal, a foal born dead, or any other abnormalities. All of these factors can signal a serious problem,” he says.
Retained Placenta
“Usually, we define retained placenta as one that hasn’t been delivered completely by three hours post foaling. If it is still hanging there, or we know there is a possibility of part of it being still within the mare, this must be tackled,” says Tibary.
“The majority of mares that retain the placenta have severe complications, including endotoxemia and laminitis. One caution with retained placenta is over-use of oxytocin in these mares. A lot of people use oxytocin on every case of retained placenta, without knowing why the placenta was retained, or use large doses. Ideally a plan for treatment should be devised after examination of the mare, to determine why the placenta was retained.”
It is important to examine the placenta, to determine whether there’s
a small piece still within the uterus. “This can cause a problem just as severe as if the whole placenta was retained.
It is easy to see the problem when the placenta is hanging there, but more difficult to make that judgment when the placenta has already been passed— particularly if foaling was unobserved out in the field and the placenta is missing or has been torn apart,”
he says.
Post-Partum Examination
“The second group of mares we need to worry about include all mares that appeared to have a normal foaling, and a normal foal. These mares and their foals need to be examined within 18 hours, or sometimes as late as 24 hours, for a general post-partum and foal check,” says Tibary. This first check would include general evaluation of the foal and an IgG to determine passive transfer from colostrum.
“In that examination I look at the mare’s external appearance, trying to determine if she is doing well, such
as defecating and urinating normally. Generally, if she seems to be healthy, with no history of problems, I limit my examination to checking the placenta (which I hope was saved for me and kept refrigerated) and examining the mare’s vagina and cervix,” he says. Cervical tears might not be accompanied by severe signs and there might not be any external evidence that there is a problem.
“These strategies might address any major emergencies in the mare or foal before they get out of hand. Another aspect of this post-partum strategy is to discuss any true emergencies that might occur in the first 24 hours, so the people attending the mare could be on the lookout for signs that require treatment, or even hospitalization,” says Tibary.
Emergencies include severe
accidents such as a prolapsed uterus, prolapsed rectum (both of which are rare), prolapsed or inverted bladder, severe rectal-vaginal tears (as when the foal’s foot pushes through the vagina into the rectum), severe bruising or laceration of the vagina, etc. “These
can be complicated if the mare becomes infected or can become aggravated
by severe inflammation. For example, simple vaginal bruising that is painful may prevent the mare from urinating or defecating--because it hurts.”
The mare becomes impacted, and
this secondary problem may be worse than the primary problem. “Some of the preventative treatments for mares before foaling include laxative feeds so that the bowel movements will be softer and more readily passed without causing pain.” Some farms and practitioners administer
  34 New Mexico Horse Breeder

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