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Uterine Lavage

The birth of a foal is one of the most exciting parts of horse ownership. You have carefully selected a stallion to breed to, put in the time and finances to breed your mare, and waited 11 long months for this foal to be born. The foal is finally here! Unfortunately, the birth of the foal is not the end of the process especially if your wanting to breed the mare back. As you can image labor is very destructive to a mare’s uterus.

First and foremost, it is important to make sure the mare passed the entire placenta. A cow is able to retain a placenta for a day or more without any issues, however this is a major issue for a horse. A retained placenta can even cause laminitis in a mare if left unattended. Uterine prolapse, uterine rupture, internal hemorrhage, and cervical tears are additional issues that can occur post foaling.

 Once the mare has been examined and there is no concern of any of the major complications listed above, its important to make sure the uterus is cleared of all dried blood and excess fluid. Sometimes mares can do this on their own, or with the help of a drug that induces uterine contractions. However, if there were any foaling complications at all or the mare will be bred back it is always a good idea to have the mare lavaged.

Uterine lavages involve introducing large volumes of lavage fluid into the allantonic cavity and siphoning the fluid out until the returning fluid is clear. Due to dried blood and post-partum inflammation and fluid, the lavaged fluid usually comes back black, dark brown, or bright red in color. Lavage is usually repeated 2-3 days in a row before the fluid is a clear normal color. Once the mare is lavaged, she is ready to be bred once she comes back into a natural heat cycle.

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  • Penny King, Oblong IL

    I can’t say enough about Dr. Stone & his staff. They go above & beyond & take the extra mile to take care of your horses needs. They really care about what your horse really needs.

    They have been up all night with emergency colic surgery with a positive outcome. They saved a foal that was born three weeks early. I can’t even begin to tell everything we have been thru together. But I can tell you one thing, they don’t come any better than Dr. Stone & his staff. They are like family to our horses & us.”