High-Risk Pregnancies and Sick Foals

In defining a high-risk mare, Bain said she is one which has had previous foaling problems such as dystocia (difficult delivery), hemorrhage, or a red bag delivery. He said a mare also could be at risk because of medical illness, surgery, colic, laminitis, or because she is an older mare.
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The January meeting of the Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Manager's Club featured a topic that many in the room had seen all to much the past two foaling seasons. Fairfield Bain, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, ACVP, ACVECC, said, "After two years of MRLS (mare reproductive loss syndrome), we all need a break!"

Bain, who is a board certified specialist in internal medicine, pathology, and equine critical care, practices at the Hagyard-Davidson-McGee medicine clinic in Lexington. He remembered when he first came to Kentucky and being astounded by the number of horses in the area. Bain said he remembered another vet saying, "Haven't seen it before? Just wait around a few minutes, you're in Kentucky now." He said it was true that veterinarians see more "unusual" things in Kentucky just because there is such a large population of horses.

In defining a high-risk mare, Bain said she is one which has had previous foaling problems such as dystocia (difficult delivery), hemorrhage, or a red bag delivery. He said a mare also could be at risk because of medical illness, surgery, colic, laminitis, or because she is an older mare. Colic can be related to fetal position, or be a primary GI tract problem. He said pregnant mares which have suffered problems during pregnancy or delivery might have the same problem in subsequent years

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Kimberly S. Brown is the editor of EquiManagement/EquiManagement.com and the group publisher of the Equine Health Network at Equine Network LLC.

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