Good Survival Rates After Uterine Tear Repair

Eighty-one percent of mares survived with treatment and 77% of mares bred the subsequent year carried a foal to term.
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While rare, uterine tears in mares can occur during dystocias difficult births) and normal deliveries alike and come with serious consequences, including death. Until recently, there had been few large-scale studies evaluating the signs and treatment of and prognosis for these lacerations.

So Kevin Claunch, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, associate surgeon at Weems & Stephens Equine Hospital, in Aubrey, Texas, performed a retrospective study of uterine tear cases and presented his findings at the 2015 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 5-9 in Las Vegas.

He partnered with practitioners at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, in Lexington, Kentucky, to evaluate 92 cases that veterinarians saw at the clinic from 1986 to 2012. Most mares were Thoroughbreds of all ages and number of pregnancies. They typically arrived at the clinic two days post-foaling presenting with a variety of complaints—most commonly colic, said Claunch. One-third of the mares had a normal birth, one-third had a dystocia, and for one-third how the birth went was unknown. Sixty percent of tears were located in the uterine horns, 34% were in the uterine body, and the locations of 6% were unspecified. Tears of the horns were more common in the right horn (75%) than the left (25%).

Eighty-nine of the 92 mares underwent surgery to correct the tear, three of which were euthanized during surgery

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Alexandra Beckstett, a native of Houston, Texas, is a lifelong horse owner who has shown successfully on the national hunter/jumper circuit and dabbled in hunter breeding. After graduating from Duke University, she joined Blood-Horse Publications as assistant editor of its book division, Eclipse Press, before joining The Horse. She was the managing editor of The Horse for nearly 14 years and is now editorial director of EquiManagement and My New Horse, sister publications of The Horse.

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