Managing Postpartum Metritis in Mares

The main goals when treating metritis (inflammation of the uterine wall) in mares are to control bacterial growth, evacuate uterine contents, and prevent complications. Here’s how vets accomplish these goals.
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postpartum metritis in mares
The main goals when treating metritis (inflammation of the uterine wall) in mares are to control bacterial growth, evacuate uterine contents, and prevent complications. | Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse
Inflammation of the uterine wall known as metritis is one of the most common yet serious postpartum diseases seen in mares. Veterinarians can treat it using antimicrobials but, because it takes at least four days to get culture results indicating which antibiotic is most effective against the bacteria present, most practitioners treat postpartum metritis in mares before culture results return.

During the 2018 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 1-5 in San Francisco, California, Maria Ferrer, DVM, Dipl. ACT, associate professor of theriogenology in the University of Georgia’s Department of Large Animal Medicine, in Athens, described how to best manage affected mares.

“Metritis is a serious, life-threatening disease that requires immediate treatment,” said Ferrer.

While early clinical signs include vulvar discharge, lethargy, and fever, the bacteria or their toxins can quickly reach high levels body-wide, potentially leading to laminitis, organ dysfunction, and even death

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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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