The Importance of Postmortem Exams on Aborted Fetuses

Post-mortem exams are crucial to determine what caused the abortion. Here’s what your veterinarian will look for.

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Various studies report that 8-19% of equine pregnancies result in abortion for reasons ranging from placentitis to equine herpesvirus-1 (EHV-1). While not pleasant to think about, a post-mortem examination is crucial in these cases to determine what caused the abortion; confirming disease is the catalyst for taking appropriate biosecurity measures to halt its spread.

For this reason, Luke Bass, DVM, MS, Dipl. ABVP, a field service veterinarian at Colorado State University’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital, in Fort Collins, reviewed the steps practitioners should take when performing a post-mortem examination on an aborted fetus in a presentation at the 2015 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 5-9 in Las Vegas.

“There are many causes of abortion, and identifying them could aid in further prevention of subsequent abortions,” said Bass

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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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