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Q: My pregnant mare is in season. Has she aborted the pregnancy?

Not necessarily. Although mares generally do not cycle once they are pregnant, around 10% of mares will show at least one season during their pregnancy.

Additionally, some mares may appear in season when they are not actually cycling. Submissive behaviour such as squatting and urinating in the presence of other horses may be mistaken for oestrus behaviour.

The best way to tell is via an ultrasound scan. Make an appointment with your stud vet.

My pregnant mare has blood coming from her vulva. Has she has aborted the pregnancy?

Blood coming from the vulva is not normally a cause for concern. In the vast majority of cases, it is caused by varicose veins in the vagina rupturing. Blood then leaks from the vulva. In some cases a lot of blood can be seen, and it may be preferable to have these varicose veins treated by your vet.

My mare has a thick purulent discharge. Has she aborted the pregnancy?

Discharge that appears purulent could be a sign of abortion, and so should be taken seriously.

My mare is lactating prematurely/bagging up very early, has she aborted the pregnancy?

Premature lactation could be a sign of impending abortion, and so should be taken seriously.

My mare’s temperament has changed while she is pregnant. Has she aborted the foal?

The temperament change may or may not be related to the pregnancy. It is possible that her behaviour is being affected by the discomfort of carrying the foal, or the hormones produced by the foal and placenta.

Alternatively it could be unrelated to the pregnancy.

If you are concerned about your mare’s pregnancy status at any stage, please discuss this with your stud vet.

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