Breeding FAQ: Is my mare in foal? What about twins?

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    Q: Is my mare in foal?

    It’s not possible for anyone to tell for certain from a photo, or even from seeing the mare in person for an external examination. A blood test, rectal palpation and/or ultrasound scan are the only things that will confirm the mare’s pregnancy status for you.

    Try not to ask friends, family or post photos on forums asking this question. It will not provide you with any useful answers. Speak to your vet instead.

    How soon will the vet be able to see the pregnancy?

    Early stage pregnancy should be visible by ultrasound from 14 days onward (10-11 days with a high quality scanner and an experienced vet).

    Pregnancy can be palpated by an experience vet from 18 days onward.

    When should my mare be scanned?

    The normal scanning dates for pregnancy detection and twin management are 14 days, 28 days, and 50-60 days. If twins are detected at 14 days, then additional scans and treatment may be necessary.

    When will I be able to see the foal’s heartbeat?

    The heartbeat starts to become visible from 24 days onward.

    Why is it so important to detect and deal with twin pregnancies?

    The equine uterus is not designed to carry multiple pregnancies. If a twin pregnancy is allowed to progress then in most cases it will cause pregnancy loss. In fact, twinning is the leading cause of late-term abortion and the second biggest cause of embryonic loss in the early stages of pregnancy.

    Twin pregnancies must be dealt with by day 28 after ovulation, as after that stage it is likely that both pregnancies will have to be terminated, and the mare may not cycle again until up to 100 days later which could mean missing the whole rest of the breeding season.

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