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Mares admitted to a referral hospital for postpartum emergencies: 163 cases (1992–2002)


  • Dr. Sullivan's current address: Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO.

  • Presented in part at the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Meeting, San Antonio, September 2002.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to:
Dr. Dolente, New Bolton Center, 382 West Street Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348.


Objective: To identify and describe the physical, historical, and clinicopathologic characteristics of diseases requiring emergency treatment in postpartum mares, and to evaluate the utility of these characteristics in making an accurate diagnosis in these mares.

Design: Retrospective study.

Setting: University large animal hospital.

Animals: One hundred and sixty-three mares admitted for emergency treatment within 30 days following parturition between the years 1992 and 2002.

Interventions: None.

Measurements and main results: Information obtained from the medical records included age, breed, date of admission, sex of the foal from this parturition, time from parturition to admission, duration of clinical signs prior to admission, and any report of dystocia or normal attended delivery, physical examination and clinicopathologic findings and diagnosis. Urogenital hemorrhage and large colon volvulus were the most common diagnoses, comprising 16.6% and 15.9% of total cases, respectively. Older mares were more likely to have a diagnosis of urogenital hemorrhage than younger mares. Mares with urogenital hemorrhage had a median age of 13 years and were admitted to the hospital significantly closer to parturition than mares with other diagnoses. Anemia, hypoproteinemia, and hypofibrinogenemia were significantly associated with a diagnosis of urogenital hemorrhage and occurred in 32%, 36%, and 26% of the mares with urogenital hemorrhage, respectively. Dystocia was more commonly reported (70%) in mares with metritis. Leukopenia was more common (88%) in mares with uterine tears.

Conclusions: Careful evaluation of clinicopathologic data can aid the emergency clinician in making a correct diagnosis in postpartum mares with emergent problems.