Inflammation of the placenta (placentitis) is a leading cause of abortion and neonatal disease in horses. Early diagnosis of this problem is critical to be able to begin effective treatment that can result in the survival of a healthy foal. The ability to diagnose placentitis before clinical signs of premature lactation or vaginal discharge are observed will improve the chances of successful treatment.
An early diagnosis is achieved by performing serial ultrasound examinations of the placenta and foetus from 150 days of gestation. The procedure involves using a high powered ultrasound machine to examine through the abdomen of the mare to detect subtle changes in the placenta and foetus. Various treatments are available to maximise foal survival if changes are detected.
A mare with a history of abortion, premature foaling or illness during pregnancy may be periodically examined for signs of placental disease and foetal stress. We have successfully managed mares that have aborted over multiple previous pregnancies.