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Ruptured Uterine Artery, Post-Partum Hemorrhage

A large artery that feeds the uterus can rupture in the late term pregnant mare or during foaling, causing life threatening bleeding.

The bleeding can occur between the sheets of tissue that support the uterus (called the broad ligament) or it can free flow into the abdomen. If the rupture occurs within the broad ligament blood flow is limited, and back pressure is created that helps to stop bleeding.

Mares with this condition usually become very anxious and show signs of colic and shock. This condition is thought to occur because of repeated stretching of the uterine arteries with multiple pregnancies and weakening of the vessel wall. Genetics may play a role as well.

Diagnosis is usually made through signs, rectal exam and ultrasound.

Treatment involves nursing care, intravenous fluids, blood transfusions and the use of medications that help with clotting.

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Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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