Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Ruptured Prepubic Tendon

The pubis is the floor of the pelvis. The pre-pubic (in front of the pubis) tendon is a thick, strong connective tissue sheet that anchors the pubis to the lower abdominal wall. It can be overloaded and rupture, either partially or fully. This is rare but can happen in mares that have had multiple foals and repeated overload of the tendon. There is also increased risk of this from mares that are abnormally large in pregnancy for any reason.

This condition typically occurs in late pregnancy. Signs are severe swelling and apparent dropping of the lower belly, especially just in front of the udder. This must be differentiated from normal edema (swelling) of late term pregnancy.

The mare will likely need to be assisted in order to deliver the foal. Usually the best way to do this is to induce labor (at the appropriate time) and assist as needed. Loss of the tendon or musculature means she cannot push the foal out at birth, so the foal will likely need to be pulled.

Helpful Terms & Topics in HSVGWritten, Reviewed or Shared by Experts in Equine Health

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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