Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Metritis, After Foaling

Synonyms: Post-Partum Uterine Infection

Post-foaling uterine infection is a relatively common and life-threatening problem for post-partum mares, and often accompanies a retained placenta. In fact, any post-partum mare with these signs has uterine infection until proven otherwise. This problem usually becomes apparent within the first few days after foaling.

Affected mares often have a fever, are depressed and lack an appetite. They may strain to pass orange to brown, sometimes smelly, uterine discharge. Many of these mares are in shock due to toxins from the infected uterus leaking into the blood stream.

Prompt and intense treatments are usually required to save the mare. Treatment involves removal of all placenta, removal of infection by flushing out debris and fluid, and supportive nursing care.

Great attention is focused on preventing laminitis, a common and potentially fatal complication.


Watch your mare very carefully for a few days after foaling. If she shows any sign of a problem or abnormality call your vet immediately.

If your mare has a history of a retained placenta or a difficult birth (dystocia) or both, be extra vigilant in your assessment of her overall health. Discuss the potential impact of this episode on your mare's future reproductive ability with your vet.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.