Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Edema or Firm Swelling Under Belly of Very Pregnant Mare

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

  • If this problem seems severe and has come on suddenly.
  • If the swelling is large, painful or growing rapidly.
  • If the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) in the resting horse indicate fever (Temp >101F/38.3C) or heart rate greater than 48 BPM.

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

  • You have any concerns about the late-term pregnant mare.

A variety of problems can cause swelling at the lowest part of the belly. The most common cause in late pregnancy results from the weight of the pregnancy interfering with the mare’s circulation, causing fluid to seep out into the tissue planes (edema). It is a more common finding in the last weeks of pregnancy in large mares with very pendulous bellies.

Ventral edema in late pregnancy is usually not painful, and will indent and retain its form momentarily if you push your thumb into it. It has the texture of closed-cell foam. Ventral edema usually resolves quickly after a mare foals. Rarely, however, rupture of the abdominal wall can cause excessive swelling here too.

WHAT TO DO

Assess the horse’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam on Late-Term Mare (WHE), paying particular attention to the mare’s attitude and appetite.

If the mare appears healthy, then this sign may not be a cause for concern. However, if the mare shows any other signs of illness or abnormalities, contact your vet with your findings and concerns.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet differentiates “normal” edema from more serious edema or other conditions upon physical examination. If they are concerned, they may recommend additional diagnostics such as ultrasound, to assess the pregnancy and the integrity of the abdominal wall.

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

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

CONTACT US

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

Sending