Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Bleeding from Vagina, Immediately after Foaling

Code Red - Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

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

Code Red - Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

  • If the horse seems to be in distress.
  • If there is more than several pints (1 liter) of blood.
  • Questions coming up around foaling should usually be discussed right away with your vet.

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

  • If the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) suggest the horse is otherwise normal.
  • If bleeding is minor and the horse seems fine otherwise.

Mild bleeding immediately after foaling is normal. However, there should be no more than about a pint (1/2 liter) of blood loss right after foaling. Profuse bleeding is a sign of a problem.

The primary reason for major blood loss visible at the vagina after foaling is a uterine tear, which is a life-threatening emergency.

Small vaginal tears heal well with little treatment. Larger vaginal tears that involve the rectum require treatment by your vet. For 5-10 days after foaling, normal mares produce a reddish, bloody discharge called locia.

WHAT TO DO

If you have any question distinguishing between normal and abnormal vaginal bleeding after your mare foals, contact your vet immediately to discuss your findings and concerns. Perform the Whole Horse Exam for post-foaling mare, paying particular attention to gum color and heart rate, and general attitude.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet can determine the source of the bleeding using vaginal exam, ultrasound and other diagnostics . From diagnosis follows treatment options.

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

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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