Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Foaling, Vaginal or Vulvar Discharge after Foaling

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

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

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

  • 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

  • If the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) suggest the horse is otherwise normal.

For 7-10 days after a mare has foaled, there is a natural “cleaning up period” for the mare’s uterus and reproductive tract. Locia is the sluffing of the attachment surface that developed in pregnancy between the uterus and placenta, and results in a brownish-red vaginal discharge that occurs for about a week after foaling.

This is a normal finding and, taken alone, should not cause concern. The key is that during this time, the mare’s appetite and attitude must remain normal and she should not have a fever.

WHAT TO DO

Assess your mare’s general health, paying particular attention to her attitude and appetite and rectal temperature. If a mare ever seems depressed or has not had appetite in the week following foaling, assess the horse’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE) on Post-Foaling Mare, paying particular attention to rectal temperature. If anything seems abnormal, you should call your vet right away.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

In most cases, vaginal discharges post-foaling are normal. But if your vet is called, they will likely assess the mare’s general health to determine if a post-foaling vaginal discharge is normal or not. Rectal palpation and ultrasound are useful in determining the state of the mare’s reproductive tract after foaling. Laboratory blood work provides additional helpful information.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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