What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


Vaginal or Vulvar Discharge, Pregnant Mare


There should be no vaginal discharge in a pregnant mare until the first stage of labor, at which time a reddish discharge is expected.

True vaginal discharge that originates in the uterus is either a sign of impending foaling or a problem with the pregnancy (infection) and impending abortion.

Occasionally, conditions affecting the vulva or vagina result in a discharge that is not originating from the uterus and does not indicate a threat to the pregnancy. For example, urine containing whitish green crystals that accumulate on the vulvar lips can be confused with vaginal discharge.

  • Code Red

    Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

your role


What To Do

Assess your mare's general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), paying particular attention to her general attitude and appetite, heart rate and rectal temperature.

Evaluate the color and quantity of the vaginal discharge, and try to confirm that what you are seeing is not urine.

Assess the size of your mare's udder, and determine whether there is milk by stripping (milking) a little of whatever secretion is present in the teats into your hand. Note the color of that secretion. Note the mare's breeding dates. Share your findings and concerns with your vet.

your vet's role

Depending on the situation and stage of pregnancy, your vet may want to see your mare immediately, or simply advise you to monitor the mare and watch certain parameters.

When problems with pregnancy are caught early and properly diagnosed, there is a chance that a pregnancy can be spared.

On examination, your vet will evaluate the health of the fetus and placenta using rectal palpation and ultrasound. Your vet uses a vaginal exam to assess the source of the discharge, because it may originate somewhere other than the uterus.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • What were the mare's breeding dates?
  • Is the mare showing any other signs of labor?
  • Does the udder appear enlarged?
  • Does the udder have milk in it?
  • What was her last recorded breeding date?
  • What is the color and quantity of the discharge?
  • Has there been any problem with the pregnancy prior?
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?

Diagnoses Your Vet May Consider

The cause of the problem. These are conditions or ailments that are the cause of the observations you make.

Very Common
Less Common
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Treatments Your Vet May Recommend

A way to resolve the condition or diagnosis. Resolving the underlying cause or treating the signs of disease (symptomatic treatment)

Very Common
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further reading & resources

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP