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


Mare Should be Pregnant but Does Not Look It


Mares that are pregnant have a roundness and a palpable springiness to their abdomen. The mammary glands should develop starting at 4-6 weeks before due date. However, mares that have had multiple foals may look pregnant even when they are not.

The equine pregnancy is 330-400+ days. The average gestation for light horses is about 335 days. Larger breeds tend to have longer pregnancies. Mares can be examined for pregnancy by your vet at as early as 14 days following the end of the heat cycle within which the mare was bred.

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    Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment
    • Your vet can determine whether or not the mare is pregnant.

your role


What To Do

You wonder whether your mare is pregnant. She should be, but does not look or act pregnant. What should you do?

There is no way for you to definitively tell by visual assessment whether or not a mare is pregnant. While some mares become enormous in later pregnancy, others do not. In late term pregnancy, you may (or may not) notice the fetus moving in the mare's flank. For this reason, you should contact your vet.

your vet's role

The first, early exam is done by ultrasound and rectal palpation. Vets typically perform a second exam at about 45-60 days. Rectal palpation for pregnancy can be done very early, but the added information provided with ultrasound is helpful.

In late term pregnancy, it is easy for your vet to determine whether or not the mare is pregnant using rectal palpation and ultrasound. Ultrasound through the abdominal wall can give more information about the health of the developing fetus. Hormone assays for pregnancy can confirm pregnancy only within specific time windows, but may be helpful in some situations.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • What is the horse's age, sex, breed and history?
  • What were the mare's breeding dates?
  • Has the mare had prior foals or is she a maiden?
  • Was the mare confirmed in foal by a veterinarian?
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  • Does the mare have a history of eating fescue hay or being on fescue pasture?

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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Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP