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


Bleeding from Vagina, Immediately after Foaling


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.

  • 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.

your role


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.

your vet's role

Your vet can determine the source of the bleeding using vaginal exam, ultrasound and other diagnostics . From diagnosis follows treatment options.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • When do you think the mare foaled?
  • How much blood do you see?
  • What is the appearance of the blood?
  • Does the mare appear normal otherwise?
  • Do you notice any wounds in the vulvar area?
  • Is the blood bright red, dark, or other?
  • Does the foal appear bright, alert and responsive?
  • Did the mare deliver what looks like the whole placenta in what seems a normal fashion?
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?

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
more treatments

further reading & resources

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP