Mare Foaling Problem/ Rectal Tear

We just had a mare foal and during the process she had one leg and head of the foal tear up into the rectum and 1 leg out vaginal area. She labored for an hour before she finally split the area between both areas.We just had a mare foal and during the process she had one leg and head of the foal tear up into the rectum and 1 leg out vaginal area. She labored for an hour before she finally split the area between both areas.

Story originally posted by: Michael Lowder, DVM, MS

Dear Dr. Mike,

We just had a mare foal and during the process she had one leg and head of the foal tear up into the rectum and 1 leg out vaginal area. She labored for an hour before she finally split the area between both areas.

The vet finally made it and the foal was out. He is consulting with OSU and says that we have to wait until baby is weaned or 3 months and that we will be cleaning her every other day until the vaginal canal closes some.

Today he cleaned her and said the cervic was closing some and that it seem as though things were doing ok. We wondered if there was someway that the feces could be routed away from the vaginal canal as to prevent the possibility of infection?

Don’t get me wrong as our vet is good at most of what they do but are not Equine specialist and are not like what we are use to in Florida. We are in Broken Bow Oklahoma and dont really know of any equine vets. I have attached a pic and will wait your reply.

I appreciate your response and feel this would be something to educate others on as we have never seen this over our 15 years of foaling horses.

Thank You

Monte Moniz

Monte,

What your mares has is a Perineal Laceration.

There are three classifications.

First degree: involves only the mucosa of the vestibule (opening to) and skin of the dorsal commissure of the vulva.

Second degree: involves both the mucosa and submucosa of the dorsal vestibule, skin of the dorsal vulva, and some of the musculature of the perineal body.

Third degree: lacerations extend from the vestibule through all muscles of the perineal body, enter the rectum and also involve the anal sphincter.

In most cases a First degree requires no attention. A second degree in some cases do require suturing after the tissue has been allowed to return to normal size (the swelling has gone down). A third degree perineal laceration rarely requires an immediate repair.

Most are repaired about about six weeks of healing. Mares should be given anti-inflammatory and antibiotic medications post foaling to augment healing and reduce inflammation. Is is hard to prevent an uterine infection in a mare like this and all mares should be evaluated after surgery for uterine infections via cytology, culture and maybe uterine biopsy. Post surgery the mare should be feed a diet will be keep the feces soft. In most cases this is just putting the mare out to pasture.

If no pasture is available then the mare will have to be fed a bran mash to keep the feces loose.
If you want to rebreed the mare, natural cover is not a good idea for about 4 months but artifical insemmination can be done in about 3-6 weeks post surgery if the mare does not have an infection. Conception rates for mares with third-degree lacerations are reported to be about 70-80% with a low chance of another laceration on the next foaling.

There are several complications of the surgery/tear. They are uterine infection, uterine urine pooling, fistula formation, obstimpation, tenesmus and just about anything else you can think of but most do just fine. I appreciate the case and image and it sounds like you got a good vet that is working closely with you. Keep a positive outlook and the mare should do fine.

Thank You,
Dr. Lowder