60;JUNE 2016 | HorseIllustrated.com
I MOVED MY STETHOSCOPE
around on Eileen’s belly, listening
carefully for any abnormal gut
sounds. All was well with the Paint
mare, her intestines producing all of
the musical and healthy sounds of a
functional GI tract.
Her belly was huge and bulged out
dramatically, giving her the appearance of a
torpedo with legs. I ran my hand under her
belly and gently palpated her udder. It was
enlarged but firm, and there was no milk
Kenneth, the owner, looked like he hadn’t
slept in a few nights.
“How does the foal sound, Doc? Do you
think there could be two of them in there? Her
I explained that I couldn’t hear the foal over
the normal sounds of the intestinal tract, but
the mare was clearly not ready to start labor. I
didn’t see any reason to palpate Eileen rectally,
but I did pull out the ultrasound and get it
assembled and turned on.
Kenneth watched anxiously as I soaked the
mare’s abdomen with alcohol and applied a
large probe to her belly. Her uterus appeared
on the ultrasound screen, along with a small
amount of amniotic fluid, a nice transverse
view of the placenta, which looked healthy, and
the foal, which seemed to be running a race
inside of his mother.
“Are there two of them? Are they OK?
Should we give Eileen something to induce
I assured Kenneth that I could only see
evidence of a single foal, sometimes difficult
to do in a late-term pregnancy due to the size
of the fetus. For good measure, I located the
thorax and was able to get a fetal heart rate,
as well as a good view of normally developing
ventricles and atria, the cardiac valves opening
and closing crisply. All was well with the little
creature, but Kenneth wasn’t easily reassured.
“I think there’s something else going on. She
shouldn’t be this big!”
A Watched Mare
VET;ADVENTURES » BY;COURTNEY;S.;DIEHL,;DVM