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Survival rates of mares and foals and postoperative complications and fertility of mares after cesarean section: 95 cases (1986–2000)

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  • 1 Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, 2150 Georgetown Rd, Lexington, KY 40511.
  • | 2 Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, 2150 Georgetown Rd, Lexington, KY 40511.
  • | 3 Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, 2150 Georgetown Rd, Lexington, KY 40511.
  • | 4 Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital, 2150 Georgetown Rd, Lexington, KY 40511.
  • | 5 Department of Statistics, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40536.

Abstract

Objective—To assess survival-to-discharge rates of mares and foals and postoperative complications and fertility in mares following cesarean section (C-section).

Design—Retrospective case series.

Animals—95 mares.

Procedures—Medical and breeding records of mares that underwent C-section were reviewed; signalment, surgical technique, complications, survival-to-discharge rate, and pregnancy and foaling rates were recorded and evaluated. Foaling rates in the 3 years after C-section were compared with the cumulative foaling rate before C-section.

Results—C-section was performed because of dystocia (n = 71) or concurrent maternal disease (20) or was elective (4). Overall survival-to-discharge rate was 84% (80/95) for mares and 35% (28/80) for foals. Six of 15 mares that had partial fetotomies prior to C-section did not survive. Mares that had dystocia for < 90 minutes had the fewest complications. Cumulative foaling rate before C-section was 77% (394/509). Overall foaling rate for the 3 years after C-section was 52% (30/58) and 68% (13/19) when duration of dystocia was ≥ 90 minutes and < 90 minutes, respectively, and was 31 % (9/29) for mares ≥ 16 years old. Foaling rate was significantly lower for mares bred in the same year as C-section than for mares bred in later years.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Breeding in the same year as C-section, dystocia for ≥ 90 minutes before C-section, and mare age ≥ 16 years were associated with poor foaling rates. Prognosis for delivery of a live foal in years following C-section was good if duration of dystocia was < 90 minutes and the mare was < 16 years old at the time of surgery.

Contributor Notes

Dr. Abernathy-Young's present address is Lake Equine Clinic, 4224 Mayfield Hwy, Benton, KY 42025.

Presented in abstract form at the 55th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, Las Vegas, December 2009.

Address correspondence to Dr. LeBlanc (leblancdvm@bellsouth.net).