How do you know if a mare is pregnant?

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The large animal clinic differs in many aspects from the medicine of dogs and cats, however, equines also tend to adopt certain behaviors that will make us suspicious of different specific situations. For the equine owner, it is very important to know if any of their mares is pregnant, and taking these behaviors into consideration is crucial to making a diagnosis or, at least, having the suspicion.

In this AnimalWised article, we will explain how to know if a mare is pregnant through a series of guidelines, providing the groom with an efficient guide to identify the behavior of the animal and call their trusted veterinarian as soon as possible.

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  1. The heat or estrous cycle of the mare
  2. Play and ride on the horses
  3. How to know if a mare is pregnant? - We tell you!
  4. How are horses born?

The heat or estrous cycle of the mare

You can define the pregnancy or gestation like the state of a female in which carries a fetus in her womb. The owner must be familiar with the mare's reproductive cycle if he is to increase the chances of an accurate pregnancy diagnosis..

Therefore, before answering the question about how to know if a mare is pregnant, it is important to know, on the one hand, how horses reproduce and, on the other and most important, how to know if a mare is in heat. or estrous cycle. For this reason, it is appropriate for the owner to have basic knowledge about the reproduction of the mare, since in this way they will reach a conclusion much faster about the state of pregnancy of the animal. The reproduction of the mare responds to an estrous cycle, and this is a animal considered seasonal polyestric. The estrous cycle can be defined as a repeating sequence of events that prepare the animal for conception. The mare's reproductive activity is governed by the photoperiod (it responds to sunlight), but nutrition and climate also play a very important role (especially temperature). The estrous cycle of the mare is divided into two phases:

  • Estrous phase: it is called estrus and is the phase in which the mare is receptive to the stallion. Ovulation occurs approximately 24-48 h before the end of sexual receptivity.
  • Luteal phase: it is called right-handed and in this phase the female is not receptive, since at the hormonal level she is preparing to maintain the pregnancy or to start the cycle again (in case it has not been served).

The duration of the estrous cycle in mares is about 21 days, and it is appropriate to know when it comes to diagnosing whether the mount was effective or not, as we will explain later.

Play and ride on the horses

Taking into account the aforementioned, knowing the duration and stages of heat is essential. Another thing that should not be put aside is the riding date. It is practically mandatory to write down the date of riding in order to know more precisely the possibilities that the mare has of being pregnant. There are many ways to inquire about the gestation of the mare, however the personnel who are not veterinary professionals will only be able to use the forms inherent to the behavior, which are the following:

Behavior of the mare in heat

The groom must have knowledge about the behavior of the animal when it is in heat, and the clinical signs that it shows us. A mare in heat generally:

  • Constantly lift the tail.
  • Movements are also noted at the level of the vulva.
  • Mucous secretions are sometimes expelled from the vulva.

Yes 21 days after riding, the mare shows these symptoms, the groom must assume that the animal not in gestation.

Behavior of the mare with the stallion

The behavior in front of stallions is also widely used in daily practice:

  • The mare accepts the stallion: if a stallion is presented to the mare and she shows reciprocity to courtship and is receptive, she is hardly pregnant.
  • The mare rejects the stallion: if the opposite happens and the mare rejects the stallion, there are possibilities of pregnancy, although it should be taken into account that the female can also reject a stallion for other reasons.

To better understand your 4-legged companion, we encourage you to read this other AnimalWised article on The language of horses..

How to know if a mare is pregnant? - We tell you!

There are other, much more specific methods for diagnosing pregnancy in a mare, and these must be performed by a veterinarian. They are as follows:

  • Transrectal palpation: approximately 2 weeks after mating, a veterinarian can perform a palpation to diagnose the possibility of pregnancy. Changes in size at the uterine level will give the doctor clues to know if the mount was effective.
  • Ultrasound: one of the most accurate and reliable methods is ultrasound. Through sound waves, the veterinarian recreates an image of the female's reproductive system, directly verifying whether or not there is an embryo in her uterus. It can be done approximately from day 16 to diagnose pregnancy, and from day 55 to diagnose the sex of the foal.
  • Hormonal blood tests: in case the mare is very spirited and an ultrasound is impossible, a blood sample can be taken to evaluate the levels of hormones. It should be done approximately 40 to 100 days after mounting. The hormone to be measured is gonadotropin. It should be taken into consideration that if the mare lost the fetus during this time, the results may be inaccurate, however, another chemical substance such as estrone sulfate can be evaluated, which returns to its normal levels much faster after a lost.
  • Urine pregnancy test: some veterinary doctors specialized in the area of ​​reproduction, usually have pregnancy tests for mares that give quite reliable results. It is a urine test where estrone sulfate is measured and must be performed 110 to 300 days after mounting..

Determining the pregnancy of a mare is not difficult at all if we stick to general considerations. An empirical knowledge is enough to put together the puzzle that can give us very approximate results, and in case we seek 100% effectiveness, we should not hesitate to call the vet, who will do your relevant complementary exams.

How are horses born?

If you are curious to know how horses are born, we also leave you this other AnimalWised article about ¿How are horses born ?, where we explain in detail this last phase in the gestation of mares, as well as what are the symptoms to know that the mare is about to give birth.

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