Dystocia or difficulty in foaling is uncommon in the horse. However problems do occur and it is important that your veterinary surgeon is contacted as soon as you suspect a problem. Sometimes the foal can be manipulated within the mare to enable normal delivery. However, sometimes there are foal abnormalities that make a normal birth impossible, such as contracted tendons. Your veterinary surgeon will make an initial attempt to correct any incorrect position of the foal but a horse is unlike a cow in that she will not be able to tolerate a large degree of manipulation without some damage to her reproductive tract. So, when manipulation fails, a caesarean section may need to be performed.
Caesarean section in the mare is a major operation performed under general anaesthesia. The decision to perform a caesarean is one which only your veterinary surgeon can make with you.
Retained Placenta in the mare
The foetal membranes should be expelled within a few hours of foaling during the third stage of labour. Occasionally these may not be expelled, but retained. If the mare has not passed the membranes within a few hours of foaling, then veterinary attention should be sought. Retention of the foetal membranes can lead to complications including endometritis (infection of the uterus) and toxic laminitis.