In the mare, does manual removal of fetal membranes negatively affect fertility?

M. K. Platt, A. J. Walker, A. Gunn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Retained fetal membranes (RFM) are the most frequently occurring post‐partum condition of the mare encountered in clinical practise (Threlfall 2011). The condition is defined as the retention, complete or partial, of the allantochorionic membrane for an extended period of time following expulsion of the foal. The vast majority of publications agree that fetal membranes (FM) should be considered pathologically retained if they have not been expelled within 3 h post‐partum, at which time it is considered appropriate to implement therapeutic intervention (Brinsko 2007).Despite the high incidence of RFM, a lack of consensus exists regarding the optimal treatment regimen. Due to the higher risk of fatal sequelae, the approach to treatment of RFM in the mare is very different to that taken when managing this condition in other domestic species. Manual removal as an intervention for the treatment of RFM remains controversial due to the perceived risks and potential negative effects on future fertility. The commonly cited immediate risks of manual removal include severe haemorrhage, pulmonary embolism, intussusception of the uterine horn and uterine prolapse (Threlfall 2011). It is reported that manual removal of FM may also have a negative impact on fertility by causing delayed uterine involution, the cervix to remain open longer post foaling (Vandeplassche et al. 1971), retention of microvilli that serve as foci of infection, fibrosis and permanent endometrial damage (Threlfall 2011). Methods of manual removal vary between reports and there is no well‐described, universally‐accepted technique for manual FM removal.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-51
Number of pages3
JournalEquine Veterinary Education
Issue number1
Early online date18 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


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