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Fertility after fetotomy: a clinical study focusing on heavy draft mares
  1. A. Raś, DVM, Phd, Prof1,
  2. A. Rapacz-Leonard, DVM, Phd1,
  3. M. Raś-Noryńska, DVM, Phd2 and
  4. W. Barański, DVM, Phd1
  1. 1Department of Animal Reproduction with Clinic, University of Warmia and Mazury, ul. Oczapowskiego 14, Olsztyn 10-719, Poland
  2. 2Department of Parasitology and Invasive Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Warmia and Mazury, ul. Oczapowskiego 14, Olsztyn 10-719, Poland
  1. E-mail for correspondence: andrzej.ras{at}


Although fetotomy is recommended for all mares when the fetus is dead and difficult to extract, little has been written about fetotomy and heavy draft mares. This lack includes indications for fetotomy in heavy draft mares, differences in treatment and prognosis of heavy mares kept by farmers of low socioeconomic status, and how this procedure affects the mare's further fertility. The literature on mares, in general, also differs on the survival rate of mares that undergo fetotomy, the prevalence of postpartum complications, and further fertility. To answer these questions, we reviewed the medical records of 102 mares that underwent fetotomy, mostly heavy draft mares (n=93). Head malposture (62.7 per cent) was the most common fetal maldisposition, which required fetotomy in all cases. The survival rate was 84.3 per cent (n=86). The most common postpartum complications were endometritis puerperalis (32.5 per cent) and retained placenta (27.9 per cent). 61 mares (70.9 per cent) both showed foal heat and cycled regularly in the first season after fetotomy. Out of 45 mares that were bred in the first season, 14 became pregnant (31.1 per cent). Survival rate and further fertility were reduced by delayed requests for veterinary assistance due to the difficult economic situation of the owners. Fetotomy is the method of choice for serious maldispositions, especially head malpostures, because in contrast with cesarean sections, it has a higher survival rate and allows the mare to return to breeding in the same season.

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