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Theriogenology. 1997 Jan 15;47(2):559-73.

Ultrasonographic evaluation of the equine placenta by transrectal and transabdominal approach in the normal pregnant mare.

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  • 1Department of Equine Reproduction, Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.

Erratum in

  • Theriogenology. 1997 Apr 15;47(6):i.


The objective of this study was to determine normal variations in the utero placental thickness during mid- and late gestation in the mare. Normal, healthy pregnant mares (n = 9) were examined monthly from 4 mo of gestation until parturition by transrectal and transabdominal ultrasonography. At each examination, the combined thickness of the uterus and the placenta (CTUP) was measured at the placento-cervical junction (transrectally) and at the uterine body or the uterine horns (transabdominally). In addition, the echogenicity of the amniotic and allantoic fluids was evaluated by transrectal ultrasonography. Following parturition and expulsion of the fetal membranes, the allantochorion was measured and visually examined for abnormalities. At all examinations, both transrectal and transabdominal, the chorioallantois and the uterus were indistinguishable from each other on the ultrasound image. The CTUP, measured by transrectal ultrasonography did not change between 4 and 8 mo of gestation, but increased significantly for each month between 10 and 12 mo of gestation (P < 0.001). A change in the CTUP was detected between months when measured by transabdominal ultrasonography, but no distinct pattern in these changes was observed. No correlation was found between transabdominal and transrectal measurements of the CTUP. The echogenicity of the amniotic and allantoic fluids did not consistently change over time during mid- and late gestation. The amniotic fluid was more echogenic than the allantoic fluid at most examinations from 6 mo of pregnancy and throughout gestation (P < 0.05). It was concluded that transrectal ultrasonographic examination to assess the CTUP and the echogenicity of the fetal fluids is superior to the transabdominal approach. We suggest that transrectal ultrasonographic examination should be added to current diagnostic tools during late gestation and that it be part of the biophysical profile of high risk equine pregnancies.


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