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Theriogenology. 2009 Mar 1;71(4):683-9. doi: 10.1016/j.theriogenology.2008.09.041. Epub 2008 Nov 5.

Factors affecting foal birth weight in Thoroughbred horses.

Author information

  • 1Main Ridge Veterinary Clinic, 334 Main Creek Road, Main Ridge, Victoria 3928, Australia. chrisbvsc@gmail.com

Abstract

Foaling data from 348 Thoroughbred foals born on a commercial stud were analysed to investigate interrelationships among mare age, parity, gestation length, foal sex, placental weight, and foal birth weight. Placental weight was positively correlated with foal birth weight up to a threshold of 6.5 kg; above this, placental weight was not significantly associated with foal birth weight. Placental weight was assessed, including the amniotic membranes and umbilical cord as well as the allantochorion. Using path analysis, parity was positively associated with foal birth weight both directly and through increased placental weights, but age was not directly related to foal birth weight. Over the range of gestation lengths observed, gestation length was not significantly associated with foal birth weight. We conclude that, in populations represented by this study population, either placental weights up to 6.5 kg are rate-limiting for foal birth weight or placental weight increases with foal birth weight up to this threshold. However, further increases in placental weight are not associated with additional increases in foal birth weight. The positive association between parity and foal birth weight is mediated through increased placental weight as well as other pathways. Age is not directly related to foal birth weight and gestation length is not strongly associated with foal birth weight.

PMID:
18980778
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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