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J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2000 Sep 15;217(6):878-80, 845.

Fetal maceration and retention of fetal bones in a mare.

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  • 1Department of Herd Medicine and Theriogenology, Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada.


A 19-year-old Quarter Horse mare was evaluated because of bloody vaginal discharge that was apparent immediately following breeding. On transrectal ultrasonography, it was evident that the uterus was filled with fluid containing echogenic particles; linear hyperechoic structures were also visible. Endoscopy was performed, which revealed a number of bones adhered to the cranial wall and floor of the right uterine horn as well as purulent fluid in both uterine horns. Bacterial endometritis and fetal maceration were diagnosed. The mare was treated with antibiotics, and the fetal bones were manually removed from the uterus. Fetal maceration with intrauterine retention of bones is rare in mares. Use of hysteroscopy supplements ultrasonography in the diagnosis of uncommon conditions of the uterus. Macerated bones may be adhered to the endometrium, thereby requiring manual removal.

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