There's a part of this that I really don't understand -
Checking for retained placenta is pretty simple and doesn't require advanced training. You spread the placenta out and look for holes or gaps.
No placenta at all after four hours? You have an emergency and should call the vet and tell them the mare has failed to deliver the placenta.
The mare delivers the placenta, you check it, if you think a piece is missing, you call the vet, tell them, and that's a legitmate emergency.
The mare delivers the placenta, you think it's intact, but 24 hours later she develops symptoms of septicema, you call the vet, it's a serious emergency.
What I don't get in this story is that you have a mare with a history of retained placenta, but don't check the afterbirth (that's what I'm concluded from what you've said, if I have that wrong, I apologize) and wait until the mare has developed symptoms of speticema before calling the vet.
If the mare has a history of retained placenta, and I couldn't get a vet to attend the foaling, I would be checking the afterbirth *very* carefully, and probably taking the mare's temperature every couple of hours, alert to the possibility that she might develop systems.
I don't know exactly what your experience or situation is; and I do get the sense that there was a serious communication problem here between you and the vet's office. But I can't avoid the sense that you didn't take the actions I would expect an experienced mare owner to take.
Last edited by maura; 05-12-2011 at 08:47 PM.