Milk/big belly in not pregnant pony? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 07-18-2019, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
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Milk/big belly in not pregnant pony?

Hi everyone! in november I bought a pony, she had a foal in May and she was sold to me as not pregnant. But in the last month she grew a very big belly. I thought to myself "come on...she can't be pregnant", and I tried to milk her just to make sure, but she actually had milk coming out! When I asked about this to her previous owner, she told me she was never with stallions, but the day I bought her I clearly remember her telling me" she has a strong charachter, I can leave her with stallions too because she knows how to deal with them" (I was specifically looking for a "strong" pasture friend for my old chestnut mare...if you know what I mean ). So I don't know what to think...To be honest her belly looks pretty big to me! The first time i tried to milk her it was the first of July, today she still has very clear milk. The vet said she's too small to do the ultrasound so we can't confirm anything at the moment. So, assuming that she's just fat, do you know if there are other reasons that can lead a mare to produce milk? She eats only hay, no green grass or grain, and she didn't have any change to her diet, except for an apricot tree in her pasture that lost all the fruits on the ground and for sure she ate many of them some weeks ago. Here are some pictures..what do you think?
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post #2 of 13 Old 07-18-2019, 06:11 PM
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If she just foaled in May then she'd barely be 2 months if she caught in foal heat. She'd still have baby on her as well unless something happened to it. NM - You probably mean last May not this past. If she was kept with a stallion on the premises you never know until you know. There are urine based tests as well as blood tests that can be done.
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post #3 of 13 Old 07-18-2019, 06:36 PM
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Wow, she certainly looks pregnant, doesn't she?

I don't think milking her proves anything. I had an ex-broodmare that hadn't had a foal for 8 years and she still drips milk on occasion. So I don't think you can go by that.

With her belly as big as it is, I would watch for kicking. If she IS pregnant, you might be able to see or feel the kicks. My mare's last foal kicked up a storm when she was that size. Look in the flank/ belly area behind the rib cage. That may not be a perfect test either because the baby doesn't move all the time, but if you do feel something kicking around in there, I think you have your answer.

There's a lot of stupid out there!
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post #4 of 13 Old 07-18-2019, 06:45 PM
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Totally missed the "May" thing. If that was this past May, like QtrBel said, she can't be THAT big from a pregnancy in two months. She looks like she's ready to deliver!

There's a lot of stupid out there!
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post #5 of 13 Old 07-18-2019, 06:49 PM
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Apricot seeds contain cyanide and are poisonous to horses. I would either remove the fruits from the pasture or block her access to the tree. I don't think cyanide poisoning would cause a big belly, but I would definitely call the vet and have a pregnancy blood test done. I would also ask about cyanide poisoning and the effects on a potential unborn foal.
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post #6 of 13 Old 07-18-2019, 08:33 PM
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She'd have to crack the pits or eat enough wilted leaves to have an issue. If she passed whole puts then no problem.
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post #7 of 13 Old 07-19-2019, 04:40 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone! I'm sorry I was not clear about the May thing, it was May 2018, and i bought her in November:) Thank you TeeZee for telling me about the apricots. I've been having this tree for 10 years now and many horses ate the fruits, but it never caused any problem, i see that they open them and spit the core, also because when they fall from tree they are already smashed most of the time, but I will keep an eye on them!

I tried many times to watch her to see movements but I am not sure of what I see, I've never seen a real kick on her, but her belly definitely moves more than the other mare's...
I think the blood test would be a good idea, the only problem is that the results will take forever and, if she's really pregnant, I think we'll have the baby before the results
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post #8 of 13 Old 07-19-2019, 08:23 AM
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Well with a belly like that and expressing milk, I'd say she's in foal and pretty close to foaling.

If she'll let you touch her, have you felt her hind quarters? I'd imagine they're pretty soft by now, around the tailhead, if she is.

I've heard of vets doing an ultrasound on a mini, so I'm not sure why your vet won't. But I agree, if she is you might see the foal before the blood test results.

Good luck! I'm waiting on one myself. Liable to drive me mad lol!
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post #9 of 13 Old 07-19-2019, 10:26 AM
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@Bas180001
Because of the size of the probe. It depends on the mare's actual build and size as the probe is inserted and turned/rotated. Internals are used early on to confirm and not late to detect pregnancy. Most minis do not have the room without causing extreme discomfort or injury. Transabdominal would be able to determine if a fetal heartbeat is present but as a mini you are looking at awkward positioning and whether the mare would allow it.



The most reliable place to feel for kicks is actually in front of the teats between the belly button and udder area. The sides are notorious for movement that can pass for kicks visually and even through touch. Most movement in the flanks is gas and movement in the intestines.


@haffix "I think the blood test would be a good idea, the only problem is that the results will take forever and, if she's really pregnant, I think we'll have the baby before the results "


That test wouldn't take more than two weeks. Most are returned before the end of one week. Depends on how close the lab is as turnaround is dependent on how quick you get the sample in not actual test time. Your vet would get results by email most likely so it is just the time for someone to open and read then pass along. I've had tests retuned in 3 days. Most within 5 days. If you have a good relationship they'd call as soon as they knew the answer. Test isn't all that expensive. There would be three likely outcomes. Horse tests positive and you know you're expecting just not when. Levels could give you a good idea of how far along. Purchase in Nov could mean breeding as late as Oct or your November pick up date if she cycled that late. I don't know your location so that is also dependent on where you are at. Horse tests negative and if they did not run progesterone to compare then either mare is not pregnant or baby will arrive within two weeks. Lastly your horse delivers before you get the results. More than likely you'd be seeing other signs at this point and suspect imminent delivery. To me knowing is better than guessing or waiting without knowing for sure.



A urine test is cheap and reliable and you can do that yourself. There are several on the market. As your mare is under/at 3 years old would not work reliably for you @Bas180001 unless you would have had a baseline. They often produce false negatives in young mares (3 or under). OP you would want more than one test. If you are within 2 weeks you'd get a negative as estrogen levels plummet when you hit the last stretch. If you get a late pregnancy result then you know your horse is either in heat or you have at least two weeks or more to go so you would test again in two weeks. Another late positive confirms a pregnancy so you know that you'll be seeing a foal at some point. A negative says no pregnancy or within two weeks you'll see baby. By two more weeks if no baby then you can assume no pregnancy.
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post #10 of 13 Old 07-19-2019, 10:34 AM
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Well, I can say I am aware of urine tests but I'm not chasing my mare around to gather a sample LOL. She's pretty gentle and friendly these days, but that's a bit much ha.

OP, please keep us updated. Best case scenario: two for one!
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