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(First time horse owner)

This is my mare I have had her about 4 months. We brought her under the impression that she had been turned out to pasture for 2 years and was over weight however she has continued to grow since, even in work regular work. She has got hungrier and grumpier,some days making her unapproachable through fear of getting hurt especially around feeding time but she has got better. We had our suspicions when we got her but passed them off as we thought she was just over weight.

A few weeks went by we moved yards and the vet came out to do her injections and thought she looked pregnant so she did a blood test and it came back negative so we got told to wait 3 months and see if we still have our suspicions. We started having problems riding her and our friend suggested getting her back checked so we called the lady out and she refused to touch her as she thought she was pregnant and being a breeder I think she know was she was talking about. Everyone was sure she was pregnant including others who have bred before.

We decided to get a scan and the night before the scan she was asking to come in which is very usual as she doesn’t like it and was off her hay so we brought her in and she started showing all the signs of labour.We got the vet out he thought it was colic because of her noisy gut so gave her a painkiller that wouldn’t effect her if it was labour she calmed down but still had a noisy gut and then the symptoms returned in the morning after the pain killer had warn off. Another breeder saw her and said she was 100% in labour so we didn’t know what to think. The vet came out and scanned her and said she wasn’t pregnant, however her belly was very low on the day and I have read that if the vet does not go in shoulder deep ( which my vet didn’t) it can be missed if low or in wrong position. And got told to start working her again.

She is still dramatically showing signs and is very hungry and still a little grumpy. She doesn’t have fat pockets and We see some movement regularly nearly everyone on our yard has seen it and it is not gut as it shifts side to side and her belly goes up and out and down and in everyday. Also at some point she had calcium spots. Her teets are swollen and have leaked clear liquid but recently can’t get a proper picture as she is very protective her belly. We think she may have had a foal before perhaps even been a broad mare but it’s not 100% sure as we have no history on her apart from that she might not of been suitable for a riding school when she younger (again not 100% sure) Yes we brought her from a dealer blind which wasn’t the best idea but we reckon she has had a rough past and probably would still have a bad life if we didnt take her on as she has her quirks. we spoke to the dealer and he spoke to the person he got her off and they were both certain she hadn’t been with a stallion but again we don’t know she has been moved around a lot and stallions can act quick.

Also I know it can mean absolutely nothing but I have done the nail test and it swung side to side for a stallion.

She has now been wormed (about two weeks ago) and has completely calmed down to the point where she is falling asleep all the time and with less moods. 26E2CDA6-9040-42F7-ABD4-57DB9F337169_1573434354881.jpeg no bagging slightly soft around the the tail. And been told she has a milk vein. ??


Thanks : )
 

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The best way to tell is to get the vet out and have then examine her.

By the angle of her belly she might be in foal. Have her stand square and take a picture of her from behind. If she is in foal her sides will usually be uneven depending on which side the foal is growing.
 

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As said in the post I wormed her two weeks ago with equimax. And as far as I know she can’t be scanned for ulcers if pregnant because it is something we have thought about and she is showing no signs of ulcers. Thanks for the advice tho I will keep it mind : )
 

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And we have had vet out for blood test and the vet that did it said she did look pregnant and we had the vet out to scan or also said she was pregnant but I’m not convinced as she had other symptoms. And we seen her belly sit on one side as that is what it does most of the time and we’ve seen it move to side to side while she was stood perfectly still and we think we may have seen foal Movement like a kick 🙂
 

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I'm voting no because I've seen a lot of mares that have had foals in the past with that type of belly when they weren't pregnant. Since the blood test and scan done by the vet were negative, that would confirm it to me. If your mare were that close to delivering as her size would suggest, the vet should have no difficulty at all determining if she were pregnant.

You don't say how old your mare is, but the older a mare is, the more her belly will tend to sag as the back muscles age. You also don't say how much you are feeding the mare. If you are overfeeding, she may still gain weight even if being worked. Some horses such as my mare and another mare at my barn gain weight mainly in the belly. You'd think the one mare was ready to deliver any day, because her belly is so large all the time, but she's 28 and there are no stallions nearby.

When my mare was overweight she had a belly that moved around and her flanks appeared to flutter out as if a foal was moving around in there. She has never been bred. Udders can also be deceptive since a horse that has had a foal in the past will have a larger udder. Some mares also will have fluid leak out of their udders with hormonal changes or diet changes.

Hopefully you are not letting your horse's appetite determine her size, since if she is not pregnant she will need her diet managed. My horse became overweight because I was letting the barn owner determine her diet, she was feeding my (ideally) 750 lb mare the same 30 lbs of hay the 1300 lb warmbloods were eating, and she said my horse was "so hungry" all the time. That is about double what a horse my mare's size needs to eat. Horses that consume too much hay can be given slow feeder nets to help them not eat as many calories.
 

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Something else to mention:
Horses get bellies like that also if their diets are too high in undigestible fiber and too low in protein. If hay or grazing is too low quality, horses hold onto it in their guts much longer in order to try to ferment more nutrients out of it. This causes the so-called "hay belly," which is the horse holding onto pounds more of hay in their intestines than they would if the hay was a high enough quality that they could get enough nutrition out of it while passing it through more quickly.
 

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Depending on how far along with a pregnancy, with horses scanning I'd not able to pick up on the foal. She needs to be manually examined so the vet can feel the foal. This is done via the anus so no risk of infection.
 

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She is 15 years old and it’s not for definite that she has had foals before and we have no history on her. She is on 1 kg of high fibre mash and 2 scoops of fibre chaff split between two feeds one in the morning one at night. And little amounts of grass. As we can’t give her a whole paddock because it would be gone in days she has a hay net in her field Shelter yet she never eats it. If we don’t give her the feed in the morning she is dangerous to be around bucking rearing bronching galloping around before we even get in the field.
 

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She was on a scoop cool mix and two scoops of chaff but we changed it because her energy levels and lack of excercise and her belly hasn’t really changed dramatically more it just keeps changing shape
 

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I have one that looks more pregnant when not than when she is. One that pregnancies never show and one that looks like she swallowed a house. And I have one that has looked pregnant since we bought her 12 years ago. She'd even fool you with the behind pics as she throws her belly out to one side. This is a recent frontal view. See belly on both sides. If her diet changes and she isn't on a quality protein supplement this happens rather quickly. She is my one that gets a regular sand clear treatment and power pac'd to keep it under control. Skip any of those and she looks pregnant.
 

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If she gets really nasty when you reduce her feed, that is one sign of ulcers. Or bad behavior. Because, horses, xD I know Ulcergard is expensive, but perhaps give it to her for two weeks and see how she does. She may be less nasty. Horses make acid all the time, (unlike us, who do it only when hungry,) so if she has ulcers they would be constantly irritated unless buffered by food. My turds get free choice cheapo grass hay to munch all day, and are less food aggressive at feed time.

As for pregnant, mares are notoriously hard to determine if they are or not. Seasoned breeders have been embarrassed by a broodie’s opposite end result of whatever the breeder says. And blood tests are reported to give higher false negs AND false positives. Basically, prepare like she is, but don’t be surprised if she does NOT foal by the 12th month that you’ve had her. Also, her udder looks like she’s definitely nursed at least one foal in her past. A maiden mare ~usually~ has much smaller teats. I say ~usually~, again because, horses,...
 

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I'll say this about blood tests and urine tests. If you don't know the breeding date you have to do repeat testing as there are two types of tests. Each type tests for a different hormone. Each hormone has an expected range at an expected time in the pregnancy. if you aren't in date range the tests will give false negative results. Older mares (just like women) have hormonal changes as they age and certain tests are no longer reliable as the range for older age crosses the range for pregnant mare and you'll get false positives. manual palpation by a skilled vet gives the best results.
 
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