Retained placenta in Friesian mares: incidence, and potential risk factors with special emphasis on gestational length

Theriogenology. 2004 Apr 1;61(5):851-9. doi: 10.1016/s0093-691x(03)00260-7.


During the foaling seasons of 1999 and 2000, the incidence of retained placenta in 495 normal parturitions of 436 Friesian brood mares was studied. Retained placenta was defined as a failure to expel all fetal membranes within 3 h of the delivery of the foal. Furthermore, the sex of the foal, month of breeding, sire and dam's sire, age of the mare, and time of day of foaling, were studied as factors that might be associated with retained placenta in Friesian mares after normal foalings, and with gestational length. The analysis was carried out using marginal logistic regression, and mixed linear regression, respectively. The incidence of retained placenta was 54%. Mean length of gestation was 331.6 days. Colts were carried 1.5 days longer than fillies. Mares bred in July-September had a 4-day shorter gestation period (329 days) than mares bred earlier in the year. There was a mare, sire, and dam's sire effect on gestational length, and a mare effect on the occurrence of retained placenta. Mares foaling at 4 and >17 years of age, tended to have a lower incidence of retained placenta than mares foaling at 5-17 years of age. No association was found between the occurrence of retained placenta, and gestational length, sex of the foal, month of breeding, dam's sire, and time of day of foaling. It was concluded that the observed high incidence of retained placenta indicates that the Friesian breed of horses has a higher risk for retained placenta than other breeds of horses.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Gestational Age*
  • Horse Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Horse Diseases / etiology
  • Horses
  • Linear Models
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Placenta, Retained / epidemiology
  • Placenta, Retained / veterinary*
  • Pregnancy
  • Risk Factors
  • Seasons