Merck Manual

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Pet Owner Version

Uterine Prolapse in Horses


Robert O. Gilbert

, BVSc, MMedVet, DACT, MRCVS, Reproductive Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University

Reviewed/Revised Sep 2019 | Modified Oct 2022

Uterine prolapse is a disorder in which the uterus turns inside out and protrudes out of the vagina. It is rare in horses, but may occur immediately after or within a few hours of delivery of a foal. When it does occur, uterine prolapse is a serious problem that requires immediate veterinary attention because a major blood vessel can be damaged, causing the mare to bleed to death.

After careful cleansing and repair of any injuries to the uterus, your veterinarian will manually return the uterus to its normal position within the abdomen. Once the uterus is back in place, the hormone oxytocin is given to help contract the uterus and keep it in position. Complications, such as infection, bleeding, and shock, may occur if treatment is delayed. The outlook for recovery depends on the amount of contamination and injury of the uterus. The sooner treatment is given, the better the outlook. There is no tendency for the disorder to recur during subsequent deliveries.

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