Ultrasound is also very useful in the detection of pregnancy in horses. This is carried out via rectal examination using a special ultrasound probe.

We advise that the first scan is carried out at 15-35 days post copulation. At this stage, twins may be identified and one terminated. After this date, the whole pregnancy will require termination if twins are detected, and the mare may not rebreed until the following season.

Unfortunately, the uterus in mares is only designed to carry a single foal. If she is allowed to carry twins, she will abort prior to term or produce a non viable foal. This can be very distressing and can also put the mare at significant risk. It is important to destroy one conceptus or terminate the pregnancy if twins are detected.

Martin Hobbs is an RCVS certificate holder in diagnostic imaging and is therefore keen to carry out rectal pregnancy diagnosis in mares (and also farm animal species).

There are also blood tests which can detect pregnancy. These can be accurate but both false positives and false negatives may occur. The use of ultrasound is far more accurate and can also confirm whether a foal is alive, which a blood test cannot.

We are happy to visit farm and small holdings to carry out both manual and ultrasound pregnancy diagnosis. This can be arranged for a single animal or whole herd.