|Diergeneeskunde; Equine reproduction, placenta, body condition scoring, foal health, horses, post mortem examination.
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Aim of the study: To determine the associations between mare and foal body condition score at birth, placental parameters, and health status of the foal during the first month of life Hypothesis: Poor body condition of foals at birth is associated with abnormal placental parameters and increased risk of diseases in the first month of life. Materials and methods: Foals and dams were condition scored using the method of Henneke et al. at birth and one month later. Placenta examination has been done in a same manner described by Whitwell et al (1975). Post mortem examination of the equine fetus occurred in a manner similar as described by Schlafer (2004). The fetal membranes and health data records were collected from 2 local Thoroughbred studs. During the three months of the study placentas from 68 Thoroughbreds mares were collected. For body condition scoring after one month, 26 mares and foals were scored Results: Placenta dimensions found in the current study are in the same range as results found by other authors. No significant difference and no correlation was found between foal body condition score at birth and weight of the chorioallantois (p = 0.504). No significant difference could be found between the use of oxytocin or no use of oxytocin to pass the placenta (p = 0.452). Different abnormalities were found at placenta examination. There is a significant difference for the mares body condition score (BCS) at foaling between both studs (p = 0.023). For the change in body condition score of the mare and the foal body condition score at one month of age a statistical significant difference is found (p = 0.008). 6.5 percent of the mares had a prolonged stage 2 labour. 90 percent of the mares passed their placenta in the normal time period. 51.8 percent of the foals got sternal in range. A small proportion of the foals, 14.3 percent, had a delay in standing up. At least 67.9 percent of the foals did not suckle within the first hour of life. Conclusions: Not enough information about foal health in the first month of life was known to make a correlation between body condition score or placental parameters. Because of the small data set and the small amount of time we cannot concluded if poor body condition of foals at birth is associated with abnormal placental parameters and increased risk of diseases in the first month of life.