Veterinarian Sheds Light on Cloudy Fetal Fluids

A Kentucky veterinarian who specializes in mare reproduction, fetal ultrasound, and fetal sexing has studied pregnancy videos 1996 and 1998 and foal production the following years and has found that some degree of cloudiness in chorionic or amnionic fluid did not necessarily mean the mare would lose her foal or she would have an abnormal foal.

"It isn't the kiss of death if we see cloudiness in these fluids," said Dr. Richard Holder of Hagyard-Davidson-McGee veterinary firm. He said there seems to be some range of acceptable fluid cloudiness, but no one knows what that range is at this time. Documenting this year's fetal exams and following up with next year's foals should help clarify some of the issues, Holder said.

Cloudy placental fluids and disturbances in the placental membranes were seen on ultrasound before many of the mares lost their pregnancies. Some mares that had these symptoms did not lose their pregnancies, and there has been concern that the fetuses will be lost later or be malformed. Holder's review of the 1996 and 1998 breeding seasons and subsequent foal production gives a bit of hope to those owners whose mares had the cloudy fluid and kept their pregnancies.