A veterinarian should always be involved when determining what, if any, medications a pregnant mare should receive, as few drugs have been fully evaluated for this use. However, it is suggested that many common drugs are safe for use in pregnant mares.
Dr. Margo Macpherson, DVM and professor at the University of Florida's College of Veterinary Medicine, in Gainesville, notes that all body functions are changed by pregnancy, which affects how drugs are distributed and how they are removed. Because so little is known about these changes, veterinarians can have difficulty determining proper dosing and predicting how drugs will impact the mare and the fetus.
Vets often look to human drug safety to help determine if a drug is safe for pregnant mares. The most important thing to decide is if the mare really needs the drug—in some cases it's imperative to medicate a mare to keep her alive despite the potential risks to a fetus.
The Horse has these takeaways for drug use in pregnant mares:
- Sedatives typically don't cause serious side effects when used in moderation.
- NSAIDs such as Banamine, Bute or Equioxx are generally used in a one-time dosage as chronic use may harm the fetus or cause kidney problems.
- Buscopan, which is an anti-spasmodic used in gas colic, should not be used more than once on pregnant mares for fear it will relax the cervix.
- Steroids used in joint injections or the treatment of allergic reactions may trigger labor and are best avoided.
- Ophthalmic eye ointments have been used in pregnant mares with minimal adverse effects.
- Dewormers can be given at the appropriate dose, but care should still be taken. Mares should not be dewormed within 30 days of foaling.
- Anti-ulcer medication is not recommended for pregnant mares.
- Domperidone, which prevents fescue toxicosis, is safe for mares in foal.
Click here for more from The Horse as well as for a chart on the FDA Guidelines for drug use in pregnant women, adapted for mares.
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