Early Twin Pregnancy Scan
(Photo : Summerhill Stud)
THOROUGHBRED Q&A ON FACEBOOK
Annet Becker Broodmare ManagerThe Summerhill Facebook page is fast becoming a hive of “Questions and Answers” for all things Thoroughbred! The following question was posted in response to an article written by Alec Hogg which was published on Racingweb last week.
1. Do you get the mare to abort or does she give birth?
2. In the case of a mare giving birth to twins, are they much smaller than normal?
3. Is one allowed to register both and race them?
4. Are there any known cases of twins that have gone on to have a racing or stud/paddock career?
The conception of twins is a significant and increasing problem in pregnant mare management. The mare is monocotous, meaning the uterus is unable to adequately support two pregnancies.
Twin pregnancies rarely survive to term, most commonly resulting in abortion in mid-to-late pregnancy (9-10 months). They are the most common cause of non-infectious abortion, accounting for 20-30% of all occurrences.
Only 9% of twin pregnancies survive to term; 64.5% of these cases result in two dead foals, 21% in one live foal and 14.5% result in two live foals. Twin rates in Thoroughbreds have been reported to be as high as 16.2%.
The advent of ultrasonic scanning has significantly helped early identification of twins.
It is possible for a horse to have twins but in thoroughbreds this is highly undesirable because twins don’t usually make good racehorses as they are smaller and weaker.
(Both foals from a twin pregnancy can be registered.) However, the dam’s (= mothers) of some outstanding horses have been twins, for example Chequer’s Stud’s mare Anna’s Choice, the dam of 1999 New Zealand Derby winner Hades; and Windsor Park Stud’s Field Nymph, dam of Group One winners Field Dancer and Just A Dancer.
Danger Ahead had twin fillies in 1959 and contrary to the claims of some people that they will never catch up and be frail these 2 fillies : Stop On Red with 51 starts 7 wins 5 seconds 9 thirds and Go On Green with 32 starts 7 wins 3 seconds 9 thirds, turned out to be very sturdy and strong. Stop On Red’s daughter Spectacular produced Spectacular Bid. Go On Green is also grandam of a stakes winner Bold Greenback. Fillies like these are obviously the exception and not the rule.
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