Use of prostaglandin E2 to ripen the cervix of the mare prior to induction of parturition. Academic Article uri icon


  • Eleven light-breed pregnant mares (335 to 347 d gestaton) were used to evaluate the use of prostaglandin E2 as a cervical ripening agent prior to induction of parturition during the months of April and May. Six hours prior to induction, each mare's cervix was examined per vagina for softness and dilation. Each mare was then assigned to 1 of 2 treatment groups: Group PGE mares (n = 7) received 2.0 to 2.5 mg prostaglandin E2 deposited intracervically; Group SAL mares (n = 4) received 0.5 mL of sterile NaCl deposited intracervically. Six hours later, the mares were readied for parturition by wrapping the tail, scrubbing and rinsing the perineum and udder, and examining the cervix as previously described. Each mare was then administered 15 U, i.v. oxytocin at 15-min intervals until the chorioallantois ruptured. Intervals from initial oxytocin injection until rupture of the chorioallantois, from initial oxytocin injection until delivery of the foal, from delivery of the foal until the foal stood unassisted, and from delivery of the foal until the foal suckled were recorded. Mean cervical dilation immediately prior to induction of parturition tended to be greater in Group PGE mares (3.9 +/- 1.7 cm) than in Group SAL mares (1.9 +/- 1.9 cm; P = 0.10). Mean change in cervical dilation over the 6-h period prior to induction (3.4 +/- 1.9 cm vs 1.5 +/- 2.1 cm), mean number of injections of oxytocin required until the chorioallantois ruptured (1.9 +/- 0.7 vs 2.5 +/- 1.0), and mean intervals from initial injection of oxytocin to rupture of the chorioallantois (20 +/- 10 min vs 28 +/- 19 min) and delivery of the foal (28 +/- 7 min vs 34 +/- 22 min) were not different between Group PGE and SAL mares, respectively (P > 0.10). The proportion of foals that stood within 1 h of birth also did not differ between Group PGE foals (6/7; 86%) and Group SAL foals (3/4; 75%; Chi-square = 0.17; P > 0.10). The proportion of foals that nursed within 2 h of birth was higher in Group PGE foals (6/7; 86%) than in Group SAL foals (1/4; 25%; Chi-square = 4.02; P < 0.05). Premature separation requiring manual rupture of the chorioallantois at the vulvar labia occurred in 1 Group PGE mare (cervical dilation of 1.5 cm at time of induction) and 1 Group SAL mare (cervix closed and firm at time of induction). Foals born from the 2 mares with premature placental separation had the longest intervals from initial oxytocin injection to delivery, delivery to ability to stand unassisted, and delivery to suckling within their respective treatment groups. In summary, it appears that cervical ripening prior to induction of parturition favors shorter deliveries and foal vigor. Intracervical administration of prostaglandin E2 may prove useful for ripening the cervix of the mare prior to induction of parturition. Further studies are indicated to determine optimal dosage and method of administration of prostaglandin E2.

published proceedings

  • Theriogenology

author list (cited authors)

  • Rigby, S., Love, C., Carpenter, K., Varner, D., & Blanchard, T.

citation count

  • 22

complete list of authors

  • Rigby, S||Love, C||Carpenter, K||Varner, D||Blanchard, T

publication date

  • October 1998