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Mare dies from spay

I need to know if anyone has heard of this happening:
My friend had her mare spayed back in February 2012. It was a flank spay. Two incisions.
Several months after the operation, one of the incisions was noted to have some lumps forming under the skin.
The horse was taken to the vets, a sample of the fluid was taken from the incision and found to be a staph infection.
The mare was put on a round of antibiotics.
These antibiotics caused severe diarrhea.
The mare was take. Back to the vets, taken off the antibiotics and put on different antibiotics. Still the diarrhea persisted.
Within days the mare died.

I’ve never heard of it happening, but there are risks of infection with any invasive surgery. I’m sorry for your friends loss.

I’ve never heard of it happening, but there are risks of infection with any invasive surgery. I’m sorry for your friends loss.[/QUOTE]

Yes, that’s the gist. That could happen after any surgery.
Ovariectomy is a significant surgery, not without risks.
Very sorry for her loss :frowning:

In reality, the mare died from a staph infection, not from the spay. Invasive surgery like that does carry significant risks, particularly as it is difficult to impossible to maintain the level of hygiene that would be optimal with large, dirty animals like horses.

I’m very sorry for your friend’s loss. I know how devastating it is to do everything you can and still fail to save them.

Following a textbook sinus surgery, my mare’s infection rebounded on the safest antibiotics. She was put on two more powerful ones and I was given explicit instructions to treat any sign of diarrhea as a medical emergency. She developed soft stool, and we spent about a week/ten days trying to stabilize her gut and keep enough antibiotics in her system to keep the infection at bay.

We prevented the full-blown diarrhea the OP describes, but the infection was able to take advantage of the situation and a second surgery would have been required. There were other factors involved in my decision to euthanize, but her intolerance to strong antibiotics–and knowing she’d need even stronger ones post surgery–was up there in my decision making process.

Unfortunately, infections happen after surgeries. And antibiotics are not benign. Diarrhea and antibiotic-induced colitis are huge risks, especially on the stronger antibiotics. And once you get in that cycle, it can be very hard to balance between needing to support the horse’s system and trying to knock out the infection.

I’m sorry for your friend. I know how much it hurts to try so hard and still lose. But since I was warned strongly about the possibility of the same thing happening to my mare, I don’t think it’s an impossible or uncommon situation.

It seems odd that the infection would pop up “several months later” that was bad enough to kill her. I’d have thought it would have been a much faster process.

Anyone know why it would take so long? Could that be some kind of secondary infection or maybe adhesions causing issues rather than the actual spay?

It sounds like it was the reaction to the antibiotic that killed her. Antibiotics can kill off enough gut flora that the system cannot tolerate.

We lost ont that way a few years ago.

I would guess it’s more likely the severe diarrhea was the ultimate cause of death. Sorry for your friends loss.