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The traditional method for diagnosis is rectal palpation where a gloved arm is inserted into the mare's rectum and the foal felt for manually. Recently, with advances in imaging techniques, ultrasound has become more popular. Ultrasound examination involves insertion of a probe that relays an image back to a screen which can be viewed. The fetus is observed on the screen and this technique often allows earlier confirmation than with manual palpation. Both of these procedures are performed on the farm.
There are also blood tests which can also be used to diagnose pregnancy. They look for the presence of a hormone called equine chorionic gonadotrophin or eCG. This hormone is produced by the mare only during pregnancy between days 45 and 100. There is also a urine test available. Samples for these tests are collected on the farm and sent to a reference lab for diagnosis.
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