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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 foal 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 hormones produced by the mare only during pregnancy. A urine test available is also available. Samples for these tests are collected on the farm and sent to a reference lab for diagnosis.
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