Transabdominal ultrasonographic determination of fetal gender in the horse during mid-gestation

Catherine D. Renaudin, Carol L. Gillis, Alice F Tarantal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Gender determination of the equine fetus using transabdominal ultrasonography was studied in 20 mares. One group of 10 research mares was scanned repeatedly every 2 weeks from 100 days gestation to parturition, while the second group of 10 client mares was subjected to echography once during mid-gestation. In males, the penis and/or prepuce was observed on 71 occasions from 102 days to 258 days gestation. On cross-sectional views, the male external genitalia had a round shape with parallel linear echogenic foci up to approximately 140 days gestation and then appeared triangular. Fetal testes were oval in shape in frontal view and had an homogeneous ultrasonographic appearance. Females were diagnosed on 23 occasions from 118 days to 227 days gestation based on the presence of the mammary glands and teats. Fetal ovaries appeared homogeneous with a characteristic circular echo from 100 days to 134 days gestation. Gender identifications (n = 98) based on the presence of the penis and/or prepuce in males and mammary glands and teats or fetal gonads in females were all correct, in agreement with the sex of the foals at birth. The optimal window of time was defined in both sexes as 100 to 220 days gestation. Thereafter, it was increasingly difficult to identify the anatomical structures cited above. Fetal sex was mainly determined using the transabdominal approach (87/98). However, the transrectal approach was useful in cases in which fetuses were either in posterior presentation or located very high in the mares abdomen. Good quality diagnostic scanners used typically in equine reproduction and equipped with a 5.0 MHz probe can be used for this procedure up to 160 days gestation, after which a 3.5 MHz transducer is often necessary due to increasing fetal size.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)483-487
Number of pages5
JournalEquine Veterinary Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1999


  • Fetus
  • Gender
  • Horse
  • Transabdominal
  • Ultrasonography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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