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Treatment with the progestin altrenogest is widely used in pregnant mares. The fact that foals born from healthy mares treated with altrenogest until term suffered from neonatal problems raises the question of direct effects of altrenogest on vital functions in the neonate. We have therefore investigated altrenogest concentrations in maternal and neonatal blood plasma and in fetal fluids. Pregnant mares were treated with altrenogest orally once daily (0,088 mg/kg bodyweight, n = 7) or left untreated (n = 8) from 280 d of gestation until foaling. Altrenogest concentration was determined in plasma of the mares, their foals and in amniotic and allantoic fluid. The concentration of altrenogest in plasma from treated mares (2.6 +/- 1.0 ng/mL) was significantly lower than in plasma from their foals immediately after birth (5.6 +/- 1.9 ng/mL; p < 0.05), but was significantly higher than in their fetal fluids (amniotic fluid: 0.4 +/- 0.1 ng/mL; p < 0.05; allantoic fluid: 3.0 +/- 1.5 ng/mL). Altrenogest was undetectable in maternal and fetal plasma and fetal fluids of control pregnancies at all times. Altrenogest concentration in plasma of foals from treated mares was strongly correlated to the altrenogest concentration in plasma of their dams (r = 0.938, p < 0.001) and in amniotic (r = 0.886, p < 0.001) and allantoic fluid (r = 0.562, p < 0.05). A significant decrease in altrenogest concentration between the time periods 0-15 min, 30-120 min, and 180-360 min after parturition was seen in the plasma from foals born to altrenogest-treated mares. In conclusion, our data demonstrate that altrenogest reaches the equine fetus at high concentrations.