Foaling Alarms–Expecting Company?

Foaling alarms are designed to notify owners, farm managers, or foaling attendants that a mare is in labor.
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The birth of a foal can be a nerve-wracking, not to mention exhausting, experience–and not just for the mare. The humans involved can expect many sleepless nights in anticipation of being there for the big moment. An attended delivery will allow the detection of any problems during the birth, or immediately after.

That means if there is a problem, your veterinarian can be notified immediately, which can greatly increase the chances of a healthy foal and mare. There also are some cases where there is a medical reason for ensuring that the delivery is monitored, such as to protect a foal from ingesting colostrum from a mare at risk for causing neonatal isoerythrolysis (NI) in her foal. You also might want to closely watch mares which have a history of dystocias (difficult births).

But even without a medical reason, it is always just a good idea to monitor the birth process to ensure that there are no difficulties with the birth or with the foal. Eleven months is an awfully long time to wait to have something go wrong in a matter of minutes–with the potential to lose the foal, the mare, or both just because you weren’t aware of the birth.

In this article, we will discuss several options for birth alarms and/or monitoring systems and list the pros and cons for each so that you can make an educated choice as to what system(s) would work best for you and your horse

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Written by:

Christina S. Cable, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, owns Early Winter Equine in Lansing, New York. The practice focuses on primary care of mares and foals and performance horse problems.

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