Preparing for Foaling

This article will describe procedures that should be done before foaling, the events that take place just prior to foaling, what events take place during a normal foaling–along with the normal post-foaling events–and will describe some of
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You have spent months, or perhaps years, planning and deciding on the perfect mate for your mare. Now, after a few appointments with your veterinarian and a couple of trips to the breeding shed, your mare is happily in foal. In a few short months, it will be time for her to deliver. Are you ready? Do you know what signs to look for that will tell you she is getting close to foaling? Also, very importantly, will you know if the mare or foal is in trouble and when to call your veterinarian?

This article will describe procedures that should be done before foaling, the events that take place just prior to foaling, what events take place during a normal foaling–along with the normal post-foaling events–and will describe some of the warning signs that indicate there is a problem and when to call your veterinarian for help.

Considerations for the Pregnant Mare

It is important to keep a record not only of the mare’s routine vaccinations and deworming, but breeding or insemination dates and veterinary examinations and/or ultrasound examinations in case there is ever a question about the foal’s true gestational age. If your mare has had foals in the past, it is of great value to have the records of her previous gestations (if available). The mare’s previous gestational length(s) can be determined. For example, if a mare normally carries a foal for 350 days, then delivers her current foal at 335 days, that foal might be premature even though it is of a considered "normal" gestational length because it is not a "normal" gestational length for that particular mare

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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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