Ready Mares in Fall for Foals in Spring

Reproductive health, vaccination status, and nutrition are key to readying your mare to care for her foal.
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Some might consider it a bit premature to be thinking about spring already (winter’s not even officially here yet!), but if you’re a horse owner expecting a foal out of your mare or hoping to get your mare in foal, this is the perfect time to start planning.

In this article, Igor Canisso, DVM, MSc, PhD, Dipl. ACT, ECAR, an equine theriogenologist at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, shares some helpful tips for the diligent mare owner looking to jumpstart the breeding season. He breaks down the preparation into three basic steps: fall reproductive health workup, nutrition planning, and lighting management.

Basic Reproductive Health

“(Fall) is the most critical time to evaluate any pregnant mares for signs of placentitis, one of the leading causes of pregnancy loss,” says Canisso. She should be monitored for premature bagging up, vulvar discharge, and “sucking air” through the vulva.

Air sucking indicates that the integrity of the seal formed by the vulva or internal parts of the vagina has been compromised. If this issue arises in your mare, your veterinarian might elect to perform a Caslick’s procedure or expand an existing one. This simple procedure involves suturing part of the vulva together to lessen the risk of fecal and urine contamination and to reduce air sucking

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