I. Care of the Pregnant Mare:
- Deworming every two months, rotating dewormers to prevent parasite resistance.
- Immunization Program
- Rhinopneumonitis vaccine at 5-7-9 months to prevent viral abortion.
- Tetanus, Influenza, Encephalitis vaccine at 10 months to boost immune status and maximize colostrum levels of protection.
II. Normal Parturition:
- Mammary gland begins filling 30-45 days prior to foaling.
- Maximum gland filling with “waxing” 24-48 hours before foaling.
- Relaxation and lengthening of the vulva 24-48 hours before foaling, no vaginal discharge will be seen normally before foaling as in other species.
III. Gestation Length:
- Variable, normal being 335-360 days.
IV. Stages of Labor:
- Stage 1
- Colic symptoms.
- Tail switching.
- Stretching to urinate, looking at their flank.
- Frequent small bowel movements.
- Stage 1 ends and Stage 2 begins when the “water” breaks (amniotic fluid).
- Stage 2
- Rapid phase of labor usually lasting an average of 20-30 minutes.
- Feet present first, usually on foot, then the head and second foot together.
- Forceful contractions will occur as the head and shoulders come through the birth canal.
- 20-30 minutes is average but can take up to 60 minutes, longer than 30 minutes after the water breaks should warrant a call to your veterinarian.
- Celebrations and flash photographs should be delayed until after the umbilical cord breaks.
- Allow the mare and foal to lie comfortably so that maximal placenta blood reaches the foal without premature rupture of the cord. Clamping of the cord is beneficial.
- C. Stage 3
- Passing of the placenta.
- Normal passage of the placenta is less than 3 hours after foaling.
- Retention of the placenta longer than 3-4 hours would warrant veterinary attention.
- D. Stage 4
- After care checklist:
- Care of the Umbilical Cord
- Enema for the foal if necessary.
- Be sure the foal nurses, this can occur as soon as 1-3 hours, longer than 2-4 hours without nursing should warrant veterinary attention.
- Save the placenta for examination to be sure that it is present in its entirety.
- 18-36 hour test for Immunoglobulins. This test determines the amount of immunity that the foal has received from the mare’s colostrum.
- Improper presentation.
- Failure of the placenta to rupture and the foal unable to pass out of the membranes.
- Premature rupture of the umbilical cord.
- Failure to nurse.
- Failure of progression during Stage 2 of labor.
- Rectal and Vaginal tears to the mare.
- Uterine artery ruptures of the mare.
- Prolapsed uterus of the mare.
- After care checklist:
|Water bag breaks||Time 0|
|2 front feet and head appears||Time 10 minutes|
|Feet, head, chest and hips||Time 25-35 minutes|
|Foal standing||Time 1-2 hours|
|Fetal membranes passed||Time 2-3 hours|
|Foal nursing||Time 2-4 hours|