Aug 25 2020
IMPORTANT REMINDER: IF YOUR MARE NEEDS TO TRAVEL A SIGNIFICANT DISTANCE WHILE IN-FOAL, SHE MUST BE TRANSPORTED A MINIMUM OF 6 WEEKS OUT FROM HER DUE DATE. IF YOUR MARE IS LESS THAN A MONTH AWAY FROM FOALING WE WILL NOT ACCEPT YOUR BOOKING – THE RISKS TO THE MARE AND FOAL ARE TOO HIGH.
CARING FOR THE PREGNANT MARE
General health should be maintained throughout the mare’s pregnancy, this means regular deworming, dental care and hoof care. The pregnant mares body condition should be regularly checked to ensure she is neither under or over weight. Selenium levels should also be checked (ideally prior to breeding), as there are large areas of New Zealand soils that are deficient in selenium. In broodmares, low selenium can be a cause of low fertility, however, the most severe problems are seen in newborns and can be fatal. Making sure the mare is up to date with vaccinations is also important, she should receive booster vaccinations around 4-6 weeks prior to foaling.
In the third trimester of your mare’s pregnancy, it is crucial to ensure your mare is consuming the appropriate feed to both; Maintain her body condition and provide her with the key nutrients to help the developing foal. It is best to consult your veterinarian or a specialist equine nutritionist to help you develop a feed plan specifically for your mares needs.
TRANSPORTING YOUR MARE
If you are sending your mare away to foal it is important you make plans for her transport well in advance.
If your mare has to travel a significant distance, Andrew Bailey from Rangiora Vet Centre recommends “the further out from foaling the better, 6 weeks is the closest any mares should be travelling”. If your mare is less than a month away from foaling we will not accept your booking as the risks to the mare and foal are too high. If your mare is travelling locally to foal down, we still recommend transporting her as early as you can as even short trips can raise the mares cortisol levels. This can induce premature labour- even in a mare that travels well usually. Mares also need time to settle and develop immunity against pathogens in the new environment – they will then pass these onto the foal via colostrum.
THE FOALING PROCESS
If you decide to foal your mare down at home, it is important to know what to look for in a normal foaling and know when a vet needs to be called.
There are many online resources that provide a lot of information about the foaling process – such as FoalED. It is also advisable to have a pre-foaling exam on your mare; at that time, you can discuss with your veterinarian about what to expect when your mare foals and make a plan for when it all starts.
There is a simple rule for foaling:
The 1, 2, 3, 4 Rule
- The foal should be standing within 1 hour
- The foal should be looking to suckle within 2 hours
- The foal should be drinking within 3 hours
- The foal should have passed the first manure (meconium) with 4 hours. Also, the mare should have passed the placenta by 4 hours. (3 hours for draft breeds)
If any of these things have not happened within the allotted time, then your vet should be contacted. Also, remember to call your veterinarian right away if there is any question or concern that a problem is arising or if you are unsure of what to do next.
A post-foaling check, within 24 hours of birth is a good idea to ensure that the foal is in good health. Your veterinarian will conduct a thorough exam on the foal to check for any problems that can be easily corrected soon after birth. They will also examine the mare and placenta. This is to ensure that the placenta is not missing any pieces that the mare may have retained, this can cause serious infection.
We wish everyone the best of luck for the breeding season! If you have any questions on transporting your in-foal mare give us a call, we are happy to help answer any of your questions.
For more information on transporting your mare while she is in-foal, click below: