WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOUR MARE IS EXPECTING

          - A NORMAL FOALING -

By Ernie Martinez II, DVM


​ The birth of a newborn foal is a very amazing experience to watch and to be a part of. As the pregnant mare approaches her due date, or foaling date, it is important to prepare and review the normal events that will take place so she may give birth to a healthy, long legged bundle of joy. Reviewing normal preparations for foaling, the stages of foaling, and the normal activity of a newborn foal will help prepare everyone involved and help the youngster hit the ground running.

      The average gestation length of the mare is 340 days (range 315-365 days) and gives ample time to prepare for the arrival of the newborn foal. Mares due in winter tend to carry their foals longer than mares due in summer. Any foal born outside of the normal range may warrant a more thorough evaluation by your veterinarian. As the mare approaches her due date, it is important to booster her annual vaccinations one month prior to her due date. This stimulates her immune system and boosts antibody production. The anti-bodies concentrate in the colostrum as the mare nears foaling. A newborn foal is immuneologically naive and acquires its initial immune protection from the antibodies in the mare’s colostrum. If the mare leaks colostrum or “runs milk” prior to foaling it is a good practice to supplement the foal with clean, tested colostrum via a bottle or to have your veterinarian administer it via a nasogastric tube.
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PREPARING YOUR MARE FOR BREEDING

By Julie Skaife


​There are many factors to consider be-fore you breed your mare. This Q&A with reproduction specialist Dr. Karen Wolfsdorfof Hagyard Equine Medical Institute will help you be prepared.

WHERE DO I START IF I WANT TO BREED MY MARE?

First, consult with your veterinarian to decide whether your mare needs to go away to the stallion or breeding farm or whether you can keep her at home for breeding. This will depend on whether you are breeding her naturally or with artificial insemination using cooled or frozen semen and her previous reproductive history. Another factor in this decision is the stallion you would like to use, his fertility and what type of semen is available.

Make sure you understand the breeding contract and stallion owner’s policies thoroughly. Discuss the particulars with the stallion owner to find out if there are any periods over the breeding season when the stallion is not available. If artificial insemination is elected, determine the number of breedings you get in a season for cooled semen, what days semen shipments are available, what the policies are for requesting semen, etc. If frozen semen is being used; how many doses are provided, what are the number of straws per dose and are there any guarantees of quality or pregnancy?
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Dr Ernie Martinez II, DVM

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