Recommended Care for Foaling Mares

Exercise: Normal exercise first 8 months; then free exercise in pasture, but no riding.

Nutrition: Mineralized salt, pasture, alfalfa or grass hay, clean water. From 8 months to end of pregnancy, grain 1/2 to 1 lb. per 100 lbs. of body weight as needed, calcium phosphorous supplement, protein supplement.

Immunizations: Rhinopneumonitis vaccination at 5, 7, and 9 months; Eastern & Western Encephalitis/Tetanus/Influenza (4-Way) and West Nile vaccination 1 month before foaling date.

Worming: Worm before breeding; do not worm during first 2 months of pregnancy. Follow regular worming schedule after 2 months, but check labels of worming products for safety during pregnancy. Worm with Ivermectin product 1 month prior to foaling.

Signs of Foaling: Remember that all foaling signs are variable.

Udder begins filling 3-4 weeks
Softening of croup area 2 weeks
Waxing 36-48 hours
Milk changes from yellow to smokey-white 12 hours

If mare drips milk excessively, some should be collected and saved for the foal by freezing.

Delivery: Wrap tail; allow things to progress on their own as much as possible.

Normal Progression: Time
Water bag breaks 0
Front feet and head presented 10 minutes
Feet, head, chest, hips 30 minutes
Foal standing 60 minutes
Fetal membranes passed Less than 2 hours
Foal nursing 1-2 hours

You should call our office if:

  1. Foaling process is interrupted or doesn't progress as above.
  2. Fetal membranes are not passed by 6 hours or are not passed completely. Do not manually extract fetal membranes; this can cause hemorrhage.
  3. There are any unusual happenings or any other concerns.

Foal Care: Make sure foal is breathing. Dip naval in Nolvasan or other chlorhexidine solution (1 part to 4 parts water), or in Iodine and Glycerin mixture (50/50). Leave mare and foal alone and undisturbed as much as possible. Foal needs to receive 10% body weight in colostrum (milk) within 12 hours — normal nursing will provide this if the mare has not dripped milk excessively. Commercial enema solution, Vitamin ADE injection, and a probiotic should be given (may be done by the veterinarian the next day).

Mare Care: Fetal membranes should be passed within 2 hours; check to see if they are complete and save for your veterinarian to examine. (Under no circumstances should you pull on the fetal membranes to hasten the passing of the placenta.) Check for tears in vulva tissue and persistent hemorrhage; check mare's udder for milk. Put mare out for some exercise each day.

Birth to 3 Months (Mare): Nutrition is very important during this time--hay, salt, calcium phosphorous supplement, 1/2 to 1 lb. grain per 100 lbs. body weight as needed to maintain condition.

Birth to 6 Months (Foal): 

Exercise: Turn out daily with a warm, dry place to rest.

Immunizations: E/W Encephalitis, Tetanus, Influenza, Rhinopneumonitis at 5 and 6 months, and West Nile vaccinations at 3 or 4 months with a booster 4-6 weeks later

Worming: Every 2 months for first year of life

A veterinary examination is recommended the next day if an emergency call was not necessary. This is a summary of mare and foal care. For more details, please feel free to call our office (794-3600).