Abnormal positions during mare foaling

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There are various abnormal positions during foaling.

Resist the temptation to get your hands on this youngster. I know, you want to know what the sex is, but that won’t change in the next few minutes. You need patience at this point. It is important to allow the mare to lie down as long as possible to prevent early cord rupture, as the foal receives several pints of blood via the umbilicus if left undisturbed.

The umbilical cord will break when the mare stands. At this point it is a good idea to dip the stub of the umbilical cord in 7 percent iodine solution. Do this by pouring a small amount into a glass or a syringe case. Dip the stump into the solution. Do this several times a day over the next few days to prevent infection.

This baby will make several attempts at standing. It is a comical site and will make you smile. Resist the temptation to help, he or she will eventually get it right. I learned this tip from an old vet many years ago. Take note of the foal’s ears. At first they will lie flat against the neck. Slowly they will start to go upright. When the ears stand, so will the foal.

Once the foal is up it will start to explore its environment and look for mamma’s milk. The foal may try to nurse on anything and everything. But, it will eventually find that nipple and get the much needed colostrum.

Abnormal positions during mare foalingAbnormal positions during mare foaling

No rest for you yet. We still have stage three to get through. The placenta (after birth) is hanging from the mare. This is the membrane that surrounds the foal during gestation. You should tie a knot in it to keep it from dragging. Yes, you need to touch that slimy, slippery thing and tie it in a knot. This is where your sterile gloves come in handy. Do not pull on it, let it come out naturally. The foals nursing will help stimulate contractions and it should be expelled in 3 or 4 hours. Get your bucket and lid from your foaling kit and put the placenta into it. Run some water into the bucket to keep it from drying out. Your vet will want to examine it for any missing pieces that may have been left behind in the mare. He will also check to see if it looks healthy. If your mare does not pass it call your vet for assistance.

Watch the foal to make sure it passes the meconium (the black tar substance that is the first stool). If this does not passed in a few hours, or if the foal seems to be straining, an enema is recommended. If you have never given one, call your vet for assistance.

Ok, baby is here, up and nursed, placenta has been passed and the foal has passed the meconium. What’s that you say? Your tired? Ok, ok now you can go get some rest. But, don’t forget to call your vet to let him know that you have a new arrival. The vet will want to make an appointment to check the mare and foal.