Presentation on theme: "A Foaling Timeline for Owners"— Presentation transcript:
1A Foaling Timeline for Owners The Expectant Mare:A Foaling Timeline for Owners
21 MONTH BEFORE All vaccines / deworming should be current PreparationAll vaccines / deworming should be currentGive vaccines within 4-6 weeks pre-foaling to ensure the best colostral antibodiesThe mare should be at the location she is going to foal atAllows the mare time to develop antibodies to the environmentA clean stall, at least 12’x12’ with straw bedding is ideal, or a clean paddockYour ability to observe foaling is important (a pasture is too large to monitor)Most intranasal vaccines should not be used because they do not stimulate antibodies in the blood (which then go to the milk)I give EEE, WEE, Tetanus, West Nile, Flu, Rhino, Rabies, and IM strangles. If an owner vaccinates for PHF I would give that now too.Straw is preferred over shavings because shavings can clog the mouth and nose of a newborn, and contaminate the uterus during the foaling process. Also unbaked shavings can carry Klebsiella, a dangerous bacteria.
31 Month Before: What to expect Mare’s udder will gradually begin to fill (may happen 3-6 weeks before foaling)Maiden mares are more likely to develop more quickly right before foalingCheck your mare’s udder each day to montior changes, and so that she becomes accustomed to having her udder handled.
41 Month Before: When to call the vet ASAP! If the mare’s udder develops rapidly (overnight or within 1-2 days), or she begins to drip milkThis is usually a sign of fetal stress! Early treatment may prevent premature birth or neonatal infectionsIf the mare begins to act colickyCould be caused by numerous different things, many fatal to mare or foal if not treated earlyIf the mare has large amounts of edema (soft swelling) on the lowest part of her abdomenCould lead to prepubic tendon rupture, which is often fatal for the mare and foalMild edema is normal, especially in warmer weather.
51 WEEK BEFORE What to expect “Breaking down”, aka softening of the muscles and ligaments around the tail headThe tail head will be more prominent7-10 days before foalingTeats begin to fill 4-6 days before foalingMilk changes from watery grey-white to thicker, sticky, creamy yellow (colostrum)Test kits are available to monitor changes in the milk, and are very reliable in most maresThese signs are highly variable from mare to mare.A “plumper” mare may not have an obvious tail head, and thin or older mare may have a prominent tailhead the entire year.Some mares get very full teats, some stay relatively small. The best way to evaluate them is by feel.
61 WEEK BEFORE What to expect (cont.) Waxing of the teat ends occurs hrs before foaling in most maresSome as early as 1 week before, some never doThe vulva becomes loose and flaccid hours prior to foaling (may begin gradually over the last week)In my experience, waxing is one of the most unreliable indicatorsCheck your mares vulva early on so you can recognize the changes later (the differences can be subtle)
71 Week Before: When to call the vet If vaginal discharge is presentIf the mare begins to drip milk, but does not show any other signs of foaling within 24 hrs.May be a sign of fetal stressMay result in insufficient colostrum for the foalIf the mare started to show foaling signs, but stoppedIf the mare does not have any udder developmentArrangements for supplemental colostrum may need to be madeEven if you think you are being paranoid, it’s better to talk things over with your vet so that they can be prepared
8IMMEDIATELY BEFORE (Stage I): What to expect Restlessness, sweating, biting flank, switching tailFrequent urinations and defecationsGetting up and down frequentlyDripping milkThere may be no warning signs!May last 1-4 hours, often takes longer in maiden mares than experienced ones.During this phase mares can “shut down” labor if they feel threatened. It is very important to not disturb the mare by checking on her too often or changing her routine too drastically. Foaling cameras are a great tool to help you monitor the mare without coming in the barn and disturbing her. Closed circuit cameras with night vision are available for less than $200, and webcams are a great tool too. Most webcams pick up infrared light (even if they are not labled “nightvision”), so you can get an infrared light at many hunting supply stores to put in your mare’s stall. Then you can monitor her without leaving the lights on!
9Immediately Before: Preparation Wrap the mare’s tailUse caution, mares may behave very differently when in laborNote the timeNotify the vet so they can be prepared to help if neededKeep the area quiet and free of visitors
10Immediately Before: When to call the vet ASAP!!! If signs last for more than 4 hoursIf a red, velvety membrane appears (aka “Red Bag”)This is an EMERGENCY!!!! The placenta has separated prematurely and the foal has no oxygen supplyIf the vet cannot be there in a few minutes break the red membrane and the membrane behind it so the mare’s “water breaks”, you should be able to reach the foal at this time. The foal needs to be delivered as quickly as possible.This is truly an emergency, DO NOT WAIT to act on a red bag deliveryThese membranes can be very tough. A sharp knife may be needed to cut through it, but be careful not to cut the foal underneath!Call your vet once the foal is delivered, even if it seems normal. These foals often develop problems several hours later due to lack of oxygen
11ACTIVE LABOR (Stage II): What to expect Begins when the mare’s water breaksLasts 5-40 min (20 is average)Abdominal contractions are seen in the mareThe mare is usually lying down for this stageThe foal should emerge front feet first, hooves down, with one leg slightly forward of the otherThe nose should follow shortly, at about the level of the knee
12Active Labor: When to call the vet ASAP If the mare has been in active labor for more than minutesIf BOTH front legs don’t appear first, hooves down, followed by the nose.Any abnormal positioning can cause severe damage or death to the mare and foalNever try to pull the foal unless you have been instructed to do so by your vetMost foaling injuries are caused by incorrect or unneeded assistanceIf progress seems to stopThe front legs are almost always offset from each other, so don’t panic if you only see one at first. If the nose is visible before the second one appears or if the enitre knee is visible with no signs of the other legs, THEN there may be a problem.Use a stopwatch to keep your self from losing track of time (30 seconds seems like an hour when you’re nervous!).Give the mare at least 5 full minutes to make SOME progress before you become concerned.
13POST FOALING - THE MARE (Stage III): What to expect The placenta should pass on its own within 3 hrsTo prevent the mare from stepping on it, it can be tied in loose knots to shorten its lengthSave the placenta in a bag for your vet to examineThe mare may rest for a few minutes after the foal is delivered, but should rise within minutes.The mare should show interest in the foal and may lick it, nicker to it, and nudge it gently.A caramel-colored to red-tinge, odor-free discharge is normal for 5-6 days.A “foal heat” will occur 7-10 days after foalingSome mares will not show heat with a foal at their side
14Post Foaling – The Mare: When to call the vet If the placenta has not passed on its own in 3 hoursNEVER pull on a placenta or cut it, small pieces can be left in the uterus which can lead to a severe infectionIf the mare does not try to rise within minutes, or appears unable to rise.If the mare shows no interest in the foal or acts aggressively toward it.Move the foal to a safe location where the mare cannot bite or kick it, but can still see it, while you are waiting for your vet’s instructionsIf a foul-smelling discharge is presentPieces of the placenta may still be in the uterus, resulting in an infectionIf the mare develops a temperature, goes off feed, or acts sore on her feetRetained fetal membranes may result in founderDraft breeds need to pass their placenta within 1 hour since they are more prone to severe laminitis
15POST FOALING - THE FOAL What to expect Should roll onto sternum within 5 minutesShould attempt to stand within 30 minutes.Umbilical cord will break on its own as foal or mare movesThe cord can be treated with dilute chlorohexidine (Nolvasan®) solution every 8-12 hours to prevent infection.Diluted iodine can also be used, but is more irritating and has been shown to be less effective at killing umbilical bacteria.Should succeed at standing in minutes.Resist the urge to help the foal to stand, it is an important part of the learning process.
16Post Foaling – The Foal What to expect (cont.) Should succeed at nursing within minutes after standing.Most early attempts at helping the foal to nurse only interfere with it’s learning processMeconium (the first fecal material) should pass within 4 hours.Generally sticky, dark brown/black, and formedUrination should occur within 5-6 hours for colts and hours for fillies.Ensure urine is not coming from the umbilicus (watch closely in colts!)Foals will initially suck on the wrong body parts, but they should eventually figure it out. Watch closely though, to confirm that the foal is actually sucking on the nipple and swallowing milk.
17Post Foaling – The Foal: When to call the vet If the foal has slow, labored breathing or seems unresponsive within 2 minutes of birth.If foal cannot stand within 2 hours, seems to struggle to stand to the point of exhaustion/injury, or does not try to stand within 30 minutes.If the foal fails to nurse within 2-4 hours after birthIf the umbilical cord breaks closer than 2 inches from the abdomen, or excessive bleeding is present.If urine is dribbling from the umbilicusIf the foal has excessively crooked, bent, or floppy legs, neck, or face.
18Post Foaling – The Foal: When to call the vet (cont.) If the foal has not passed any manure within 6 hours, or if the foal appears to be straining to defecate/urinate.Enemas can be safely administered by the owner, but enemas containing phosphate (Fleet® enema) should only be used ONCE.If the foal shows signs of colic (rolling, laying on back).If the foal acts sluggish, weak, or disoriented.Foals can deteriorate rapidly and some conditions may not appear until several hours after birth!Warm water and lubricating jelly (like KY) or a very mild soap (like original strength Dawn or original Ivory) makes a very safe enema. If a fleet enema is used, the bottle can be refilled with a milder enema for repeat doses.
19POST FOALING EXAMIf mare and foal are doing fine, they should be examined hours post foalingAntibodies from colostrum will not show up in the foal’s blood until hours after nursing.If there were any complications or concerns, sooner is better than later.A few hours can mean the difference between life and death in treating certain conditions.Exam may include:IgG and other blood tests for foalsVaginal. rectal, and udder exam for mare.Umbilical, oral ( for cleft palate), genital, and eye exam (for cataracts, eye deformities, etc.) for foal.Evaluation of legs and joints for appropriate development.Radiographs may be needed
20FOALING KIT Vet’s phone number, and a back-up number if possible A watch or stopwatch to accurately time progression of laborA polo bandage, or other tail wrapA sharp, clean knife to cut fetal membranes if they do not rupture on their own
21POST FOALING KITTurkey baster or foal-sized suction device to help clear airways in an emergencyClean string or clamp for umbilicus in case of excessive bleedingFoal enema (Fleet enema, warm water and lubricating jelly, or slightly soapy warm water)Dilute chlorhexidine or iodine for dipping navela small Dixie cup or spray bottle works well to apply the solutionTowels to help dry the foal if temperatures are excessively coldPeople sweatshirts can be used as quick blankets