Thursday, March 05, 2009

NEED AN ANSWER about FOALING from anyone who knows!

Today I was working in the barn from about 2 - 4, trying to get Kings feet picked and some meds. Poor guy is really limping badly still and I hate to see him in pain. I couldn't get him out of his lot into the barn, so I put Jack in the barn and we worked on his sore foot. He is too sore to let me pick any of the other hooves...he just cant place pressure on the bad one. I'm still very worried even if our friend who is an accomplished horseman tells me its just a really bruised frog and should be better in a few days. I'm really worried...BUT ANYHOO!
I came out of the barn to feed Georgia and noticed a white/red/brown stringy discharge on her rump and tail. We got a better look and its not poo like I thought at first! I read a book at the local TSC today when I went to pick up meds for Kings foot, and chicken and rabbit stuff, about mares foaling, and they never mentioned anything at all about my question is - is this normal? IF so..I say we should have a baby within the next 24 hours...if not...well...lets just start with that question first! Gonna call our friend who came out to look at King and see what he thinks...I'm still crossing my fingers that the baby waits until Leah gets home tomorrow after school!!!!
I'll update later tonight!


  1. Sounds like she is going to deliver soon. Here is what I found on

    At the end of Stage I, the mare's "water breaks," releasing the amniotic fluid, which appears straw colored and begins Stage II labor. If someone is present, the mare's tail should be wrapped and her vulva cleaned with warm water and soap (liquid soap or betadine).

  2. Sorry this is going to be long>
    Stage 1 Potential Problems:

    Your late-term mare seems to be going into Stage I labor, although she hasn't really shown any other signs of impending parturition. She remains uncomfortable for several hours with rolling and pawing. Have the mare examined by your veterinarian. Late-term pregnant mares can develop a uterine torsion (twisting of the uterus), and it must be corrected. Some of these can be corrected without surgery, by rolling the mare while anesthetized, but others require surgery.

    Your mare has been "waxing" for several days, then late one night, goes into Stage I labor. Your whole family comes out to watch, but she never progresses to Stage II. Call you veterinarian and have the mare examined to check for problems with her reproductive tract and/or placenta. However, she may have just gotten nervous from the crowd.

    Your mare has had a vulvar discharge for several days, then goes into labor. As her "water breaks," the fluid is cloudy and has a terrible odor. Have your veterinarian summoned to check the mare and placenta to rule out infection of the placenta (placentitis), which could put the foal at risk of infection. Any pregnant mare with a suspicious vulvar discharge should be examined to rule out infection of the placenta or reproductive tract, so that if necessary, treatment can be started immediately.
    During Stage II, active contractions will begin within a few minutes and the mare will begin actively straining. During this stage of labor, the foal will be delivered. Time is of the essence, so keep track of time from when the water breaks! The mare's contractions are very forceful, and the foal must be delivered within 30-40 minutes or is in danger of dying. The mare might get up during this stage of labor once or twice, but usually is lying on her side (lateral recumbency) to push.

    The amniotic sac will protrude first from the vulva as the contractions begin. The foal should present with its front feet, soles pointing down, covered in the amniotic sac, which is milky white. The front legs are usually presented one ahead of the other. As the contractions continue, the head should be visible with the chin resting on the front legs. After the front legs and head are visible, she will really begin to push and the shoulders followed by the torso of the foal will be delivered, then the hips and hind legs. The amnion usually ruptures when the shoulders are delivered.

    Now, the mare should be resting and the foal completely delivered. If the amnion around the foal was not ruptured during birth, you should gently open the sac and remove the membranes from around the foal's nose and muzzle. If the membranes were ruptured during foaling, the foal should be breathing comfortably and should begin to struggle to get into sternal recumbency within a few minutes of birth. If the mare and foal are both resting comfortably and quietly, they should be left undisturbed. Leaving the umbilical cord attached at this point can allow a substantial amount of blood to be transferred from the placenta to the foal. The mare will break the cord when she stands.

    If at any time the delivery does not appear to be proceeding as normal, or more than 10 minutes passes with the mare straining and no sign of front feet or nose, notify your veterinarian immediately.

    Stage 2 Potential Problems:

    The mare is in labor (lying down and straining), but the mare's water never breaks. Instead of the milky white amnion presenting first, a red velvety membrane protrudes or "red bag" delivery. This is a serious emergency as the foal is being deprived of oxygen, due to premature separation of the placenta, since the chorioallantois has failed to rupture. The red bag (chorioallantois) needs to be ruptured and the foal delivered as soon as possible. Call your veterinarian immediately.

    The delivery is proceeding as normal, but the foal is noticed to have (a) its soles in an up position, (b) more than two feet are noticed, (c) its front feet presented without a nose, or (d) too much time has passed without the feet being seen, a dystocia (difficult birth) is occurring and the mare will need help to deliver the foal. If taught by your veterinarian ahead of time, you can place a sterile sleeve and lube on your arm and check the mare for correct position of the foal, if the foal is in an incorrect position, your veterinarian should be summoned immediately.

    Once the foal is delivered, the mare jumps to her feet and breaks the umbilical cord prematurely, and blood is gushing from the foal's umbilical stump. Call your veterinarian immediately, and in the meantime, tie a knot around the remaining umbilical stump, using umbilical tape to stop the flow of blood. If the mare is restless or nervous after birth and will not lie still and you are concerned the umbilical cord will break prematurely, or does not break after 20 minutes or so, you can manually break it with your hands. There is a natural "break point" about one inch from the foal's abdomen, where the cord becomes thinner. The cord should be grasped above and below the breaking point, then twist and pull to break it. Care must be taken NOT to pull too hard in order to avoid exerting tension on the foal's abdominal wall. The cord should not be cut as this is more likely to result in excessive bleeding.
    During Stage III, the placenta is passed and the uterus will begin to return to normal size (involute). The placenta should be tied to itself with umbilical tape or twine to keep it from being stepped on and becoming entangled on the mare's hind legs. Once the placenta has been passed, remove it from the stall or paddock and place in a bucket for your veterinarian to examine later. Your veterinarian can examine the placenta and determine if all of it has been passed and also determine if there is any evidence of placentitis (infection within the placenta), which can put your foal at risk of becoming sick. The placenta is usually passed within 30 minutes of parturition, and should be passed within three hours. As the uterus is involuting, the mare might show signs of mild colic.

    Stage 3 Potential Problems:

    If the placenta has not been expelled within three hours of foaling, your veterinarian should be called. A retained placenta left untreated can lead to infection within the uterus (metritis) and subsequent laminitis (founder), so treatment should be prompt.

    Mild signs of colic become more severe and the mare loses interest in the foal. Your veterinarian should be called to evaluate your mare, as serious problems could have occurred, such as a uterine tear or uterine artery rupture, which leads to severe blood loss, shock, and sometimes death.
    Now that the foal is delivered and starting to move about, the mare and foal should be left alone to bond. The mare will nicker and nuzzle the foal and begin to lick the foal all over. The foal should show a suckle reflex (sticking out tongue and making sucking noises) within 20-30 minutes of birth. The foal also will begin to make attempts to stand, taking several spills in the process. The foal should be able to stand within one hour of birth. Although at first the foal will suckle everything but the mare's nipple, the foal should be nursing from the mare within two hours after birth. The foal's umbilical stump should be dipped in dilute (0.1-1.0%) povidone iodine or chlorahexadine (0.5%) solution 2-3 times a day for 3-4 days. The harsher iodine solutions or tinctures, such as Lugol's (5%), have actually been shown in some cases to lead to infection because they are extremely irritating and cause tissue death.

    Post-Foaling Potential Problems:

    The foal does not stand and nurse by three hours, or stands but shows no suckle reflex and/or little interest in the mare. Your veterinarian should be called to examine the foal and check for musculo-skeletal problems such as contracted tendons that might prevent the foal from standing. Also, "dummy foals," or foals suffering from neonatal maladjustment syndrome, might not be able to stand, or can stand, but wander the stall with little interest in the mare. They will not have a suckle reflex, must be administered colostrum, and might need intensive care. You can check for a suckle reflex by placing clean fingers within the foal's mouth. This should stimulate them to suck on your fingers.

    Foals must receive colostrum, the "first milk," within six to eight hours of birth as their gastrointestinal tract can only absorb the immunoglobulins (antibodies) present within the colostrum during this window of time. The colostrum is what gives the foal its immune status as foals are born with virtually no ability to fight off infection other than the antibodies they absorb from the colostrum. Foals also need the colostrum as nutrition to prevent hypoglycemia. Foals have little or no fat stores at birth and need frequent meals. Several hours without colostrum or milk can leave a newborn foal very weak and unable to stand.
    This article was intended to serve only as a guideline for foaling. There is no substitute for pre-foaling examinations by your veterinarian. You should formulate a plan with your veterinarian to know when and how he/she can be reached when the moment arrives, and make sure you have all available numbers at which your veterinarian can be reached. Furthermore, both mare and foal should be examined by your veterinarian in the immediate post-foaling period to check the overall health of the mare and examine for any congenital deformities in the foal.

  3. Rae Peggy is quite right. My mares always showed this before labour. She's given you some good information there. Just keep an eye and don't fret too much. Georgia sounds like she's been ready for the last few days now things are starting to get going. I'll keep an eye on your blog to see how you're getting along. If you're really worried call out the vet would be my best advice.

    Take care and hang in there everything will be just fine

    Love and hugs

  4. OMG! Peggy THANKS! What wonderful and invaluable info! I think i am prepared! LOL WHATEVER sometimes we can think we are prepared then something happens and we forget the little things! LOL Thanks a bunch LIZ! I'll let ya'll know when it happens!


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