Free foaling guide helps horse owners through breeding journey

The online foaling tool shows the size of the fetus as the pregnancy progresses.
The online foaling tool shows the size of the fetus as the pregnancy progresses. © Equine Guelph

A free online tool is using videos and other guides to help horse owners through the foaling process to ensure a safe arrival.

In Equine Guelph’s new “Mare & Foal Care Tool” Ontario Veterinary College equine reproductive specialist Tracey Chenier provides important advice to prepare owners for the expected and unexpected.

“Mare owners should know the signs that predict foaling is close, and what normal foaling looks like,” Chenier says. “That way you can be there when your mare is foaling to be sure everything is going well.”

The first video outlining the predictive signs of foaling, includes physical changes to watch for in the last few weeks and days leading up to the delivery. Guidelines on milk testing are also discussed as it pertains to predicting when the foal will arrive.

The second video shows a normal delivery of a foal and goes over situations that require veterinary intervention. Chenier guides you through the video of a mare going through the three stages of labour: contractions, expelling the foal, and expelling the placenta.

Did you know that the mare’s contractions typically last 1-2 hours but can last up to 6, and once the water breaks the foal is usually delivered within 10 to 20 minutes?

The placenta is expelled within 1 to 3 hours after foaling.

File image.

Even if a veterinarian was not present at delivery, they should check the mare and foal within a day of foaling, Chenier explains. “This is to ensure the mare has not suffered any complications, and that the foal is healthy and has received enough colostrum.”

The free online tool also includes a foaling checklist poster, and mare and foal checklists that go through the needs of both, before, during and after pregnancy. There is even a “Pregnancy Wheel” where you can punch in the conception date and then go through the interactive module following the journey of how the foal develops and what is needed at each stage of development.

The Mare & Foal Care Tool was designed and developed in partnership with PFERA, an equine reproductive biotechnology company, as a resource for horse owners and breeders.

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