Advice Column 2005
The Advice Column contains a tremendous amount of information. However, it doesn't come even close to the information contained in the "Complete Foaling Manual." I assure you that if you like the column, you will love the book. And one of the great advantages to the book is having all that information at your fingertips right outside the mare's stall. For easy ordering, just click on the "Order Manual" link at the left. Don't foget to contribute to the column by clicking on "Submit Question." I would love to hear from you!
Thanks much, Theresa
Submitted January 20, 2005 by Nina
My dad's 5 year old maiden mare is 12 weeks out from her expected foaling date and she has bagged up and her vulva is really swollen...I know that this is too soon for her to have her colt, and the vet has checked her and everything looks fine. The only thing he thinks that she may be experiencing is a hormone imbalance. Her bag has decreased somewhat this morning, and I hope that she isn't trying to abort??
Many times when a mare bags up early like this it can be a sign of placentitis, which is an infection or inflammation in the placenta. If this is the case, the mare will most likely abort. Check with your vet again to see if it might be good to put the mare on a course of antibiotics. If she has placentitis and the antibiotics work, you should see her udder go down within a few days. If she doesn't have placentitis, the antibiotics are unlikely to hurt anything. My feeling is that it is better to be safe than sorry.
Please let me know what your vet says and how the mare does.
Follow up on January 24 by Nina:
Hi Ms. Jones. We had the mare looked at again, and the vet put her on Pentoxifylline, 400 mg, Tucotrim, 6 tablets, 2x/day, and Banamine, min. dose for 500 lb. horse, 1x/day...(she is an 1100 lb. horse)....her bag went down right away and she was feeling better by Friday evening. Unfortunately, she aborted her colt early Sunday morning...the placenta hadn't separated and looked fine, and the colt was not disfigured, and all looked fine there also....so God only knows what may have happened....thank you for your help.
Submitted by Karen on January 20, 2005:
Just to update you, my TB maiden mare is at 270 days ... and holding after 2 rounds of SMZ & Regumate (Placentitis) back in November. She still has clear amber fluid in her udders that can be expressed, but it is not dripping like it had been. The vet had me milking her out for 5 days a while back to check for mastitis because she has edema in or under her udder, but there was no infection found, and the amber dripping stopped immediately as the amount I was able to express diminished. I never milk her out now, but there has been some fluid in her udder all along, (it is not colostrum or milk, per vet). Isn't it normal, even this early for SOME fluid to be present and to drip when she lays down and puts pressure on her udder? I think she is doing fine and that it is just fluid from the edema getting through, but I don't want to neglect this pregnancy after all we've been through. She is due to get her prenatal shots on Feb. 15th, but I will have the vet out sooner than that if necessary. As time gets closer, I get more and more neurotic! Thanks, and May all your foals be perfect this season, P.S. I have quite a few books now on breeding/foaling, but I have to say that yours is by far my favorite. I feel very prepared to handle this foaling. Congrats on the success of your book!
It isn't normal for a mare to have any expressible fluid at this point in pregnancy. I suppose hers is from what went on before and just never went away entirely, although I have seen ones whose udders went back down to absolutely nothing. As long as it's just holding, though, that's most likely fine. Thanks much for your kind words about the book. I'm really humbled and happy that it seems to help as much as it does.
Stay in touch!
Submitted by Ken on January 21, 2005:
when should i wean my colt mare is not doing great he is six months old now and eating great
will it hurt his growth if i wean to early please help
Your colt is more than old enough to wean. If the mare is not doing well, I would suggest weaning the colt as soon as possible. It certainly won't hurt his growth to wean him now.
I hope this helps.
Submitted by Kristen in New Jersey on January 22, 2005:
I had bought a Quarter Horse mare in August. She is about 14 years old, but she was not papered so we were not sure. Last month I was riding her and I saw her stomach move. I called a vet out and the vet had told us that our mare was pregnant. The vet said that she may be due in March or April. Lately she has developed an utter, and her ankles have been swelling up. Do you think that she is due sooner than the vet expected?
Most mares begin udder development four to six weeks before foaling so, yes, I would say that your mare may foal earlier than the vet's estimate. It's sometimes really difficult to determine how far along a mare is, so don't hold it against your vet. Just keep a close watch on the mare for more changes as she gets closer.
Let me know how she does.
Submitted by Mandy in Illinois on January 22, 2005:
I have a mare that is due 02-09-05, she will be delivering an NI(neonatal Isoerythrolosis foal). I have some supplemental colostrum on hand and milk replacer to give the first 48 hours of life. I have never handled thawing colostrum or bottle feeding a foal. Can you offer me some advice on proper thawing techniques and proper way to bottle feed this foal. I have a muzzle to keep foal from nursing dam. Thanks for your help.
Colostrum should be thawed in less-than-body temperature, lukewarm water. It will take it awhile to thaw, but that's okay. If you get it too warm, the antibodies in the colostrum will be destroyed and then it will be of no value to the foal. It's better to give the foal colostrum that is a little on the cool side than to risk destroying the antibodies.
Foal's do best with a sheep nipple, but a healthy, hungry foal will nurse from just about any bottle. If you use a regular baby bottle, make the hole in the nipple bigger. You shouldn't have any problem getting the foal to take a bottle. They are usually very eager to cooperate as long as they haven't nursed from mom and had "the real thing."
If you have any problems after the foal is born, please let me know. I'll help if I can.
Submitted by Vanessa from New Zealand on January 23, 2005:
Just a short question. I have recently bred my girl Brandy to a Sporthorse Stallion and we are expecting our first foal (both of us that is). My question is this, is it usual for the behaviour of mares to change. Brandy has always been a real girl, but recently she has been striking out with her front feet at other mares (that she knows and usually gets on with) and standing with her ears back, generally being a grump. She is only be 61 days pregnant. On the other hand she has her buddy Sparky (gelding) with her and she has no problems with him. Any help would be appreciated as I was not expecting her to be so touchy.
It isn't uncommon for some mares to show this kind of behavior when pregnant. Most get more laid back, but a few get more aggressive. The good news is that it most likely doesn't mean anything is wrong. Hopefully, she will adjust and settle down.
Let me know how she does.
Submitted by Rachelle in the USA on January 24, 2005:
I have a couple of questions for you:) I have a monitor that runs through my TV so I can watch my mare whenever I want. Well, sometimes when she sleeps she will hang her head and start to sway just a bit. Then, it looks like she's just about to go into a deep, restful sleep and a front leg will give way and she immediately wakes up and catches her balance. One time she did this several times then finally laid down but was clearly uncomfortable. She just got up real quick. Is this normal? I guess they have so much extra weight that they aren't used to it? Do they take a lot of cat naps because they're so uncomfortable?
Next question- She is showing all the normal signs that foaling is near but it just never seems to get here. LOL! I have been checking the color of the milk and yesterday is was still a clearish color with a yellow tint. Tonight it is a clearer color not quite white though(I can't see yellow anymore). Is this opaque white? And does this mean it will soon turn white and then she will foal? Or does it sometimes stay this color until foaling? When it is opaque how long until they usually foal? Also, she has two large bag things in front of her teats. They are along the belly and are big. Is this area full of milk also? Are the milk veins the large veins that run up the inside of her thighs close to the teats? Thank you sooooo much you are a blessing. I feel bad for writing so much but I wouldn't want the information from anyone but you. You ROCK!! :) With Great Admiration, Rachelle P.S Do they act normal before they come into prelabor? I'm wondering if they feel it coming in advance. She is just sleeping away.....should I need to watch her so closely when she is acting so quiet?
Your mare falling asleep on her feet is absolutely normal. I have seen them actually fall all the way down. It's pretty scary to see a mare fall down hard on that big belly. They do this because it is uncomfortable for them to lie down with all that baby in there, so they try to sleep standing. Sometimes they sleep a little too soundly and their legs crumple. They aren't really taking catnaps, just trying to get some rest. When they aren't pregnant, they would normally just lie down.
The milk usually turns more yellow before it turns white. It's very difficult to tell from opaque when they will foal. The change to white can take place very quickly--within hours or less. And, as you suggested, once in a while it doesn't turn white until after they foal. So, color isn't always a good indicator. If it does turn to white, she should foal anytime within a couple of days. The swelling in front of the mare's udder and on her belly are the milk veins.
Most mares will show some behavior changes in the first stage of labor. However, a few won't so I never trust a mare alone that is showing the signs yours is when they are as close as she is to her due date. I spend a lot of time watching mares that I don't think will foal, but can't be sure. Things can change very quickly. I have seen them go from sound asleep to foaling in less than an hour too many times. Most don't do that, but you just never know. I would rather lose sleep watching and have nothing happen than to sleep and miss one, especially if there is a problem.
Let me know how she does!
Submitted by Karen in the USA on January 24, 2005:
Here I am again with a question. Checking my other mares, one due Feb 24th,maiden, not making bag, not really concerned. The other bred twice, firsttime put her due date around the 10th of Feb, was ultrasounded, vet said not
pregnant, bred again, this will be her 4th foal, she would be due March 11thfrom the second breeding, vet ultrasounded said 40 days from secondbreeding. She is already bagging, one side started, is firm, not thinking
mastitis as it is not rock hard and not at all hot and she is not sore, other side is flabby and larger. I hate to second guess my vet, but I seriously think he missed it the first time around, I know you can't see or touch the mare, but
do you think I should have him check her? The maiden is in the foaling stall. Wondering if I should switch them around.......
Hmm. I guess time will tell if the vet missed a pregnancy on the first breeding. I kind of doubt it, though. It could be that the mare is just going to foal a little early from the second breeding. If she makes quick progress, then I would switch her to the foaling stall. Since she has had foals before, she may just show more earlier than the maiden mare. Oh, you're going to have fun juggling them! :-)
Keep me updated!
Submitted by Ramona in Michigan on January 25, 2005:
I have a 8yr old Arab mare who is due to foal March 1st. She bagged up early but this is her 3rd pregnancy so I didnt worry. On Jan 10 I noticed she had waxed up so I had a breeder friend come out to confirm. She is displaying all the signs of impending foaling, tail rubbing, biting her belly and straining,soft around the tail and flanks,pointy belly, agressive toward her pasture mate,etc. She has been like this for a week now. I have a camera monitor in the barn so she is monitored constantly and I alerted our vet as to her condition. My concern is that we are just now at day 300.(She was only bred one time so I am very certain of the dates)I know that all I can do is wait but could you please give me some info on premature foals and what to possibly expect? Thanks so much!
If the foal is born now, its chance for survival is very iffy. The best advice I can give is to talk to your vet about possibly putting the mare on antibiotics. If she is wanting to deliver early because of placentitis, the antibiotics may stop the process and save the foal. However, this has gone on for long enough that the antibiotics may not help. It would certainly be worth a try, though. If the foal is born this early and is viable, you will most likely need a lot of help from your vet to support the foal. I will leave it to him/her to explain all of that to you. It will depend on the foal's condition and there is way too much to talk about without knowing the exact condition of the foal.
Please let me know how everything goes.
Follow up by Ramona on January 25, 2005:
Just wanted to say thanks for getting back to me so quickly! I called my vet and he came out to see her this afternoon. We will continue to monitor her as there are no signs of infection. He thinks she will hang on for 10-14 days but will be stopping out every couple days to see her. Thanks again for advising me to call my vet for this.( I am much calmer for it!) I will let you know how it goes......!
I would urge you to consider asking your vet to try a course of antibiotics. There is rarely any sign of infection with placentitis until it is too late. I'm not trying to frighten you, but a course of antibiotics is unlikely to cause any harm and may make all the difference in the world to the foal.
Submitted by Sharn in Georgia on January 25, 2005:
Hi, we have a very pregnant mare that looks like she should foal anytime. Her bag is heavy and her backside is floppy. She is absolutly huge. (we have recently had a mare foaling who was no where near this ones size.) She layed down most of yesterday and today we have noticed that the bottom of her belly looks like she has a huge tire inside, yet if you look at her from her back end on, she has a indented line seperating this "tire" in two. As she is a second time Mom, we havent rushed to call the vet. She looks uncomfortable, but not in pain. Have you come accross this kind of shape before in pregnant mares? It really looks like a tire. Your help is really appreciated.
What you described sounds like milk veins. If that's the case, it is normal and will go away after the mare foals. As long as it doesn't seem to be bothering her, I wouldn't worry about it.
Let me know how she does.
Submitted by Judy in Texas on January 26, 2005:
I have raised foals for over thirty years. This month, however, we had a filly born that we don't know quite how to handle. We did manage to "imprint her" at birth, but from the moment she was born she pinned her ears and made biting movements with her mouth. She kicks and rears at us with her ears pinned. This behavior seems to be mainly occurring in the stall. When we turn her out, I can rub her when she is laying down and she will come and "inspect" me with a normal ear set. How do we manage this filly so she will not be dangerous in a stall?
Oh, boy. You got one of "those!" Every once in awhile, it seems that a foal is just born nasty. Since this one is good outside, she will most likely come around with time. And since you have raised foals for thirty years, I doubt that there is anything I can tell you about handling foals. You obviously know that you can't let her think she is the boss in the stall. I wouldn't be a bit opposed to strong discipline when she shows this behavior. It wouldn't seem that she is afraid of you since she shows normal behavior outside, so I think making sure she has some respect would be good.
Sorry I couldn't be more helpful and please let me know how she progresses. Maybe you can figure something out that I can pass on to someone else.
Follow up by Judy on January 26, 2005:
Thanks so much for the advice. We have already started with the correcting in the stall etc. I will keep you posted as to how she turns out. I also wanted to tell you that I have your foaling manual and even after all these years it has come to be an asset at foaling time because strange things sometimes happen! Once again thanks.
You're very welcome and thanks so much for your kind words about the book! It really means a lot coming from someone with so much experience.
Please do keep in touch.
Submitted by Cindy in California on January 26, 2005:
I have a 7 yr old maiden mare that is 333 days . when I touched her flanks the other day she reared screached and tryed to kick me. (this is a first)she holds her tail up constantly and looks mad some of the time. Today I noticed she had a bloody crust all over her vulva. no bag, no waxing .Do you think I should start sleeping in the barn? my horses are 40 min. away and I have to be selective as far as how many days I can stay away from home.I have a husband and children. I want to be there for her in case something goes wrong .thanks for such a great column I have learned so much.
I always feel sorry for poor maiden mares because they don't understand what's happening to them. At 333 days and with this show of a little blood, I would definitely consider staying with the mare since some maidens won't get full udder development until the last minute. It's a hard call when you are so far away. Just watch her closely for any more physical or behavioral changes. If anything more changes, it would be best to stay with her.
Please let me know how she does.
Follow up by Cindy on January 30, 2005:
I'm sorry but it is me again. I am sure I�m becoming quite a pain! but here it goes. Today at 3:30 I found my mare laying down. She was laying with her head up ,eyes closed and breathing kinda hard. she would then lay flat, head down and stretched and then head back up. then flat again and back and forth about 10 times in a half hour. Finally she got up and began to bite at her side and then was pawing the bare ground and then walked over to the pile of hay and started pawing at it. there was 4 of us there and she seemed unconcerned almost like she was sedated. .she is now just standing there doing nothing. does this sound like labor? Also she is 337 days and has developed a back over the last few days. this will be her first baby. thank you for such a great column.
You aren't being a pain at all!
No that doesn't sound like labor. It sounds like she was trying to rest and was too uncomfortable. Maiden mares don't understand the discomfort they are feeling and can sometimes be dramatic about it. I hope she doesn't make you wait too much longer!
Let me know!
Submitted by Karen in the USA on January 27, 2005:
I went out to feed this am and I noticed that Polly had been sweating overnight across her withers. I first thought she had laid in something wet, but it was even over both sides and it was already dry. It rained yesterday and it is somewhat moist out for AZ, but it is cool outside. She does sweat before the others, always has. She still has quite a bit further to go, due about Apr 1, so is this a sign that a maiden might have for some time due to weather or discomfort? Everything else looked normal, ready to eat, not soft in the rear, etc. She does rub a lot, not worms. Do you think I need to call my vet or is this the "beginning" (hopefully no less than 6 weeks to go)? (See history below) Thanks again.
History: Just to update you, my TB maiden mare is at 270 day and holding after 2 rounds of SMZ & Regumate (placentitis) back in November. She still has clear amber fluid in her udders that can be expressed, but it is not dripping like it had been. The vet had me milking her out for 5 days awhile back to check for mastitis because she has edema in or under her udder, but there was no infection found, and the amber dripping stopped immediately as the amount I was able to express diminished. I never milk her out now, but there has been some fluid in her udder all along, (it is not colostrum or milk, per vet). Isn't it normal, even this early for SOME fluid to be present and to drip when she lays down and puts pressure on her udder? I think she is doing fine and that it is just fluid from the edema getting through, but I don't want to neglect this pregnancy after all we've been through. she is due to get her prenatal shots on Feb. 15, but I will have the vet out sooner than that if necessary. As time gets closer, I get more and more neurotic! Thanks, and may all your foals be perfect this season.
I would normally say that the sweating is probably one of those maiden mare discomfort things but, with your mare's history, if you notice anything else at all, I would call the vet right away and maybe consider another round of antibiotics. The rubbing doesn't really concern me unless it is accompanied by other changes (pacing, pawing, etc.). I'll keep my fingers crossed that the foal's position was just causing her some discomfort and nothing else happens. I would expect that to be the case.
Let me know!
Submitted by Suzanne in Virginia on January 27, 2005:
I e-mailed you a couple of weeks ago concerning a maiden mare that had been bagged up since 300 days. She started with a discharge the color of strawberry jam so we had our vet out. She has a vaginitis with a culture which has come back strep and is not sensitive to SMZ's which is what the mare had been started on 5 days ago. So we are going the Procaine Pen route IM of course. I get the sense that our vet if fairly concerned however he is not expressing those concerns to me. She is not running a fever, has a voracious appetite, is carrying a full bag which has been consistent in fullness for two days and has a very prominent tailhead and long vulva. We are starting our round the clock watch tonight. How do you think things will go with the foaling with her current situation and infection? Thanks in advance for your help.
I think the foaling itself most likely shouldn't be affected by the situation. My concern would be her foaling too early. I can't remember how far along she is at this point, but I hope she is in a safe range--after 320 days. She may need treatment after she foals as well. The foal may also. Getting the penicillin into her can't do anything but make things better.
I will be keeping my fingers crossed that all goes well. Please let me know!
Follow up by Suzanne on January 27, 2005:
Thank you for your words of encouragement. She is 330 days today. Hopefully all will go well and she will make it past the 7 day course of antibiotics and have a couple of days for her muscles to recoup before she foals.
That she is 330 day is a huge relief! I expect that all will be fine. Even making it through two or three days of antibiotics would help a lot.
Let me know!
Follow up by Suzanne in Virginia on February 10, 2005:
Our first foal of the year was born last night at 2:28 a.m. This is the mare we discussed that had vaginitis. All went well with a little help from us. Mare and foal are doing well. Thank you for your help and answering my questions!
I'm so glad every thing went well and thanks so much for letting me know.
Submitted by Chel in Cornwall, England on January 28, 2005:
I bought a filly in November which was 5 months old from an auction, I did see that she had a small umbilical hernia. She is now coming up to 8 months - I have looked up her problem on the internet and in general the thought is that it will go when she is a yearling, however time is getting closer and I am still waiting for the vet to be able to come and check her. Do you think this is possible that it will go on its own? She doesn't appear to have any problems with it. What do you think?
As long as the hernia is small (less than the width of about three fingers), it will likely close on its own. In the meantime until the vet checks it, I wouldn't worry about it.
I hope this helps.
Follow up by Chel on January 28, 2005:
Thank you very much for setting my mind at rest, most kind. I keep an eye on the hernia and it is only about 2 fingers width.
You're very welcome. A hernia of that size should close up fine, or at worst shouldn't cause her any problems.
Submitted by Leslie in Missouri on January 29, 2005:
Theresa, I contacted you about a month ago about a mare we acquired in October. She was u/s and palpated in October and the vet said she wasn't pregnant. We had blood work taken for the estrone sulfate test but the vet held the bloodwork for a week and then finally tested after 11 days. It came back negative. This mare was exposed to yearling colts from June-September and was witnessed covered in July/August by a mature stallion. The previous owner didn't think she was pregnant as she cycled up to October when we got her. Since owning her, her behavior has been Dr. Jekyll Mr. Hyde, her belly has grown considerably, she stays a certain distance from the rest of the horses and she doesn't exert a lot of energy. Feeling like she is pregnant, I went ahead and gave her the Prodigy vaccine a few days ago. Today, both my husband and I could feel the foal kick/move. That was fun and exciting! Question 1) how in the world can we estimate a due date? 2) our pastures contain fescue, at what point do we take her off the pasture? 3) what's the best hay to feed? Looking forward to hearing from you.
Well, I guess congratulations are in order after all! I would calculate the due date based on when the mare was with the mature stallion. The fertility of yearlings can be iffy, so I wouldn't count on them unless, of course, the mare starts showing signs earlier than you would expect if she got in foal by the mature stallion. Fescue is only a problem if it is contaminated by a certain endophyte. Most fescue is okay. If you're worried about it, you need to take her off for a couple of months. The best hay to feed depends on the mare. If she's an easy keeper, I would go with timothy or another grass hay. If she's a harder keeper, I would go with a timothy/alfalfa mix.
Let me know how things go!
Follow up by Leslie on January 29, 2005:
Thank you for replying. This mare is a very easy keeper and isn't fed any grain. Do you recommend grain of any type for the duration of her pregnancy? The picture attached was taken of her the first of October. Really excited. Sincerely appreciate.
Note: The attached picture showed the mare eating from a round bale.
Do not, I repeat, do not feed this mare from a round bale. The reason is that round bales can sometimes get a bit of mold that will cause a mare to abort in a heartbeat. I would probably keep a watch on the mare's weight to see if she needs any grain. If she looks like she's dropping body weight at all, then I would add some. I have to admit that nutrition isn't my strong point. I knew what to feed the mares that I took care of, but hesitate to give too much advice about feeding mares that I don't know. I can direct you to someone who does know, though. Dr. Juliet Getty is an expert in equine nutrition. Her website is: www.gettyequinenutrion.com
Let me know how everything goes.
Follow up by Leslie on January 29, 2005:
Theresa, We feed square bales (picture was taken at previous owner's), but I am glad you mentioned it as we were going to put out a round bale for when we go out of town on a scheduled business trip. I had mentioned to my husband that I was thinking we shouldn't put out the round bale in the event she was pregnant. Your confirmation helps, thanks! What do you recommend for fencing? We have the 1 1/2" electric tape by Safe-Fence. It held our Haflinger and foal but I was a nervous wreck hoping the baby didn't go under. I am home the majority of the time but as you know, train wrecks can happen instantly.I just reread the former owner's note about her exposure and she was turned out with three mature stallions anywhere from June-September and the percheron yearling colt from June-September. Is there a certain timeframe that we can feel the fetus kick? I'm guessing she is about 6-7 months pregnant and she began to show mid December. It's exciting to have a baby on the way but the part I have problem with, is the foal is an unknown bred to an unknown. The humane society picked up 130+ horses recently from a farm and already had 50 on their property with another 25 or so to be picked up elsewhere.
I would be a little concerned about the foal rolling under the fencing, too, but chances are what you have will be fine. If you could run a strip low to the ground, that would help, but I know that can get expensive. Guessing how far along a mare is by foal movement is very iffy since this can vary a great deal from mare to mare and even pregnancy to pregnancy in the same mare. But if you felt the foal, then I would say chances are good that she got pregnant pretty soon after she was with the stallions. It would be best to count on that and then just watch for the physical changes that say she is getting close.
Keep me updated!
Submitted by Jaime in Indiana on January 29, 2005:
I was wondering at what month can I start to feel for my foal's "kick" or move inside my mare? Also, where on her belly should I be feeling? She is almost at 10 months. Thank you.
When you can feel the foal move varies a lot from mare to mare and even from pregnancy to pregnancy in the same mare. Try feeling her belly right in front of the stifle. The best time to try is when the mare is eating. For some reason, the mare eating lots of times seems to make the foal get active.
Let me know if you feel it!
Follow up by Jaime on January 30, 2005:
I felt the baby! Thank you so much! How cool! I am so excited about my mare's foal. This is her first and the first foal at our farm. We have had horses for over 10 years and yet never had a baby. I can't wait. I bought your book when I bred my mare last year and I have read it twice. I think some parts I have read even more than that! I love it! It has been very helpful! THANK YOU!
Thanks for letting me know. I know what a thrill it is the first time you feel that baby. Thanks for your kind words about the book. I know it will help a lot as your mare gets closer to presenting you with that new baby.
Please keep me updated!
Follow up by Jaime on March 21, 2005:
Hi Theresa, I just wanted to ask you about my mare. She is on day 331 today. This is her first foal. She is a 6 yr old QH. She currently has been out on pasture, but we bedded her down tonight in her foaling stall with straw. Her utter has had pitted edema for about the last 7-8 weeks and has been getting larger. Her nipples have dropped, but they still have a lot of pitting around them and look like they are partly still up into the sack. Tonight I noticed that she had the white grainy deposits around the nipples. I pushed on the sack of the utter to see if it had any milk and some clear/serum thick looking fluid came out. it was a very small amount. It stayed stuck to the end of her nipple. I am assuming this is the start of the waxing. I know it should become more yellow as she gets closer. When I pushed gently on her again a few minutes later nothing came out. On examination she did have her hair on the front inside of both hocks sticky and stuck together. Her ligaments in her hindquarters (around tail) have been loosening for several days and this weekend I noticed that she seemed wobbly. Is it safe to say that she will foal this week? or in a few days? or could it still be a couple of weeks. I know that it is all a big guess. I just wanted your opinion. I am planning on staying with her when she gets close, but I really don't want to be sleeping in the barn a week early. Plus she lives down the road at my parents� farm so the longer I can wait to start watching the better. Thanks again.
From what you described, I would be a little leery of leaving the mare alone. The changes she has to make are so small that they could be made very quickly, especially since she has apparently been dripping fluid on her hocks. If she shows even the smallest behavioral changes, I would definitely stay with her. My theory has always been that I would rather stay with them and have nothing happen than not to stay and have a disaster. As you guessed, it really is impossible for me to say how much longer it will be. From your description, I would be surprised if she lasts for another week.
Let me know how it goes!
Follow up by Jaime on March 25, 2005:
Hi Theresa, I e-mailed you earlier in the week about my 6 year old QH mare. We have been on foal watch. We have seen only slight changes. However, this morning I noticed a definite change in her normally sweet disposition. She seemed very nervous acting and cranky. She also is finally getting a larger bag and both teats now have wax build up. I noticed she had quite a bit of dripping down both legs from the hocks to the hoof. I left her in her foaling stall today since it is really cold up here. She also had diarrhea all over her stall. Is this normal? or should I be concerned? My mom thought that people do this sometimes before giving birth, but I wanted to make sure. I am hoping for the baby this weekend if not tonight. I am off on weekends so it will give me plenty of time to be with her. Thanks again for your help.
Everything sounds normal and like she could have that baby at any minute. Do you have a foal by now?
Let me know!
Follow up Jaime on March 25, 2005:
Unfortunately no foal. I'm hoping that she'll wait until I get off work! I am a teacher and it is really hard to get off school. My husband has been checking on her every 2 hours. His work is a little bit more flexible. I will let you know. He was just out there 1/2 hour ago and said that she was really agitated and restless. I hope she waits for me! I have been planning on being their and been their every night! I'll let you know what she has and how it goes! Thanks.
I hope she waits for you!
Follow up by Jaime on March 25, 2005:
Hi Theresa! You were right! She had the foal around 2:30 today. I did miss it though by about 10 minutes. When I got there she had just gotten up. The foal was still down and soaking wet. We got him dried off and with in an hour he was up. He passed his first feces and has been nursing. My mare was a little nervous with him at first, but she is letting him nurse now. He is so strong. He has been standing and moving around a lot! I thought he would wear out quickly. I am still waiting for my mare to have a bowel movement. She has been eating and drinking too. My vet is suppose to come out tomorrow to do a foal and mare check. Thank you so much for all of your help. I loved your book and learned so much. My foal and mare both are healthy thanks to you! He is a dun just like mom. I still may have a few questions in the future as he grows. Thanks again!!!!
I'm sorry you missed it but so glad everything went well. If you would like, you can send a picture to me and I will post it on my new website. It's easier if you send it to me rather than capturing it off your website.
Thanks for letting me know and congrats again!
Submitted by Dee in Kentucky on January 30, 2005:
I have a friend offering a 22 year old brood mare. All of her offspring have been winners. At this age can I still breed her? And if so how many times? Is it harder to conceive with age? Thanks.
Whether or not you can breed the mare depends on her physical and reproductive condition. Some mares at that age will conceive pretty easily and some won't. The best thing to do before you take the mare is to invest in an exam by an experienced reproductive vet, who should be able to tell you what the mare's chances are of conceiving and then maintaining a pregnancy. A mare of that age, even in good shape, probably won't have many more babies. Remember that breeding a 22-year-old mare would be comparable to asking your grandmother to have a baby.
I hope everything works out.
Submitted by Gemma in Shrewsbury, England on February 1, 2005:
Hi, just a quick question... I�ve got a 8 month old welsh cob colt he�s in at the moment and I�m giving him 2 slabs of hay a day and a hand full of corn in the evening, is this sufficient or is it to much or to little??? I�m also going to put him out at the weekend and will be bringing him in of an evening if i can catch him!!! What should i be feeding him then???
How much hay to feed the colt depends on what kind of hay it is. If it is grass hay, then you should feed him as much as he can eat. If it is a richer hay, then you need to limit the amount he gets. Again, how much would depend on what it is. A handful of corn is okay. What to feed him when you turn him out depends on your pasture. If there is good grass, then he probably only needs some grass hay to munch on when you bring him in. Truly, nutrition isn't my strong point. But I can refer you to an expert. Dr. Juliet Getty deals with nothing but equine nutrition and visiting her website will most likely be of great help to you. Visit her at : www.gettyequinenutrition.com
Enjoy your colt!
Submitted by Patricia in Louisiana on February 2, 2005:
Our mare is expecting her second baby any day now. Her first colt, two years old this month is still with her. We have a small pasture and one area they get in out of the weather, etc. My question is, should we separate them before she has her new baby? He is very gentle, but I don't know if he would hurt the new baby? I know this is probably a stupid question, but even though I love horses, I don't really know very much about them.
The only stupid question is an unasked one! It would be best to separate the two year old before the mare has her new baby. The risk is actually less what he might do and more what Mom might do to protect her new foal. Many new foals have been injured by getting in the way of a protective mother. Since you can't predict how the mare will act toward the two year old after she delivers, it would be safest to separate them now.
Good luck and please let me know how everything goes.
Submitted by Sandy in Washington on February 2, 2005:
Hi, love your site, have followed it for a few years.
I have a 4 1/2yr. old arab, 5 if you go by first of year) this is her first foal... she is due around March 10th-15th. She just started a small bag on the 29th of January, would you say that is about the right time to start up a bag...? She is also starting to crock her tail to the side, but no softening of the croup yet. Took me awhile to get her to really let me check her teats out, she kept kicking a little at me, but persistence paid off, now she has no problem... which is good for the foal... her mom was a great broodmare, do you think that characteristic will follow suit with her..? I know maidens can be unpredictable. I hope to see your site updated soon, thanks for all the wonderful info you give...
Thanks for your kind words about the website. Your mare starting udder development when she did sounds fine. Good for you for persisting in letting you touch her udder. I would expect that she will follow in her mother's footsteps and be a great broodmare as well, starting with the first time that new baby nurses. Most daughters do follow their mother's example. (At least equine daughters :-)
Please let me know how she does.
Follow up by Sandy on February 3, 2005:
Hi Theresa, I took my mare out of the field away from the other mares yesterday, she is about 1 month from her due date.... she is in a 12x24 stall with a turnout paddock, will this cause her to stress more because she is away from them..? I want her to build a closer relationship with me, so I will be her companion a few hours a day, and she can still see and talk to the other mares... I just don't want to stress her out.. but I guess it is best to do this now instead of too close to her delivery huh...? Thanks Sandy
I think it's good that you separated the mare. If she doesn't act stressed, then she's fine. She should be okay as long as she can see her buddies. She should enjoy that nice, big stall!
Keep in touch and let me know how she does.
Submitted by Marcie in Arizona on February 8, 2005:
Hi Theresa! I promised to let you know...Bonnie, the Buckskin mare I wrote you about, with the 6+ week "bagging up", did deliver early, 3 weeks to be sure. 'Cassi' was delivered sometime between 8 and 10 pm on January 31 (due 2/20). 320 days. We weren't present for the birth (although I figured early, thought it'd be another week). She is a sturdy little black filly. Got her daddy's head (baby doll). The placenta was good, but was a little pinker in areas than my vet would've liked with a little hematoma at the unbilical cord. Looked like she was about an hour old on my last of the night check and mom was guiding her back to the udder. Placenta passed as it should and she was an active little girl. Doc said it was probably a good thing we had Bon on SMZ's for that 2 week period although he didn't hazard a guess as to whether it was the mare or the foal who was a little off. As a precaution, Cassi was put on SMZ's for 5 days and after developing a bit of diareha, had a yogurt/banana/baking soda/imodium cocktail this past Sat. As of today - 1 week old, she's off everything as is thriving. Thank you again so much for your help here.
Congratulations Marcie! I'm so happy everything is okay! Also glad that the SMZ's did the trick. Be sure to thank your vet!
Submitted by Bonnie in Florida on February 8, 2005:
I'm a first time expectant mare owner and I think I've sufficiently bugged everyone I know with questions. I still have a few though, and was hoping you could help. I bought a 7yr old AQHA mare on Jan. 1st of this year, who's had 3 healthy foals already. She's due this month with her fourth, but I'm wanting to pinpoint the date a little better. She was bred in March 4, 7, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19. Do I go by the last date she was bred? Or could she have concieved any of the times she was bred? In 2002 she was bred March 16,18,20,and 22. And she foaled on Feb 13th.
Should I assume it's ANY day now?? Also, I just started her on Equidone because apparently the first half of her pregnancy she was grazing on fescue grass. Her previous owner told me she did have problems with milk production with her previous foals. My question regarding this is - she bags up in the morning, but then in the evening, it goes away. Is this normal? We don't have fescue grass in Florida where I have Rita now and my vet hadn't dealt with the problem before. She started doing this even before I started the Equidone on the 4th of Feb. I hope you can help me! Thank you.
You always go by the last breeding date. It is possible that the mare actually conceived on one of the earlier days, but unlikely. The assumption is that they go out of heat when they ovulate, so that's why you count from the last breeding date. Going by her pattern last time, it could be that she will foal a couple of weeks early again. Just watch for more changes. Her udder going up and down in size is absolutely normal and usually means that she has some time to go before delivery. My personal opinion is that the mare doesn't need Equidone. Being on fescue earlier in her pregnancy should have no bearing at the present time since she has been off it for awhile. The fact that she was bagging up before you started the drug also says that she doesn't need it. I don't like giving horses (or people) drugs they don't need and I really see no need for this drug at this time.
Please let me know how Rita does.
Submitted by Cynthia in Florida on February 9, 2005:
Hi Theresa. I wrote you several weeks ago inquiring about the possible mucous plug that we found on my mare's vulva. She was still out at night and so we brought her in to wait for the foaling. She is a huge TB mare and all of her foals have been big. She has consistently foaled in the 330-334 range with all 5 of her foals, so this time I thought she might foal even earlier. We started testing her with the Predict A Foal strips which have always been on target with her....5 quick turning strips and a foal that night. She steadily progressed from a 2 to a 5 four days ago, even though the 5th square is not turning immediately, but within the allotted minute. I have an apartment in my barn and I have been here 12 days...no sleep, of course. Because she is easily distracted, I have a camera on her and try not to disturb her unless I need to give water or hay. On several of her foalings she has shut down for the night because of too much activity. Now I have become concerned because of the 5 squares for a number of days. If I had not done the squares, I would not even have any reason to be worried. Her bag is very big, but no waxing or dripping. She is loose behind, and during the night, she periodically rubs her tail quite a bit with the tail swishing, some yawning, and alot of urinating, passing manure, and drinking water. Then she goes into her spot and snoozes. I have not seen her lay down in 10 days. Day before yesterday. I asked the vet to come and just look at her. He did not palpate her but said he thought she would foal in just a few days. He did not comment on the test strips and said he thought she was having a big colt. I worry that it will be too big for me to handle. I have foaled her three of the times with no problems The vet did not seem to be concerned at all. Of course, my mind is running away with me. She has been so predictable and is just the opposite now. I will say that even though her colostrum is plentiful and sticky, it isn't quite the right color yet. I ordered your book and was worried it would not come in time. Boy was I wrong. I've had time to read it many times. Thanks,it has wonderful information. Of course the scary parts are even scarier in the middle of the night. Should I be too concerned with these strips or just hang in there? Thanks for your help. Forgot to mention she is coming up on 334 days tonight.
I'm sorry you're still on watch! I certainly know how tired you are at this point. I wouldn't be at all worried about the test strips. You said her colostrum doesn't look quite ready to you and I would have more faith in that than the strips. Also, although I didn't use strips on them, I have seen quite a mares stream milk for a couple of weeks ahead of time and everything be just fine with the foal (other than having to give them colostrum). I would think that if strips had been used on these mares, they would have said that foaling was eminent for two weeks. I also wouldn't be too concerned about the mare varying from her usual routine. I've seen very predictable mares have an "off" year and not do anything they normally did and still everything was okay. If you are worried about the size of the foal, then my suggestion is to make sure you have someone with you when you think she's ready to deliver. I think it's always best to have someone else there, just in case.
Please let me know how it goes! I'll be thinking about you and waiting to hear. I understand about those long, lonely nights.
Follow up by Cynthia on February 10, 2005:
Thanks for the reassurance. I think the erroneous results section in the Predict A Foal Kit upset me.....saying some mares who go more than 3-4 days at 5 strips could have placentitis and a sick foal. Of course she is not dripping milk yet and she usually starts some hours before foaling. She has had an uneventful pregnancy and is very healthy..12 years old. I will keep hanging in there. Will keep you posted. This is a great service you provide. I have several people ready to help if necessary and the vet is only 15 minutes away.
You're very welcome, Cynthia.
I think what it says in the Predict A Foal Kit is right, but that is probably a very small percentage of the time and they wouldn't be responsible if they didn't warn you of that possibility. I have never used the strips myself, but have had several people write and tell me that the strips said "ready" for several days before the mare agreed and all was okay.
Please do keep me posted!
Follow up by Cynthia on February 23, 2005:
Finally had a beautiful filly out of my lippizan mare, thanks for walking me through the whole thing for the 2nd time. The baby had diarrhea the day after it was born . (a bad thing I know ) the vet came out gave antibiotics and yogurt. baby is great will be a week old tomorrow. What a beauty! a black filly with a white blaze and 4 white socks. now more advice if you dont mind. The next mare is 360 days today has been bagged for about a week. At what point she I be concerned about her being over due?
Congratulations on you new filly! I'm glad she got over the diarrhea quickly and is doing well! I wouldn't be concerned about the mare that is at 360 days as long as she is progressing and acting okay. It isn't all that uncommon for mares to carry for a full year and everything be just fine.
Let me know when she finally decides to get the job done!
Submitted by Moises in New York on February 9, 2005:
Hi, we have an arabian mare that turns 18 this year. She's in her final stage of pregnancy. Her due date is February 10. Still she is not showing any signs of bagging up or waxing.. She is a maiden mare and know that this does occur. Can you give us any advice?
I guess the first question I have to ask is if you are certain the mare is still in foal. If you are, then as you said, sometimes maidens do things like this. It could be that she is just going to go overdue or bag up quickly shortly before delivery. If she is making other changes that suggest delivery is near, it would probably be a good idea to get things lined up to have access to a colostrum replacement and mare's milk formula. You hopefully won't need them, but if you do you'll be ready.
Please let me know how she does.
Submitted by Suzanne in Virginia on February 13, 2005:
It's me again! I have a question about our second mare that is 337 days today. The foal has dropped as she has a very pointed V shape to her abdomen, her udders are about 3/4 full and her tailhead is sunken and her vulva is relaxed. However, I can not express a single drop of fluid from her. She has been on the same hay and pasture as the previous mare so we are not worried about fescue toxicity. I was just wondering how often you see this in mares as I have never had one do this before. Even my maiden mares have a good bag and some sort of fluid at this time! Should I expect her to go late? Just worried about not being there. She is a very stout TB but short legged and her belly is huge.
Not a problem. As long as there is udder development, I wouldn't be a bit worried. Some mares can be difficult to get fluid out of before they are really full. Sounds like she may go some overdue, but she's a mare so things could change very quickly.
Let me know how she does!
Follow up by Suzanne on February 27, 2005:
Hi Theresa you have been such a great help during this foaling season. I e-mailed you a couple of weeks ago concerning a maiden mare that was 335 days with a good bag but I could get nothing when I milked her. She is still the same way. She comes in at night with a full bag but still I get nothing. She is at 352 days today. Her V shape has moved back and really isn't a V any more. She has almost no definition at her hips from her belly. Her croup is soft and I get very little resistance. I am still concerned about her not having any milk and she has developed a good patch of ventral edema and now has two softball size swelling between her legs separate from the mid-line edema. To me she looks close except for her having no milk. HELP! Sorry to be such a bother. Thanks for all you do!
I still wouldn't be worried about not being able to get milk. With the swelling she has, I would bet that she will get milk shortly before or after delivery. I hope she doesn't make a liar out of me, but I truly wouldn't be concerned. If you are very worried, it might make you feel better to be sure the vet has a colostrum replacement and mare's milk formula on hand just in case.
Please let me know how it goes!
Submitted by Tonya in British Columbia, Canada on February 13, 2005:
My mare was bred June 23,2004 it is now Feb 13,2005. This morning I went out to feed and noticed something in her tail I think it may be her mucus plug it's slimy and pinky purple in color this is her first foal she is four years old no other prob. untill now or is this a prob. I did feel baby move last night but not this morn. I am worried about everything sorry.
As long as there wasn't much discharge, I wouldn't be too concerned. Just keep a watch out for more discharge or any other changes. Sometimes there is a little discharge from the vagina that means nothing as far as the viability of the pregnancy. As long as she is eating and acting okay, everything is most likely just fine. If there are any more changes (like udder development) or she doesn't act like herself, that would be the time to have your vet out to take a look.
Please let me know how she does!
Follow up by Tonya on February 17, 2005:
Hi Theresa. Great column and thanks for getting back to me so soon my mare started pawing in a corner a lot so I talked to my vet told him what was happening and he said she may be trying to reject twin or she my be false cycling and expelling her mucus plug, also to watch for udder development baby is still moving the mare is 3/4 thoroughbred is there any signs you can tell my to look for with twins and if she is trying to exp. twins wouldn't she be bleeding or show some other signs she seems fine eats all the time love her grain. Don't mean to be a pest Thanks.
You aren't being a pest! I know how concerning it is when things don't seem quite right. If your mare were trying to abort twins, it would be unlikely that she would have any bleeding ahead of time. Usually when aborting twins, they just deliver them and that's that. There is really nothing you can do to foresee it or stop it. As long as nothing else has happened (no more discharge, no udder development), that's a good sign that everything is okay. I'm not sure what the pawing in the corner was, but sometimes maiden mares are uncomfortable from foal pressure and since they don't know what the discomfort is from, they can tend to be a little dramatic. I hope that's what it was. If there should be any udder development, let your vet know (as he said).
Please keep me updated on how she does.
Submitted by Heavenly in California on February 17, 2005:
I am considering buying a perlino AQHA mare and I would like some advice. The mare is 6 years old. As a four year old she had a filly-everything went fine. A year later she started bagging up early ( 2 months ) she lost the foal and the vet said it was a seperated placenta, probably would not happen again. Same exact thing happened this year. Can something be done, medications? I like the mare, but she would be used primarily as a broodmare. Is this common?
Whether this is a problem that can be dealt with depends on exactly what is causing it. If it is due to low progesterone, that can be easily corrected (although it is expensive). If the mare has had placentitis or has some defect in her uterus that causes premature placenta detachment, that wouldn't be so easy. My personal opinion is that I would stay away from a mare this young who has aborted twice. There are enough good mares out there without problems to take on one that is known to have problems.
I hope this helps with your decision.
Follow up by Heavenly on February 17, 2005:
Thank you so much for your quick response. It just seems like such a waste. I think more could have been done when she started getting ready again early? I guess I really need to know what the cause is? Thanks!
Yes, I think you need to pinpoint the cause. I would think that certainly something should have been done when it appeared that she was getting ready early the second time. That may have made the reason a lot clearer and you wouldn't be in your current quandary. I hope you can find out more to help you make your decision.
Submitted by Becky in North Carolina on February 6, 2005:
GREAT SITE I love it.. I have a question my moms mare due date based on 320 is March 10th. Her udder is developing and her vulva is long and relaxed. She bites at her sides some. Can these signs be coming on this early? Her breeding dates were April 24-28th 2004.This mare is maiden and is in good health regular deworming and vet care. I am just worried she will go to soon. Please let me know the earliest she can go that this foal will possibly make it.. Thanks.
I would consider your mare's due date (340 days) to be April 3. I wouldn't feel safe about her foaling before March 10. If she is just beginning udder development, I wouldn't be worried. If her udder develops quickly, it might be good to have a vet take a look. Most probably this is just a maiden mare thing and she will hold off until she is in a safe range. That she is biting at her sides sometimes is probably just because she's uncomfortable.
Please keep me updated on how she's doing.
Follow up by Becky on February 26, 2005:
Hello there Dotti is doing fine we do put her in stall at night for now just to watch her. She is at 304 now so still a little ways to go. her udder has been going up and down she rolls some and lays down. i have been watching her at night to see her patterns of down times etc..so all is fine i guess im just a little worried about her as she is maiden. we have another maiden mare due april 20th. ill keep you posted thanks for your help.
I'm glad to see that Dotti is still hanging in there. It's good that her udder is still going up and down. I looked at your foal cam. Boy, that view looks way too familiar!
Keep me updated on how the mares do.
Submitted by Patricia in Louisiana on February 2, 2005:
Our mare is expecting her second baby any day now. Her first colt, two years old this month is still with her. We have a small pasture and one area they get in out of the weather, etc. My question is, should we separate them before she has her new baby? He is very gentle, but I don't know if he would hurt the new baby? I know this is probably a stupid question, but even though I love horses, I don't really know very much about them.
The only stupid question is an unasked one! It would be best to separate the two year old before the mare has her new baby. The risk is actually less what he might do and more what Mom might do to protect her new foal. Many new foals have been injured by getting in the way of a protective mother. Since you can't predict how the mare will act toward the two year old after she delivers, it would be safest to separate them now.
Good luck and please let me know how everything goes.
Follow up by Patricia on February 18, 2005:
We took your advice and sent Shadow(colt) off to school. He'll be away for about 6 weeks. Our mare, Ruby, has a beautiful little girl. I checked her at 10:30 P.M. She was calm, didn't seem as though she was even "thinking" of foaling. Went back at 11:45 P.M. just to look in on her. She was standing there with her new foal standing in front of her - still wet. I was so shocked! I dried her, checked her over to make sure all was well, and stayed with them a few hours. She is SOOOO protective of the new baby!! Makes her very nervous for even me to be close to her. I can imagine how she would have reacted with Shadow there, he's so inquisitive--NOT GOOD. Thank you so much!!!
I'm so glad everything went well with the delivery! I'm also happy that you feel now it was the right thing to do to send Shadow off to school. I'm sure the mare will be much more comfortable this way. By the time her new foal is six weeks old, having another horse around won't bother her nearly as much.
Enjoy your new filly and thanks so much for letting me know!
Submitted by Marcie in Arizona on February 18, 2005:
Theresa: I'm back with a request for your opinion. Cassi (our black filly born 1/31/05 and in your photo gallery, thank you) is pretty normal in every way. She is eating, sleeping and acting like an almost 4 week old foal. However, her poop just doesn't seem to want to form... I have been in constant contact with our vet and we've had her on a banana/yogurt/baking soda cocktail. Just when it appears we're thickening, she goes back to a watery squirt. She's not running a fever and again I stress is otherwise a hearty, growing, healthy, active little girl. I concur with vet that since she's ok, we're going to monitor her to make sure she doesn't slip into any other mode. (She was on SMZ's for 5 days after birth and mom came into foal heat at about day 9) Have you had experience with this? Is she just getting a very rich diet? My concern level has dropped from a 4 (on the scale of 5) simply due to her overall appearance and activity level, to a 2 (at this moment).
Any comment is as usual, very appreciated.
I have seen this before. Sometimes it is due to the mare's rich milk, but it seems more often to be due to a lack of "good" gut bacteria. I would suggest trying a probiotic product such as Probios to introduce some of the good bacteria. This doesn't work all the time, but I have seen it do wonders for many babies. I agree that you should keep a watch on it, but that your level of concern shouldn't be too high as long as she is active and looks healthy. Most babies outgrow this without problems. I know one vet (a young one just out of school) that would tube foals with this problem with some of their mother's manure. Same idea as the probiotics--to introduce good bacteria into the gut. Every foal I saw him treat this way was cured. I prefer to give the probiotics. It's not nearly as gross! :-)
Let me know how she does.
Submitted by Tammy on February 21, 2005:
Hi Theresa; Of course I am getting nervous already, my maiden mare is at 296 days of her pregnancy and this morning I noticed (and I have been checking everyday) she is just this morning starting to develop an udder. She did not have anything noticeable last night. It seems that I read that mares can start developing an udder around 30 days prior to foaling. She looks good and acts normal in every other respect. Is this normal or a little early? Of course I get nervous about infection of the placenta which early bag development can also be a sign of. Eek!
I think this sounds normal at this point. The only reason I would get concerned is if she got a whole lot of udder very quickly. As long as it just started and keeps being gradual, I wouldn't worry about it. Four to six weeks is absolutely normal, so that should put her pretty much in line. It's great that you are that observant! I know she won't slip anything by you!
Please keep me updated on how she does.
Follow up by Tammy on April 6, 2005:
O.K. Theresa - we are at 340 days now and this morning her udder was full and nipples starting to fill. She waxed with clear yellow tinged wax and her milk is sticky but not to thick and slightly cloudy clear. Would you look at her pictures and tell me if you think this is a full udder. How fast can they progress to opaque white from this stage. Would you call that a full udder? Any input would be greatly appreciated. I am so excited I can't stand it.
Good reason to be excited! That looks like a full udder to me. Her vulva could be a little more relaxed...and may be when she isn't having her picture taken. :-) The change from clear yellow to white can happen in a matter of an hour or so. Also, a few mares will foal before the color change happens so, although it is a good sign to watch for, it shouldn't be relied on as an absolute.
Let me know when the baby arrives!
Follow up by Tammy on April 13, 2005:
Hi Theresa; Thanks so much for your advice through out my mare's pregnancy. I am happy to report she foaled at 6:05pm on Saturday afternoon a lovely chestnut colt with four huge white socks and a big blaze. Doesn't get much better than that. Mom and baby are doing great. One final question for you, if you don't mind. How long will a mare expel fluids and such from her vulva/uterus after birth. Mine has been getting junk out when she is turned out which is mostly reddish mucousy fluid, but with the first turn out of the morning she has yellowish junk that turns to reddish as the day progresses. It is not a huge amount but enough to leave her legs yukky enough to be cleaned off. Today is less than previous days which is three full days post foaling.
What a beautiful baby. Mares can have a discharge for several days after foaling. It's good that she's expelling it with turnout. A discharge that can mean trouble will look like anything from thick butterscotch to almost chocolate pudding. As long as it is thinner than that and getting to be less each day, it's probably okay. It sounds okay but if it doesn't decrease considerably over the next couple of days, I would have the vet take a look.
Submitted by Megan in California on February 21, 2005:
my mare is going to have a baby...this is my first baby..she is a maden mare..i wanted to know what the signs are when a mare is going to go into labor and if blood dripping from the back end is ok
A small amount of blood from the rear end is okay, but more than a very little bit (less than a 1/4 of a cup) is not. If it is enough that it is actually dripping, watch the mare very closely. Watch for full udder, relaxation over hips and vulva, the belling dropping, and behavioral changes to let you know when the mare is close to delivery.
I hope this helps.
Submitted by Nancy in the USA on February 23, 2005:
Still waiting for the colt, but I think she is getting closer. I talked to a friend of mine yesterday, she used to raise horses. She told me to get an enema, and use it on the colt asap, something about the colt having to deficate, or it could die. The vet wasn't in this morning, but am planning on asking him too, he has lots of horses. Thanks again for all the answers to my questions.
It's good to have a green-label adult-sized Fleet enema on hand. Don't give it to the foal right away. Wait until after it nurses. Not all foals need an enema, but sometimes their first stools are a little hard to pass and they need some help. If the foal looks like it is straining to go and not making any progress, that would be the time to give the enema.
I hope this helps.
Submitted by Morgan in Kentucky on February 17, 2005:
I've emailed you many times it seems, but once again I have another question. My maiden TB mare has been showing signs of early labor for two days, and I haven't been getting any sleep. She still hasn't actually gone into labor yet though. Her belly has dropped a ton, and she's gapping open in the back. I'd say a gap of at least an inch. She's got about 3/4 full bag of milk, and she's ALWAYS pacing. Should I be worried? What can I do besides wait and see? If you have any suggestions at all please let me know.
As long as your mare isn't frantic or seeming like she is in a lot of pain (up, down, rolling, sweating) with no progress, about all you can do is wait it out. Maiden mares don't understand the discomfort they are feeling and can be very dramatic about the whole thing. I would expect that it shouldn't be much longer. Is she eating and drinking? If so, that's a good sign that everything is okay and she's just uncomfortable.
Please keep me updated!
Follow up by Morgan on March 7, 2005:
I was wondering how long my mare should go over her "due date" before I get worried? She's overdue 14 days and she's a maiden mare. She has been showing signs of Labor for a week. She lays down, then gets up, then lays down, then gets up......she's restless, she paws, she rubs her tail, she is really moody all of a sudden. My vet said that the baby is all lined up ready to go, it's just that she doesn't feel like having one. Your thoughts would be appreciated.
I wouldn't be concerned as long as the mare is eating and drinking okay. I know she's very uncomfortable, but that's normal. Since the vet says everything is okay to go, that's good. I know it's hard waiting and watching them when they are so uncomfortable, but everything sounds normal.
Please keep me updated on how she does!
Follow up by Morgan on March 12, 2005:
Description: Hello, I just wanted to let you know that last night my mare had a beautiful baby boy!!! Everything went fine, except that she wasn't the mare that I was expecting to foal. She was two weeks away from her due date!! And the one that's 3 weeks past is still huge!! I couldn't be more pleased. He�s a chestnut Arabian with a blaze and hind socks.
I'm so happy for you! Thanks for letting me know. I hope the overdue one takes a hint and decides to get the job done.
Submitted by Corinn in Minnesota on February 27, 2005:
This is a great site cant wait to get your book!!! My question is? I have a 7 year old maiden Clydesdale mare that waxed up and was dripping milk and showing all signs (Feb.9 05) She is due March 25 So I knew if it was coming the chances were poor of him living... Since then her bag has gone done and no sign of labor and no baby. Of course I called the vet he said it could be one twin dieing or just a maiden mare. We had an ultra sound done at 16 days and I assumed they would have noticed a twin? She is eating well and very normal. What are my chances of having a live foal??? Thank you for any help...
I absolutely agree with what your vet said since the dripping stopped on its own. It is certainly possible for a twin to be missed at 16 days. They can sometimes be stacked right on top of each other so perfectly that it is impossible to tell there are two. Unfortunately, it's impossible for me to say what the chances are that you will wind up with a live foal. I will tell you that I had one mare do the exact same thing and she did wind up delivering one live foal and one that had been dead for quite some time. I will certainly keep my fingers crossed that it was a "maiden mare thing," or that you have a live baby if there are twins.
Please let me know how everything goes!
Follow up by Corrin on March 21, 2005:
Hello, I just wanted to update you on the mare she foaled last night and the baby was born dead.. I was there and everything seemed normal?? Her water broke and with in 5 minutes the baby started to come out I had to pull It wasn't a big baby she didn't even wax like she did 6 weeks ago she barely had any milk !!! She still has no milk She still seems big !! Belly Can you give me any advice on what went wrong and what I can do next time Everyone says with a Clydesdale you have a 50 % chance of raising the baby??? Also with all that has happened to this mare what are the chances she will do all this again and is there anyway I could find out??? Thank you
I'm so sorry, Corrin!
Have you had a vet check the mare? If you haven't, you really should. This sounds more like an abortion rather than an attempt at a live delivery. I think you have a much better than 50% chance of raising a live Clydesdale baby. I don't know why people would think the odds are so low. It isn't impossible for me to say what might have gone wrong without knowing a whole lot more, so I can't tell you what to do next time. It may be one of those things that can't be explained and may not happen again.
Again, I'm very sorry. Please let me know what the vet says.
Follow up by Corrin on March 24, 2005:
Hello, Just wanted to update you again The vet thought it died 6 weeks ago and just finally came out???Have you ever seen this?? You would have thought that she would have been sick...When KT went into labor it was real weird I don't think that she dilated enough ...KT was very sore and black and blue so I didn't want the vet to palpate her....I don't think she would have let him anyways!! He thought it would be a good idea to have her flushed when she comes into heat and also do a blood test?? What do you think should be done??? She has had antibiotics for 5days and she seems fine she is eating and drinking normal....When the waxing started in February I knew it was not going to be good So I was ready for twins or a early baby .....My concern is that there is another one in there??I should have had her palpated?? She is still deep and bigger than she should be since the baby that was born was so small!!! Today she started swishing her tail and real nervous again and her bag is bigger than it has been the baby died on Sunday??? Thank you for all your advice Maybe I am just looking for a reason not to be disappointed.
I definitely would have had the mare palpated, or rather would have had a vaginal exam done. I hate to say this, but I sincerely doubt that there is a live foal present. My concern would be that there is a dead twin. They usually abort both at once, but strange things can happen. Yes, I would certainly have the mare flushed, but don't think I would wait until she comes back in heat. Since her udder is bigger and she is acting differently, I think it would be best to have the vet check her again as soon as possible. It would be very unusual for a mare to carry a dead foal for six weeks but, again, strange things can happen. That's why I really think she needs to be checked again.
Please let me know what you find out.
Submitted by Sandy in the USA on February 28, 2005:
I like many others with maidens am going insane... Here's the picture.... all bagged up (no waxing though, now won't let me near her utter), foal is in position (even up at her tail head... I have seen it moving by her tail bone... kinda funny looking seeing this lump rise and move in that area). loose/relaxed in her rear muscles.. vulva is longated... lost her mucus plug 2-25-05... and she is still holding out.... Why do they do this to us.... I check her at 6pm 9pm and then if nothing looks prominent again at 1am.... of course that means not much sleep.....ahhhhh mares.... Thanks for a site where we can vent...your great.....Oh, anything else I should look for...?
Oh, I know exactly how you're feeling! I think you have a pretty good handle on what you're looking at. I would look for behavioral changes next. Any little changes could mean a lot.
Hang in there and let me know!
Follow up by Sandy on March 12, 2005:
I had the maiden mare that is holding out.... I had said she lost her mucus plug on 2-25-05, but that must have been only partial, because on 3-6-05, she had a lot more mixed in her tail, so I sure she lost the full thing now. How long can they go after they loose this..? She is working on 7 days now, and she is so miserable. She lays in her stall at night just groaning for being uncomfortable and she looked to be in labor the other day, but must have been the baby. Oh if the baby is sitting on her bowels when she is laying down, when she gets up to go poo, some of the balls are clumped together almost like someone was kinda squishing them into a soft ball.. is that normal..? I sure hope she foals soon, she is soooo ready.... full bag, soft over hips/tailhead, baby has dropped, moody, kicks her tummy and ground... The funny thing is, she still goes out and she can still completely roll all the way over and kick up her heels.... but after, she is really tired.... :0) !! thanks again for all you advice, and keeping us as sane as we can be on the waiting end of things.
They can go for quite awhile after losing the mucous plug, but it really sounds like your mare shouldn't be too long. Everything sounds perfectly normal. It's great that the mare can still roll all the way over! :-) On the thoroughbred breeding farm, we always said that when a mare almost due can still roll all the way over, her baby will be a winner.
Let me know when your baby arrives!
Submitted by Moises on March 2, 2005:
Hi Theresa, My mare is now 360 days along and still no foal( so frustrating). Her udders are firm especially the right one, a little warm, nipples are soft, getting longer but still not "bagging up." Her hips are softning alittle more each day, her vulva when she is relaxed gets a little longer each day and "puffy." Last night she was restless, pawing and stomping the ground with the back feet and layed down. We went to check on her and nothing, everything had stopped. That night we moved the baby monitor into our bedroom and I don't think I slept much at all. Since the weather has been very cold here lately in upstate NY we've decided to leave the heat lamps on since she has been blanketed all winter and we have taken the blanket off! I know she's showing all the right signs, but the baby has not moved into position yet, stomach has not dropped any.. Well I figured I'd keep you posted! Any advice will be much appreciated! Oh by the way, she is shedding like crazy and none of our other horses are! Could this be hormonal?
Oh, boy, my only advice is to hang in there! I know how tiring it is, but everything sounds okay so all you can do is wait. :-) Lots of horses start shedding this time of year. It's controlled by length of daylight. I think pregnant mares tend to shed more heavily because of their increased blood supply during pregnancy. Just my guess!
Let me know when she finally presents you with that new baby!
Follow up by Moises on March 7, 2005:
Hi Theresa, I came home from work today and at 5:oopm Rozie was restless, pacing her stall, stomping her back feet at times very intense , swishing her tail, more pacing, laying down, looking at her side, not eating her hay(not like her at all). This has been going on for about 3 hrs now and still counting as we speak . Her vulva is more relaxed and puffy, her udders are bigger not bagging up though , you can see the holes now on her teats..... We certainly are going to monitor her closely tonight.... I'm keeping my fingers crossed:) We will certainly let you know what happens. Thank you.....
Sounds like this could be it! I'll be waiting to hear!
Follow up by Moises on March 8, 2005:
Hi, Just an update! No baby yet after a long night:( but Rozie is certainly closer:D She's carrying down and further back, udders seem a bit larger, this morning around 7:00am we noticed some wax on her teats, looking a bit longer and wider than the night before(finally:D), I squeezed the right teat and some yellowish fluid came out ..... She hasn't finished all her breakfast, not like her at all! Swishing tail, stomping back feet still present ever so often but not like last night, very restless!!! Certainly has diminished.. Also eating her hay on and off, has periods of just standing still, carrying head low.... Any guess as to when she'll go! Thanks a bunch!!! Finding this forum on the net has been a god sent:) I've learned so much from reading your advice to others and myself!!!! Thanks again....
Oh darn, I was so hoping she would go last night! From your description, though, it sounds like it could be any old time she feels like getting down to business. I would be greatly surprised if you don't have a baby within the next 24 hours. I surely wouldn't trust her to be alone at this point!
Let me know!
Follow up by Moises on March 9, 2005:
Hi Theresa, Finally, we are proud to announce our new little arrival born today at 9:01 am. Can you believe it:) and during the day too! He is a beautiful big, very leggy, chestnut colt w/ 4 wh legs and a blaze down his face:) He is a spitten image of his father(Desert Sundancer) We named him Desert Wynd("windy") because he was born on the windiest day of the year in Upstate NY(gusts of wind about 50mph, barn sounded like it was going to come down:O). Of course Tuesday night I decided to sleep upstairs and my partner did night watch! The next morning I decided to go to work and wouldn't you know it , she foaled! Shorly after I arrived to work I get a call saying that Rozie was pawing, and she started to go down. I tell you my heart skipped a beat it seemed:( I was nervous and at that time I thought to myself, could this be it? My partner after the call, ran with the video camera(near the back door ready),foaling kit, towels and phone in hand and headed straight to the barn.....She was still down and then her water broke! She pushed and the babies front feet came out..(this is all in a matter of no more than 5 min.) At this time I called back to make sure it wasn't a false alarm:(.... I was told that there was no time to talk, feet were out, to get home , bye! (literally) I went home as quickly as I could(only 7 min away) and by the time I entered the barn(9:05am) I was only mins. from missing the delivery(ughhh!!) But I tell you every min of this long pregnancy was worth the wait for me(and definetely for Rozie too:) I still was able to help dry him off, and gave him the colostrum supplement. He was a little shaky getting on his feet and with some assistance and after numerous attempts he got the hang of it! Pointed him to the teats and had some trouble finding them at first, but eventually got the hang of that too!!! Delivery was not quite textbook, feet out(big baby) circled a few times, strained excessively, partner grabbed a hold of feet and with each contraction assisted gently and had a successful delivery!!!(Whewwwww!) Both mom and baby are doing fine now, Rozie is a great mother.... we can do anything with baby without any trouble from her or him... Vet came out, gave them both a clean bill of health... placenta intact, no problems! Anyway, I want to thank you for all your assistance, love your forum, thank god for people like you out there!By the way delivery was caught on tape in its entirety!( I guess I didn't miss it completely after all!!!) I think were going to have a viewing party in the near future with some of our closest friends! Certainly a treasure for many years to come! Enjoy a picture of our newest addition!!!! Thanks again....
I'm so sorry you weren't there for the delivery but so happy to hear that all went well! Thanks so much for letting me know and for sending the picture. I will post it within the next few days.
Enjoy your baby!
Submitted by Amber in Iowa on March 4, 2005:
Theresa, I have 4 mares that will be foaling this year ( one outside mare her to foal out that was covered to my stallion, and is due as we speak), and I have read and read and read your column, and am very excited to get the foaling manual. I have an older mare that has bagged up (not full) but her bag is there real early, and she is the type of mare that shows heat every 21 days, when we bought her, we had not idea that she was this way, so have been watching her since Dec. on foal cam... She looks smaller than she did in October, I am thinking that maybe she had twins and lost one? The foal that is in her is very active. It can be seen very easily.. This mare has not had any discharge, nor have her bags felt hot, nor has she went of off any feed. Thank you for having your forum on line! It has been a big help in answering my own questions.
You're very welcome! It is next to impossible that the mare you talked about lost one twin and kept another. The way mares carry foals means that if they abort one, they have to abort both. Of course nothing is absolutely impossible, but to keep one while aborting another would be about as close as you can get. So, maybe the foal just shifted position and that made the mare's belly look smaller.
Let me know how everything goes.
Submitted by Judy in Florida on March 4, 2005:
I have a colt that was born about 9:15 on Wednesday night. It is now Friday night. The colt nurses but sounds very "slurpy" and comes back with milk all over his face. He is bright, alert, gums are pink with no sign of dehydration, temp is 101.2, ran and played in the sunshine today (was up all day yesterday due to rain) and is much stronger and more filled out than he was last night at 24 hours. He has urinated regularly, it is clear and it is coming from his penis. His navel is clean and dry and has been sprayed with Betadine several times a day since birth. His poop is the yellow "first milk" poop. He was given an enema, tetanus anti-toxin and a "natures slurry" for his beneficial gut bacteria. He just does not seem to be drinking enough. My other babies drain their mothers every time. His mother sprays him as she has so much milk. He seems hungry and licks the bottom of the mare's feed tub. When he nurses, it sounds like air is mixing in, like he does not have a good seal on the udder. He comes away shaking his head and moving his mouth around like a horse that just got wormed and is trying to get it off and out of their mouth. Could he have a cleft pallet? How can I tell? What can I do? Thank you so much!!
This sounds like it could be a case of the mare overproducing. Sometimes they are so full that they start squirting milk as soon as the foal sticks its head under there and the foal just can't drink it fast enough. That's when you hear the slurping noise. I would just keep a very close watch on him for the next couple of days. If there are any changes in his looks or behavior, it would be good to have a vet check him. If you watch what's happening and see that the mare is indeed overproducing, it may help to cut her grain back for a week or so. However, the mare's milk production usually evens out to meet the foal's demands given some time.
Let me know what you see.
Follow up by Judy on March 8, 2005:
Hi Theresa, You hit the nail on the head! By this am he had caught up, and the mare is drained after he nurses!. He is acting normal and is as rowdy and rambunctious as he can be! He and the 2 other babies and mares had a beautiful NW Fla day in the sunshine in the mid 60's. He is growing by the minute (so are the other 2). Thank you so much for your advise. I just did not like the spraying and dripping. Scared me! I have never had a cleft palate and hope I never do. The mare is a big 16h 1300lb QH and always produces a lot of milk but this time I must have been feeding a little too rich.
Great news, Judy!
It's always so nice when it is such a simple problem. Thanks for letting me know.
(A picture of the mare and foal can be seen in the Photo Gallery.)
Submitted by Leslie in Missouri on March 7, 2005:
I was reading your column, as I seem not to be able to stay away from it when I have foaling mares, and noticed a problem that I have had in the past. Mandy from Missouri wrote to you about her mare rejecting the foal and having to raise it herself. Some years ago I had the same problem. I lived in the city and boarded my horse some ways from me and raising the foal was not an option. What I did was go buy two sets of hobbles. I took them out and tied the mare up, put on the hobbles and she was not able to bite, or kick the foal and he could nurse. Unfortunately, I had to leave the mare in front hobbles (bought the cushiest ones I could find-well padded ) for a month before she would not try to walk away when the colt nursed. I drove out twice a day to take the hobbles off and lunge the mare to give her some exercise and stretch her legs. After about a month I was able to leave the hobbles off-she never did exhibit what I would call a sterling mothering instinct but she did quit kicking, biting and running from the colt. She would stop with a resigned look on her face and let him nurse-as he grew older he became her best buddy and got stressed if I took him out of her pasture to work with him. I realize this is not the optimal solution but with a conscientious owner it can work. Not all mares would need this solution for the time I had to implement it. Even tho I was not on site where the mare was 24/7 she did have several people there who helped me keep an eye on her in case of any problems.
Just one solution-reccomended or not, it can work if it needs to. Still thumbing thru your book-ordered it last year and LOVE it. hehe So clearly written yet not "dummied" down.
Your solution was excellent! That is a process we have had to follow quite a few times with getting nurse mares to accept orphaned foals. Thanks for sharing your story and I'm very glad the book has helped!
Submitted by Kelly in California on March 7, 2005:
Hello, My Morgan mare is on her 3rd pregnancy (she went 352, then 344 day on the last 2) and is 331 days. She has been bagged for weeks and heavily bagged (with teats pointing outward and hard and hot) for 5 days. My concern is she has a good amount of ventral edema that is not dissipating with her daily turnouts 1-2 inches think in places on either side of the center tendon about the size of a sheet of legal paper - is this cause for concern. She has gotten to the point she is adamant (bent gate) about not being turned out for more than a few hours before she wants in. Is she just getting ready and this foal (which seems large) maybe just interfering with circulation? Thanks.
The edema is most likely absolutely normal. It can get horrific looking at times and make the mare quite uncomfortable. The good news is that it will all go away shortly after foaling. The only time I would be concerned about it is if the mare the stops eating, drinking, or acting normally, taking into account that she is miserably pregnant mare. The wanting to come in early is many times a sign that delivery is near, but may just be a sign that she is uncomfortable.
Please let me know how she does.
Submitted by Madelaine in the UK on March 7, 2005:
My mare is currently 8 and a half months pregnant. last week i had the vet out to her because she was showing signs of distress, she was almost trying to crouch on her back legs and lifting her back leg up. she kept lifting her tail up to one side and then angrily swooshing it. the vet didn�t really know what was wrong with her as she appeared to be in good health. The vet gave her an injection and she seemed to settle down however a week later and she is doing the same again. I would be grateful if you can offer any advice.
Is your mare a maiden? If so, that could be the problem. Maiden mares don't understand the discomfort they are feeling from the foal and can be quite dramatic about it. You mare is far enough along that the foal is big enough to lay on her bowels and cause some pain. When you see her acting like that, you might try taking her for a brisk walk for about ten minutes. If the problem is the foal, a walk will many times make the foal change position, which relieves the mare's discomfort.
Please let me know how she does.
Submitted by Brigitte in Missouri on March 11, 2005:
Hi Theresa,Four years ago, i traded a thoroughbred, with papers, for 2 half mustangs. Sounded like a great deal at the time. She was also in foal, but when they deliverd her ,she fell in the trailor, needless to say 2 weeks later she abortet the foal.We had the vet check her , so that we knew she was ok.In,spring,we went ahead and bred her to our arabian stallion.By about 5 month , the mare was huge , so we took her back to the vet,well this was a bigs surprise for us , when he told us she was in foal with twins.By that time it was to late to do anything about it.She carried both foals to full term,on the day of delivery, i was awy at the vet to get medicine for another horse ,the foals where the same size,one so didnt make it out of the sack, the vet said it was alive when it was born , but suffocatet, the other filly was healthy. She was a little weak in the hind fetlocks , but that resolved it self with in a week.The filly turned out so great , that we rebred the mare, to the same stallion.Shw was in foal, and at 5 month she abortet??It was a single.We waitet ,vetchekked her and rebred her that next spring,needless to say at about 5 month of her pregnancy, i got very nervous.But everything is fine , and she is due by the end of this month.But,she is in foal with twins again,and she is huge, and both foals are alive.Now my question is:Is it possible , that she will only carry full term when she is with twins???
I think it is highly unlikely that your mare will only care to term with twins. There could be any number of reasons why she aborted the single foal. However, I would recommend two things. First, have her checked by a vet at about 20 days after future breedings to make sure she doesn't have twins again. Second, once she is confirmed in foal, have her progesterone level checked to be sure she is producing enough.
Please let me know how everything goes. I'll be anxious to see if both twins make it this time.
Submitted by Hope in Florida on March 13, 2005:
My mare went 365 days and delivered a stillborn with no eyes. Of course, my 10 year old son (which it was to be his) was devastated. I have heard the rumors of WNV vaccinations while pregnant. We live in FL & after 4 hurricanes in one season, the mosquitoes are abundant. I don't know if I dare to breed her again (delivery was normal) & skip her WNV or just buy a trained horse for my son. I guess I am asking the chance of WNV verses a normal foal. Is there a relationship between birth defects & WNV while pregnant?
I'm so very sorry to hear about the loss of the foal, especially since it was to be your son's baby. I am also sorry to say that I don't have an answer to your question. I have been asked this question before by others who have had malformed foals born after their mares have received the West Nile vaccine. I have also talked to vets who do work for large breeding farms that are convinced from what they've seen after giving the vaccine to many mares in foal that there is no correlation between malformed foals and the vaccine. So, I'm afraid I don't have an answer.
Generally, my advice would be to buy a trained horse for your son. Of course I don't know your son, but overall I think a "known" quantity is better for a ten year old. When you breed, you don't know for sure what the personality of the foal will be. If you buy a trained horse, you know what you're getting.
Again, I'm very sorry!
Submitted by Barb in Oregon on March 14, 2005:
Good Morning- I just wanted to tell you that our baby was born its a filly and gorgeous. I feel like you have been so great with your book and replying I almost feel like I know you. Any I just wanted you to write me back so i could send you a pic of Baby Ides. I figure this is the only way I can repay you for all your time for all of us. Thanks
I'm so happy to hear that everything went well and you have a healthy filly! Thanks for letting me know. Please do send a picture and I will post it.
Enjoy your new baby!
Submitted by Suzanne in Virginia on March 14, 2005:
Hi Theresa: I e-mailed you the end of February and the beginning of March concerning a TB mare that had a bag but I could not express any milk from her bag even though it appeared full.
She foaled at 363 days. Had a minor dystocia. She was trying to pass the foals head through her rectum and had shoulder lock. Thanks to your book we knew what to look for and how to correct the situation. She rejected the foal as well. He was shipped to the vet clinic at 24 hours old with a low white count. Turned out to be pneumonia which they believe he contracted through the blood while he was in utero. He is now much better and should be coming home with his nurse mare by Friday. The mare had a raging uterine infection which has cleared now. My question is..the vet at the equine center thinks she rejected the foal because she knew he was sick. Our repro vet thinks otherwise. What has been your experience with this. IF we breed her back will she reject the next foal. Thanks for all you do!
Whew! I'm really glad that the foal is okay! My experience has been that mares do not reject sick foals. If anything, even the most obnoxious mare is usually great with a sick foal. If you breed her back, I would expect the same problem again. However, if the next foal is healthy, some strong persuasion will probably get her to accept it.
Thanks for letting me know what happened!
Submitted by Karen in Arizona on March 15, 2005:
I am sure you're very busy but I just wanted to share our new arrival with you. Little "Glory was born on the 10th weighing in at a tiny 40 pounds, out of a 16.1hh TB!!! Not thinking that our mare was in foal at all we didn't have her palped until the 5th month when pregnancy was confirmed. This is the ONE time we didn't ultrasound. In Nov., at 8 months, Polly got Placentitis, was ultrasounded, and was treated a few times throughout the pregnancy with SMZ and Regumate. She waxed the entire time. Later the day of the birth our vet checked the placenta, we found a twin that was about at the 4th month, explaining the infection. Glory was unable to support herself so we bottle fed mom's milk around the clock the first two days until she gained strength and stability. Boy does that get old! Her little front legs are contracted and now has little ballet slipper braces because she was knuckling over on one leg, and her rear legs are lax. I tell you, this tiny, precious, crooked little girl is perfect in my eyes. The most precious moment was when she finally latched on to mom and began nursing on her own, HALLELUJAH! She is gaining weight beautifully and has straightened out a lot. She races around the pen trying to buck - it is SO cute. We have imprinted her, and she has already had many procedures done, IV for dehydration (it's already getting really warm here), tubed with oil for lack of recent defacation, the little braces, and daily preventative antibiotics shots, but she is a strong little girl, and what a personality! We know that her health is still guarded, but we are loving her up a lot. Our vet is also a Godsend. (We had our son run to the house to get your book after the birth because the 100% of the placenta followed the baby and the cord was really thick and wouldn't pop off naturally, so we looked up how to cut it and got that taken care of nicely.) Please keep Glory in your prayers, and THANK YOU for everything along the way! God Bless.
Oh my, Karen!
What an ordeal you've been through! I can certainly share your excitement at finally seeing little Glory latch on and nurse for herself. There is nothing quite like that feeling, or the feeling of finally getting one entirely out of the woods and watching it run and play like a normal baby at long last. I'm sure that day will come soon. You're right--thank goodness for your very remarkable vet! Please give him a hug for me the next time you see him. A good, caring vet is absolutely worth his/her weight in gold! I will definitely keep Glory in my thoughts. It sounds like she has the personality to overcome everything and give you many years of wonderful companionship.
Thanks for letting me know and please keep me updated on how she does.
Submitted by Leann in Oregon on March 16, 2005:
I wrote you back in January, regarding my mare possibly having fescue and the problems that come with it. Well, she went to 369 days! SHE HAD TWINS! She was ultrasounded with a single pregnancy. Both foals are doing fine except the smaller of the two has very crooked front legs, one worse than the other, apparently this is common in twins. So far my vet is splinting both front legs and taping them heavily, it seemed to help at first, now the bad leg is bowing once again. Do you have any idea's or knowledge of how to effectively treat them? The vet says that the severely crooked leg will have to have surgery. Is this common? I thought you may know or have some experience with this. PS I don't know if you accept photos, but I have attached one of the twins that we ran in our local paper. Thanks for all your help and support!
Well, what a surprise! I'm so happy that both foals made it and thanks for the photo. I will post it on my the website (if that's okay with you): When were the twins born? Are the foal's legs bowing in or out? If the foal is knock-kneed, that is better than if the knees go to the outside. That will sometimes straighten up with time and support. If the knees go to the outside, surgery is probably the only way to correct it. I think your vet is doing a great job by wrapping and splinting the legs.
Please keep me updated on how the babies do.
Follow up by Leann on March 16, 2005:
The twins were born Feb 25th. The one leg is bowing out. Last week her idea was to splint and see if we would get any response, then possibly leave him un-splinted so his muscle can regain strength, then surgery was most likely a must on the one leg. So how safe and effective is the surgery, have you seen it done and have you seen cases that were positive. I don't expect him to be in the halter pen, but I really would like to keep "Dunny" (red dun) for my daughter and out family pet, but I want him to have the best chance. I did read some on the internet last night after emailing you and it sounds as though my vet is on the right track. It would be great if you post them on your site. One message I could give all your readers is WAIT! The mares truly know what they are doing and if I had induced this mare, Dunny may have not made it at all. My mare never was distressed, always was eating, very normal, and as you advised, just wait if all is normal, so we did and at 369, boy was it a surprise. The mare would not get up after having the first foal, then she started rolling and pushing, I thought it was just he afterbirth, when out flew the other colt. He hit the other foals placenta and went flying about 3-4 feet from the mare, broke the cord of course, but he was a tuff little foal, he was already struggling to get up and get out of that bag. So funny the chestnut colt looks and is just like his mom and the dun colt looks like the sire and sooo smart, he was bucket trained at 7 days after bottle feeding him every 1-2 hours. He is a pig now and gives you the "What For" if your late. He is very special, everyone who comes to see the twins are draw right to him, poor chestnut doesn't get any attention. Thank you again Theresa!
Good for you for being patient and waiting even though the mare was overdue!
I have not seen surgery done on a leg that bows out, but know that was what the vet I worked with always recommended for bowed out legs. Unfortunately, none of his clients opted for surgery and had the foals put down when they kept getting worse and worse. I never saw one that was bowed out get better on its own, so I think surgery is the only choice. My husband, who has been a farrier for 30 years, has seen some surgeries done on bowed out legs and says the results were good. The foals probably wouldn�t be what they would have been without having this problem, but wound up being comfortable, happy animals. I'm sure the vet who will do the surgery will be honest with you about the possible outcome. They can do some amazing things these days and it would surprise me if they said the prognosis was poor. The surgery they do for knock-knees does wonderful things, so I would expect good things with the reverse problem.
Please keep me updated on how your little guy does.
Submitted by Brandy in Florida on March 17, 2005:
I have a 5 year old mare the just a very cute baby. She had a tiny bit of an attitude problem before, but now she is extremely overprotective of the baby. When there is grain or hay around it doesn't seem to bother her that i am handling her foal. If there is no food watch out. he is only 4 days old at this point. Will her aggressiveness stop as time goes on? What can I do to sto this behavior? Thanks
This is not unusual behavior for a new mom and should subside within a week or so. Try making over the mare before you approach the baby. That may not work, but it's worth a try. Other than that, there isn't much you can do except be patient. Since the mare doesn't mind you handling with the baby when she's eating, I would definitely take advantage of that time until she gets over being so protective.
Enjoy your baby!
Submitted by Darlene in Kentucky on March 17, 2005:
I have a 13 yr old mare who delivered a healthy colt last year, and she was rebred on about June 25th 2004. My question is this my daughter went out today to groom her and noticed a little bit of blood on her tail. She is a palomino so that is why she seen it. I had just checked her the day before and everything looked fine, I didn't see any blood then. There is no bagging or anything like that though. She is at 265 days now, so I was wondering if this is anything to worry about or could it just be the baby and pressure from it. I have your book and read it all the time, but didn't really see any think on this. Thanks.
I would just wait to see if there is more blood. If there isn't, I wouldn't worry about it. If there is, it would probably be good to have a vet take a look. It is probably fine, but better to be safe than sorry.
Let me know how she does.
Submitted by Melissa on March 19, 2005:
Hello, I am contemplating breeding my 7 yr old maiden Spanish/Polish Arabian mare late summer, after this showing season. This week I had a pre breeding vet check, and he said she is very correct, in excellent health, and does not anticipate any problems. The stallions I am considering offer breeding by AI. (shipped cooled semen) I will, very likely, send her to a facility for the actual breeding, but would like to document for several months when she actually goes into heat. This mare does not go into very noticeable heats (as compared to my standardbred mare) What are the correct signs to look for when she is 'ripe' to be bred? How does traveling affect breeding cycles? Thank you! I do intend to treat myself to a copy of your manual as well:)
The only way to tell when a mare is truly "ripe" to breed is to have a vet check her. This is especially true when using shipped semen because you don't want to have to order any more shipments than absolutely necessary. If you are sending her to a special facility to have the insemination done, they will know how to deal with it. If you can just tell them the first day of her last heat, that will help. Traveling can interfere with cycles, but usually not for long. If you are worried about the trip to the breeding facility, I wouldn't worry about that.
I hope this helps and please let me know how it goes!
Submitted by Danielle in Washington on March 19, 2005:
First thanks so much for sharing your expertise with us! This is my 13 year old mare�s second foal. Her first foal was just three years ago and she went a year and 10-13 days with him. Very clear on these breeding dates as it was all AI. He is absolutely fine to this day! I thought she went so long because she was maiden. But she seems to be following the same trend, so once they are late are they always late? Anyway her breeding dates for last year are March 29, 31 and April 2nd. That would put her at about 357 today! She is showing allot of signs but not a larger bag. A tiny tiny bit of wax on one teat this morning and her actual teat (nipple) area is fuller. She is also soft and not too much resistance in tail, vulva is a darker pink. Are we ok here, when should I call the vet if she goes further? Guess I just need some reassurance, thanks :)
Some mares do seem to routinely carry long. I foaled one mare for years who never went before 360 days. However, even mares who normally carry long can have an "off" year and foal earlier once in a while (just for future reference in case you breed this mare again). It doesn't sound like your mare will go as long this time as last time. I wouldn't be worried yet. Since she is making progress and as long as she is eating, drinking, and acting okay, everything should be fine. Reassurance given! :-)
Please let me know how she does.
Follow up by Danielle on March 31, 2005:
Hi Theresa :) Well my mare finally foaled but she was actually induced on March 29. I have included a couple pictures since you asked. She was dripping milk for about 48 hours and I was getting worried. She was dialated to four fingers so the vet gave me the option. She is beautiful and healthy! One more question. Her front left leg is slightly turned out at the bottom. Now my vet says to keep her and my mare in thier stall for 30 days, doesn't this seem like a rather long time to you? Thanks..
I'm so glad everything went well. Thanks for the pictures! I will post them on my new website. I don't know why your vet wants to keep the filly inside for 30 days for a leg that is slightly turned out. My experience has been that these things usually do better with exercise unless they are really severe. Of course I can't see the filly right now but, generally speaking, I wouldn't keep a foal in for 30 days a slightly turned out leg.
Congrats again and please keep me updated on how things go.
Submitted by Karen in Georgia on March 20, 2005:
I just got an email from a friend of mine, she lost her foal to Neonatal Foal Adjustment. This foal was sired by the same sire that my Black QH mare is bred to, she is Due in the next two weeks. I have no experience with this, do I need to be concerned about this? Is this something that could be genetic?
No, as far as I know, this is not genetic. It is usually due to a lack of oxygen shortly before or during delivery. However, many times the delivery seems perfectly normal and the cause is not known. I have not seen any pattern at all, nor have I read anything, to suggest that it could be genetic.
Hope this helps.
Submitted by Victoria in Arizona on March 21, 2005:
I don't have any questions or problems...now. I had an Arab mare in foal who had lots of edema. I think I read most of your articles to find out info. It must not be a common problem, because I did not see much info on it. Everyone told me it was the "milk veins" swelling up. Nope. It was edema, just like a woman has when she is pregnant. Because we had a lot of rain, I had to put her in her corral and she did not get enough exercise. After consulting a local vet, they agreed that was the cause. We began walking her 2x daily and the problem disappeared. Because the mare was so big, we inquired if she might be pregnant with twins. We anticipated the foal to be born in about 6 weeks. The vet said it was highly unlikely, and she hoped that was not the case because the odds were against you for one or both to survive. To our big surprise, three weeks later she gave birth to two healthy fillies. Both were about the same size. We monitored them carefully. They are now doing great. We know how lucky we are. I would be curious to know the odds of surviving twins if you have any articles or info. Please let me know.
Congratulations on your healthy twins! I don't have any articles (although you can probably find some if you search the internet), but my experience has been that healthy, normal twins are rare. I have witnessed the births of several sets of twins, but only one set was healthy. They were like yours in that they were nearly the same size. That's when it most often works--when each foal has approximately half the uterus in which to grow.
Yes, mares can get edema. Yours was probably due to being so big with the twins. Exercise sometimes helps, but sometimes it doesn't. I'm glad it did with your mare.
Congrats again and enjoy your twins!
A photo of the twins is included in the Photo Gallery
Submitted by Viki in California on March 21, 2005:
My maiden mare is due on April 17th. She has a pronounced umbilical hernia. She keeps kicking at it which has caused occasional bleeding. She has been severely bagged for 11 days with her milk veins full to capacity for 8 days. She is dropped and is soft around tailhead. I am concerned about the hernia and her early signs of delivery. The skin around the hernia is broke open and bleeds. Between her milk veins, bags, hernia and belly, she looks like she is going to explode from somewhere. How long can she hold on like this and is it safe with the bleeding hernia?
I think this is a situation that a vet needs to see. Your questions really need to be answered by someone who can actually see and examine the mare. Regarding your question about how long she can go on like this, the answer is for quite awhile...and hopefully she will for another week to ten days or so. I would definitely have her looked at, though, because of the hernia.
Please let me know how she does.
Submitted by Tammy in Virginia on March 24, 2005:
I have a 4 year old MFT due to foal around April 5. She had started to develop a bag and it was getting hard. Then the bag disappeared and she is back to her normal size. Is this normal? Will she start to bag again its March 24 today and I'm starting to get a little nervous. Thanks.
The mare's udder going up and down in size is perfectly normal. When it is the same size in the evening as it was in the morning, that is generally when they are getting very close to foaling.
Let me know about your new baby!
Submitted by Penny in Oregon on March 24, 2005:
Hi There, What a fantastic site!!!! I have a broodmare who is about to give birth to her 3rd foal. I have kept her under artificial lights and everything has seemed to progress right on schedule. She is now at 325 days at 320 days he vulva softened significantly and she started to have a small amount of wax, if I were a gambler I would have put money on her having the foal last night her secretions had changed to a creamy and her vulva was swollen and very very relaxed....ok so my question is this I have been sleeping in the tack room to hear what is going on and be close enough to help should the need arise, my tack room is at the end of the barn approx. 60 ft from the birthing stall is it possible that just my sleeping there has kept her from foaling? Would you suggest my checking on her hourly instead and sleeping in the house? I would think this might be more disruptive since the door makes a lot of noise when opened but I guess I am not completely sure what is considered "disrupting" a mare if she is in her 1rst stage of pregnancy. Sorry One other question if she is in her 1rst stage how far back should I stand to observe and not disrupt her? Thank you so much as you may be able to tell this is my first foal so I apologize if the questions are silly.
Your questions are not silly! They are actually very good. I think sleeping in the tack room is fine. That shouldn't bother the mare at all. I agree that this is much less disruptive than coming and going. When a mare is in the first stage of labor, it generally doesn't bother them if you stay a bit down the aisle where you can see her but aren't right in her face. When she gets to the point that you think she is close to her water breaking (maybe veins popped out and sweaty), she most likely won't care if you are in the aisle right across from her stall. Once her water breaks, she probably won't care if you open the stall door and stand right outside so you can see what's going on. Once down, most mares don't care what you do. Of course, you will have to play it by ear with your mare and see what disturbs her and what doesn't. As long as there isn't a lot of noise and commotion, most mares don't care if you are quietly nearby.
I hope this helps and please let me know what your new baby arrives!
Follow up by Penny on March 24, 2005:
Thank you so much!!! Since her "waxing" has changed from a honey color (Monday) to a creamy white color today any idea on how much longer she has? She has very little waxing compared to any pictures I have found and I'm not sure how much that may play into determining a timeline. Thank you again for the response! I forgot I had one other question......I live in the NW and this year Jan, Feb and March up until last week have been unseasonably warm, March was as warm or possibly warmer than June normally is. This week the temperature has dropped by over 20 degrees and will stay like this for the next week or so at least, my mare has been kept under artificial lights but can a change in temp slow down the process of foaling? Thank you again it is great to find someone who has the time and ability to answer these questions.
With her wax changing to white today, I wouldn't trust her alone for longer than it takes to go to the bathroom. The amount of wax doesn't necessarily mean anything as far as when she might foal. The color is much more important. A dramatic drop in temperature can sometimes seem to cause a delay in foaling, but usually only if it is quite cold to begin with and the temperature drops to an unreasonable level (like in the teens). I haven't noticed it slowing them down when the temperature is more moderate.
Shouldn't be much longer! Let me know.
Follow up by Penny on March 25, 2005:
Hi Theresa, After talking yesterday I had hoped that my next e-mail to you would be info on the new foal....instead, so sorry, I have another question. The mare did not foal last night and in taking her out of her stall this morning and checking her noticed that her secretions were once again honey like and there was more of it that Monday which was the last time she had this sort of secretion. Her hind end, vulva etc also don't seem as soft as they had been. Have you heard of this happening? Is this something that I should have my vet out for? Both yesterday and today she looks "less pregnant" which I had thought was the baby getting ready but now I'm not so sure. Thanks again for all of your help!!!!!
Not to worry. Mares are always throwing curves! :-) That's why I'm so hesitant to predict when they might foal. I really thought she was on track to get the job done. This is normal and could be due to the temperature change, which I didn't think would make much of a difference given that it wasn't really cold to begin with. I guess maybe the mare had a different opinion! She may go into a "holding pattern" now that can last from a day or so to maybe a week, although she could change her mind any old time (truly her hormones and not her mind) and things will speed up.
I hope she gets busy again soon!
Follow up by Penny on March 28, 2005:
Hi Theresa, She had the baby yesterday morning at 5:30...a gorgeous filly. I'll e-mail you some pics. Thank you so much for you help and time anyone who is even thinking about breeding a mare should have your book and the column is incredible. Take care!!!
I'm so happy that all went well. Thanks for letting me know and please do sent pictures. I will post one on my new website.
Enjoy that baby!
Submitted by Melody in Oregon on March 26, 2005:
Hi there, I happened upon your site by accident, and am very glad I did. Reading the questions and your responses helped put me more at ease while waiting for my 22 y/o Arabian mare to foal. She gave birth to a gorgeous bay (well, will really be grey like mama) filly at 3:30 this morning. My question is this: in utero, this filly from time to time seemed to have hiccups. She would spasmodically "jerk" like hiccups. That's the only way I can describe it. Some people say that they can have hiccups, but I have never known a horse that did. One vet told me it was probably the uterus contracting, that you wouldn't be able to feel the baby having hiccups if they really did. Anyway, since birth, the filly still has these occasional spasmodic jerks. Sometimes several in a row, sometimes just one or two. Also, she was born with her head slightly tilted to the right. I helped mama deliver her during contractions, and all went well. The filly seems very alert, attentive, playful, eating well, etc. The jerking thing bothers me. I called my vet, and she said that as long as the baby wasn't having seizures, it's probably okay. She said it's not abnormal in new foals. Also, the head is still slightly tilted to the right. My husband and I figured it's because of her position during birth. Any ideas? Should I get a second opinion with the jerking thing? Should I just give it time and see what happens? Thanks so much for being here, and for taking the time. You are a Godsend!
Yes, horses can have hiccups, but I agree with your vet that it is unlikely that you would be able to see that during pregnancy. I doubt that it was uterine contractions, either. I do agree with your vet, however, that newborn foals many times have the kind of jerking I think you are describing. I would just keep a watch on it for now. It usually goes away within a couple of days. If it doesn't, or if it gets worse, you should definitely talk to your vet again. I also agree with your husband that the filly's head tilt is most likely the result of how she was positioned in utero. This should resolve shortly as well. The combination of the jerking and head tilt does make me wonder about a neurological problem, but I think it's only a slight concern and will probably resolve on its own.
I hope this helps. Please let me know how the filly does, and congratulations!
Follow up by Melody on March 27, 2005:
Hi Theresa, Thanks so much for your quick reply. I know you're busy, and it really means a lot. Well, today I have a whole new set of problems. Windy (the foal) has diarrhea. Codee (the mare) is constipated. I still have the surveillance camera hooked up to my bedroom tv, and noticed when I awoke at 6am this morning that Codee was biting and kicking at her tummy, and hadn't had a bowel movement since Windy was born at 3:30 am yesterday morning. When I went out to check on her, Windy started squirting watery poop, and I made the call to the vet. She told me to give the mare a dose of Banamine and give the foal 50cc of Kaopectate, and to walk the mare until she could get here (which turned out to be 9am). It's typical Oregon spring here--about 40 degrees and raining. I'm so thankful I was smart enough to get the Weatherbeeta coat for Windy! Otherwise I would be worried about taking a 26 hour old foal out in the rain. But, Mama isn't going anywhere without Baby, so......
Doc got here at 9:15 am. She pulled a lot of very dry poop out of the mare, palpated for a possible uterine hematoma (she said she did not feel any prolapse or hematoma), and tubed her with 2 gals of water and 1 gal of mineral oil. She also gave the mare a shot for colic. Her temp was normal, 99.7. I have instructions to walk her for 10-15 mins every hour until she starts pooping on her own. So far, she has only passed a small piece of manure. Trish, the vet, told me to give Codee her grain (which is alfalfa pellets mixed 50/50 with Equine Senior and 1/2 c. corn oil) but to add water and salt, to try to get her to drink more. She feels that is the biggest problem, that for some reason she isn't drinking enough. Codee absolutely will not eat the mushy grain. She really wants hay, but Trish said only enough to nibble on until she starts passing stool.
Windy got the new foal exam, tetanus, an anti-diarrheal shot (Trish was very concerned about the foal having such watery diarrhea this early in the game), as well as pills I have to dissolve in water (I think it's Metronidezole--hard to read, since she wrote it with a Sharpie marker) 500 mg. 2x daily, VBG anti-diarrheal gel, Equibiz if the diarrhea still isn't cleared up (at 2:40 pm it still is not), and Probiotic to replace what she's losing. Even with the diarrhea, she is very alert, eating well, running, jumping, bucking, etc. She is a very active foal. Her temp when the vet was here was 101.5, which she says is normal for a foal, but to contact her if it gets higher. So far, so good. She's getting a whole different form of imprinting today! Her turn out blanket off and on several times, towel drying her head and neck, icky tasting stuff shot into her mouth and thermometer in the other end, and shots and blood drawn. Hey, I guess it's all good.
So, I know that's a lot. Sorry! What are your thoughts? Any other ideas? If the mare isn't pooping by 5pm I'm calling Trish back. What a fun way to spend Easter Sunday, huh? I hope yours is much better than ours. Thank you again for taking your precious time to read letters and try to keep people like me sane. You are so appreciated, and surely have ensured your spot in heaven for being such an angel of mercy! I'm going to order your book. Thanks again.
I agree with everything your vet said and did. It sounds like she is on top of the situation. I also agree that most likely a lot of your mare's problem is lack of water. I would be concerned about Windy's diarrhea as well and am very happy that Trish is responding appropriately. I will be anxious to see how they are doing.
Follow up by Melody on March 28, 2005:
Today I had to take Codee and WIndy to the hospital. Codee, the mom, has severe impaction. Windy, the 2 day old foal, is dehydrated and has diarrhea. Windy is doing pretty well. Codee is not. She is on major IV fluids, hoping that will help her pass the impacted stool. If it works, her gut will hopefully start functioning properly, and she will be okay. If not, since her small intestine is not functioning properly (one side is okay, the other is very sluggish), it may shut down. At her age (22) she is not a good candidate for the very risky small intestine surgery. I will lose her. Please say a prayer for us.
Oh, Melody, I'm so sorry.
I absolutely will be thinking about you and Codee. Sending good thoughts to Codee>>>>>
Follow up by Melody on March 29, 2005:
Hi Theresa, Thanks so much for your empathy and kind words. Codee was on IV fluids all night and actually seems a little better today. She had a very dry bowel movement last night, and a wetter one today. Now they just want to make sure she doesn't develop diarrhea! They said her small intestine function is better today, and they are very optimistic that she should recover from this; but, they are telling me that we're not out of the woods yet, just headed in that direction. Which is much better than what was going on last night! I spent 3 hours this morning at the hospital (Bend Equine Medical Center). While I was there they did another ultrasound to check Codee's small & large intestines (which were much better than yesterday), and also gave her via tube something with minerals and a sort of clay stuff that is supposed to absorb excess moisture and bacteria, to keep her from developing diarrhea. Hopefully by tomorrow Codee will start drinking on her own (she drank a little, but with so much IV fluid she's really not thirsty), and they can come home. Windy is doing a little bit worse today, but not traumatic. Her white blood cell count is down a little, as is her hydration. Mom's milk production isn't quite up to par, and Windy refuses to drink out of a bucket. So, also while I was there, Windy got knocked out, got a liter of IV fluids, and a more aggresive antibiotic. The docs said that usually when they see this type of medical problem with a 3 day old foal, they don't get to see the baby until they are on the ground, very weak and dehydrated. Windy was there at the hospital, and she's acting full of life, very alert and energetic, so we're getting a little ahead of the problem. They said they're very optimistic about her, too, but they let me know that very young foals like this can change drastically quite quickly, so not to think we're out of trouble with her, either. Her Ig G is fine today, which is good--she doesn't need plasma.
All this is very exhausting, mentally, spiritually, and physically! I don't know if I shared this with you, but Windy is named after my dear friend Windy Winter, who passed away last month. Windy was only 25 years young, and developed Acute Myeloid Leukemia. She loved my horses very much, and wanted to be here for the birth of little Miss Windy. She and I decided on the name when Windy was in ICU for pneumonia around Christmas time. I'm so thrilled to have a beautiful filly to name after my friend, and also freaked out that she also has a compromised immune system. Scary. But, Windy and Codee are where they need to be, and are getting round the clock care, so I will leave it in God's hands, because that's all I can do right now.
I still want to order your book; after all the raves, I'm sure it would be a great addition to my library. Unfortunately, I may have to wait a bit--my vet bill is already up to nearly $4,000, and we still have a ways to go. (Not including of course Trish's Easter Sunday visit!) Ah well, they are my babies, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I'm just so thankful that I knew what to look for, and I [hopefully] caught it in time. Codee is my dream horse. I cannot imagine losing her this way. Thanks again, Theresa, for your interest in my little saga. I literally spent hours reading your column on the internet in the hours leading up to the foaling. I learned a lot, and I feel like I know you! I'll keep you posted on the progress of my girls, and I really appreciate you.
I'm so glad to hear that Codee and Windy are both doing better! What a relief. Surely after being named for your friend, Windy will be okay.
Please keep me updated and I'm still sending good thoughts.
Follow up by Melody on March 31, 2005:
Hi Theresa, I brought them home from the hospital today. So far they both seem okay. Codee is eating, not voraciously, but she's eating. She needs to start drinking more, and producing more milk for Windy, and pooping, and I'll be happier! Windy requires 1/2 liter of IV fluids every 12 hours, plus some really nasty tasting antibiotics (Naxcel, Amikacin and Metronidazole) as well as Ranitidine antacid and Fast Track probiotic paste. She has a catheter in her neck for some of this. Friends helping hold her during these ordeals is a necessity! She is very feisty and full of herself. Yippee! A normal Arabian filly! At 4 days old, she has experienced a lot. She is still sweet. I'll let you know how it unfolds. I have to take them in Saturday for a re-check. Thanks again for your thoughts and well wishes.
What wonderful news, Melody!
Isn't it amazing how happy you can be over poop! It's good that Windy is so full of herself.
Please keep me updated on how they are doing and thanks for the good news!
Follow up by Melody on April 2, 2005:
Windy and Codee both have a clean bill of health. Codee still has to stay on the Ranitidine (antacid) for another 5 days or so, and I'm finishing with the probiotics until they're gone. But they removed the catheter from Windy's neck, and told me to go ahead and start feeding Codee her grain, so that she can produce more milk (although she's already much improved in that area!) Windy is full of youthful vitality and life. She runs like the wind, and is not afraid of anything. She is such a doll. I'm really going to have to pay attention and do my work with this little filly. She's very independent and strong. My kinda girl! YIPPEE! My babies are better! I am so happy. And so thankful that I knew what to look for (trouble signs). Thanks again for your moral support and thoughts.
That's great, Melody!
Thanks so much for letting me know and I'm so happy that your "girls" are both okay. With all that Windy has been through, she may be a handful, but she will always be very special and have a good relationship with people.
I hope you can just relax now and enjoy them!
Submitted by Rachel in Missouri on March 29, 2005:
Hi. I've been reading alot of your question and answers and I really think you can help me. I think I'm going to have a panic attack! I have a 6yr old maiden mare pasture bred march 21-27 2004.(also, now the stud owner swears she wasn't bred until April 7-12) But ALL the papers, calenders, notes I took last year say march, and I also had ultrsound schedule written down on my calender for April 12, that would have me taking her to the vet when she wasn't even back yet. But anyway here's my situation. Since I'm 99% sure she was bred in march (and counting from the last day) that would make Easter now 367 days pregnate. I noticed a little dribble of a cloudy discharge 3 days ago and she seemed a little restless.(She stays in the stall most of the time) Then the next day we started seeing her kick at her belly, swishing her tail, and sometimes rubbing her bottom on the stall wall. She's got a medium sized bag she made a little over a week ago. There's no wax or milk dripping. We have seen the babies feet moving where she's sunk in at the tailhead for a couple weeks, and now we see them right beside her rectum and when it bulges out she understandably gets uncomfortable. She's been kicking at her belly for 2 days and doesnt' seem like she's getting much further in her first stage. I let her out in the field today to get some fresh air and sun, but to me it looks like she would be kicking at her belly out there too but she doesn't. She does eat awhile then take off walking swishing her tail. The vet wants to induce her Tommorow but what if she wasnt bred until April? that would put her only 2 weeks over instead of a month. Is she wanting to induce her because she's been in the start of 1st stage labor for 3 days? She said she was worried because she's an hour away and if something went wrong it would take too long to get here. How long is normal to be kicking at there bellies and being uncomfortable? She felt hot earlier but not sweaty and her pulse was 68-72 beats a min. Is that also normal? Someone told me that the baby was in the wrong position and that's why she's acting the way she is. We have worn ourselves out keeping watch on her "knowing" she was going to have it any minute, we've been doing this for a month. Now that she's showing signs I thought it would be a day or so and we'd have a baby, but she doesn't seem any closer now than 3 days ago. Can you please help?
A mare with a heart rate in that range is generally pretty close to foaling, at least in my experience given nothing else is going on. I generally don't like for mares to be induced, but since your vet is so far away, I think that is best decided by the two of you. I have seen some mares kick at their bellies and act uncomfortable for months ahead and everything be okay. I think many times it depends more on the mare's personality than anything else. Some mares are more dramatic, some are more stoic. I wish I could give you more definitive answers, but it is very difficult to do so since I can't see your mare. Please keep me updated on what you decide and how the mare does. Oh--if you decide to have the mare induced, PLEASE make sure the vet stays until the foal is delivered.
I'll be waiting to hear from you.
Follow up by Rachel on March 30, 2005:
Thank you for answering my email. I stayed at the barn lastnight from 7:30-2:30a.m. watching her and she was kicking at her belly alot and swishing her tail. She'd get in the corner and just stand there for along time then start swishing and kicking then she'd go down. It looked to me like she was just resting(although quite noisily) but then she'd lay flat on her side and she'd pass gas everyonce in a while making me think maybe she was having small contractions. One time she also squirted some urine out. She'd stay down for 20 min or so laying flat then sitting up and laying flat. I'm so worried. I don't think her water has broke because she is very round when laying down and there's just a VERY light trickle that looks like urine that glistens now and then from her.I let her out in the field today and she acted normal again, but after 2 hours she came back to the barn and stood there. I saw her rectum bulging out and she'd start kicking at her belly. Then about 15 min. later she went back out and acted normal again. Also, I just went and checked on her and it's getting ready to storm BAD. She's so scared running back and forth in her stall, hollering and breathing very fast. I'm worried if she did have the baby that she'd trample it to death. I have anxiety attacks and storms set them off, I feel like I'm a bad mom to her because I'm too scared to go back right now and check on her. I'm going to see if my sister will check a little later. I'll keep you updated. Thanks a lot.
Everything you described sounds normal and, yes, very pregnant mares will sometimes dribble urine when they lie down because of pressure on the bladder. I hope you have a new baby soon.
Hang in there!
Follow up by Rachel on April 1, 2005:
Hello! I have an update on my mare! We went and checked on her at 4:30 this morning and there was the baby still really wet. It's a BEAUTIFUL buckskin paint colt and he's HUGE! I don't know how she passed him but she did. She's not ripped or anything, but she still has a foot long piece of the afterbirth hanging out. It's now 7:45a.m. and it's been there since 4. How long is typical of keeping that in? When should I be worried? I'm soooo relieved and happy! Thank you so much for your advice. Oh, she keeps almost stepping on him, and wanting to lay down too close to him, Should I be worried? Or will she realize she's on him? Thanks again.
I'm so glad everything went well. I hope you called the vet if the mare didn't expel the placenta soon after you wrote earlier. A good rule of thumb is that the vet should be called if the placenta hasn't been expelled at three hours. Some maidens are little sloppy about how they walk around their foals, but she should get better. I know it's scary, but there really isn't anything you can do about it without staying with them all the time. You just have to hope she pays attention and doesn't actually step on him or lie down on him. I have seen a couple of foals get stepped on (they were okay), but haven't seen a mare lie down on her baby. Chances are good that it will be okay.
Let me know if the mare expelled the fetal membranes.
Follow up by Rachel on April 1, 2005:
Well, it's now 8:15p.m. and Easter still hasn't passed the afterbirth. So that makes it 16 hours she's had it in. But I went to the vet and started the oxytocin, antibiotics and banamene around 11 a.m. It's only came out about a foot since 4a.m. I'm so worried, I'm sick. She's urinated and went to the bathroom a couple times, picks at her hay and is drinking water. Of course she gets uncomfortable when the oxytocin kicks in but I'm not seeing any immediat progress. I've called several different vets and some say they want to flush her and take it out in the morning and the others say they want to wait a little longer to see if it's coming out by itself because pulling it out hurts the mares uterus. Easter only had about a foot of afterbirth hanging out this morning and now it's about 2 feet. They said that was good progress for not having any weight on it. I'll let you know in the morning. Thanks.
If you haven't done so already, I would have a vet come out to see if the placenta can be removed. Many times it is just laying in there and is very easy to remove. This is especially true if the fetal membranes aren't putting any weight on the outside part to help gravity pull it out. Sometimes there is just a very small piece attached that can be gently teased loose. It is definitely worth having a vet check her. It's great that she's on antibiotics and Banamine. That should keep her from getting sick.
Please let me know.
Follow up by Rachel on April 2, 2005:
Well it's going on 30hours and she still has not expelled it. The vet will be at the barn shortly to get it out. I had to call another vet in to do it because the one I was already working with can't make it. I'm upset because when I talked to him the first thing he said was "I wouldn't have been playing around with this" and "Why didn't you have it removed yesterday" I promptly told him I wasn't playing around with anything and that I knew how serious it was. I told him I'd been following the other vets directions and she told me to let the mare try to get it out herself with the oxytocin shots. If she didn't pass it by this morning to get it removed. I told him I waited until 8a.m.(it had only been hanging there for 4hrs then) I called the vet, followed her directions, drove an hour to get the meds. and have done everything she told me. He was kinda rude and acted like I didn't care about my mare. I had to bite my tongue because the only vet in town today and I need him to help me. Oh!! Like I needed any more stress! Also, the mare still isn't producing enough milk to satisfy the baby so we're getting FoalLac powder. The vet said goats milk would be better but I don't know who I'd borrow a goat from. I'll let you know how it went. Thanks a lot.
I think you're right that you have no choice but to bite your tongue for your mare's sake. One thing, though, if he looks like he is putting a lot of force on the placenta to get it out, step up and make him stop. If he is gentle and just teasing it out, that's okay. I absolutely disagree about goat's milk being better than Foal-Lac formula. Foal-Lac is specifically formulated for foals. Obviously, goat's milk is not. The foal probably won't want to drink the formula after nursing. Be persistent with a bottle or a bucket. The foal is able to drink out of a bucket even at this age.
I'm sorry the vet gave you such a hard time. You have certainly done everything correctly. The first vet should have come when you called initially. That's not your fault. Keep giving the mare the antibiotics and Banamine as prescribed. That's especially important. Once the placenta is removed, there is a good chance that her milk production will pick up.
Please keep me updated.
Follow up by Rachel on April 2, 2005:
Boy have we had a hard day! The vet came out and sleeved Easter and pulled on the afterbirth (I wasn't there, I was too scared to go)But my fellow horsewoman (my twin)went in my place. He put firm pressure on it and it wouldn't budge then he inspected her uterus. He then informed us that she had a prolapsed uterus, that a piece of the small intestine had pushed in the uterus after a tear. He didn't finish with the afterbirth and left saying there wasn't anything he could do for us and to get her to Jackson MO to the hospital. We looked for several hours for a horsetrailer to get her up there. All the vets I called said there was a very slim chance she'd make it, we all were so sick, tired, sad and cried all day. We got the horsetrailer and loaded the mare and baby and headed out. Well, luck would have it the other vet I called was coming to my town(we'd called him earlier but didn't want to wait for him to drive an hour to get here)but he came by the barn anyway and my friend happen to see him drive by when we stopped to change the license on the trailer. We turned around since he was already there. Well, by the time we got back to the barn she had dropped the afterbirth. He sleeved her and told us he didnt' feel any tears or intestines anywhere. When he was doing this she urinated out like 2 gallons of pee, so he said he was pretty sure it was her bladder the other vet felt. He put antibiotic cream in her, gave her somemore oxytocin and banamine. I almost passed out from relief, I can't explain how happy I am that she's o.k. All the praying we all did paid off. That was the most scariest day of my horse life, I thought I was going to lose my sweet Easter. She'll be sore for awhile but we'll get her through that. We got some FoalLac and tried to get the baby to eat but he didn't want anything to do with it. He gets just a little bit of milk when he nurses from his mother, he gets so mad and butts her with his head. I hope he'll take up with the formula, I don't want him getting weaker. How do we get him used to it? What's the best way to get him to take it? Thank you so much for your help.
Oh my, Rachel!
You have had a day! I wondered about that vet when he said goat's milk was better for foals. I'm so relieved that the other vet saw the mare before you hauled her to the hospital. She should be just fine now! You may have to feed the foal with a syringe. To give him formula with a syringe, you'll have to get him in a corner (butt in the corner) and squeeze about 5cc of formula at a time into the corner of his mouth. Do it slowly or he'll inhale it and that will cause problems. Wait until he swallows and give him another 5cc. If a foal is truly hungry, it will soon decide that the formula is okay and start drinking it. I would expect Easter's milk production to pick up soon since her problems are over with.
Thanks for letting me know about Easter and please keep me updated on how the foal does.
Submitted by Karen in Georgia on March 30, 2005:
Theresa, Follow up to my question from March 20. Have mare due any day bred to stud , friend has now lost another foal out of the same stud. We are thinking two very sad coincidences but have spoken to my vet and we are going to go ahead and give glucose anyway. The second foal she lost seemed to have ruptured his bladder, her vet gave her a hard time so she did not have a necropsy done. His belly got swollen and he would cry and then run wildly. My vet seems to think that it could possibly be something in the soil in Co, and if that is the case, hopefully this mare has been away from there long enough so that the effects will not be bad. Right now we are waiting and watching. She is following her "manual" to the letter so by this weekend we should have our baby.
Since the problems were so different, I think it's a terribly sad and unfortunate coincidence. I don't know about the soil in Colorado. Maybe there's something going on there that I don't know about.
I don't see a connection and don't feel that there is anything to greatly worry about.
Submitted by G.C. in Oregon on March 31, 2005:
Hi Theresa: Have a 22 yr. old TB mare due to foal in 4 days. Things look right on schedule. However, she takes a long,long time to get up after foaling, which is understandable. And no way to get her up till she's ready. "What is the best way to address this situation, concerning the need for immediate blood supply to the foal & the natural break of the umbilical cord when mare rises"? If I may, a couple more questions: 1) "What are your thoughts on giving foal 5 cc's of pennicillin directly after birth to head off infection"? and 2) Mare was vaccinated for everything at breeding time but not again prior to this impending birth, so, all she has been vaccinated for is Rhino, therefore, "how soon can you give Tetanus antitoxin following birth for both mare & foal"? Look forward to hearing from you! Thanks.
There is absolutely no problem with the mare staying down after she foals. When the foal kicks away from the mare in its first efforts to stand, the umbilical cord will break. It is actually best if the mare stays down for awhile to give the umbilical cord time to collapse and seal off before it breaks. The biggest concern is the mare getting up too soon and breaking the cord before it is ready, which allows bleeding from the foal's umbilical stump. It doesn't sound like you will have that problem. I see no reason to give a foal penicillin. The worst "bugs" that it needs immunity against are the ones that naturally occur in the environment. The mare's colostrum should provide that. Antibodies from vaccinations are important, but not as important as the ones from things in the environment. Tetanus vaccinations are good for a year, so the foal should get some immunity from the mare for tetanus. However, you are pushing a year, so it would be good to give tetanus antitoxin to the foal. It is usually best to wait until after the foal has nursed to give the tetanus antitoxin. You can give it right away, but it only seems fair to let the foal get a little acclimated before sticking it with a needle.
Please let me know how everything goes!
Submitted by Mariah in the USA on March 28, 2005:
Hi. I asked you a few questions before about my mare that I got when she was pregnant and well she is finally waxing and is showing all the signs. her stomach is low her tail sinking and kicking at her stomach. we go out there and still nobaby is she waiting for peace and qiuet or is she not ready.i go out there 3 or 4 times a day and 1 ime at night. should we just not go out there unless we really need to. How many days after waxing does it take for the baby? w really never had a pregnant horse so were all kindascared but confident in her. she had 3 babys before so we relly think she ill do fine. if u could answer the questios above then that would be grea. my one friends horse that our horses was at had a filly. well thanks so much bye
I don't think you are disturbing the mare. Many mares foal with people present. I would keep checking her and if you want to be with her for the delivery, you should stay all the time since it sounds like she if very close to foaling. I will check tomorrow to see if you have a baby yet!
I hope all goes well.
Follow up by Mariah on March 31, 2005:
Hi yes we did have a baby. It was baby girl.my mom wanted me to ask you when the baby can start eating grain cuz the filly is very intrested in her moms food didh when we feed her? also the baby eats and then sprawls out in the stall. hould the baby lay for a bt. she never lays long but when she lays she is sprawled out and asleep.the mother makes sure she gets up. so i don't think thres no problem but my family never had a baby horse so this is new for us. also for one last question what would you do if you got a hyper gelding and well your mare and the gelding get along and can't go out without each other.but then the mare has a baby. should we just hld the baby with a halter and lead then let the mother and gelding go or put the gelding in and just hold the mare and baby, or just let them all go? He runs at her and bucks and jumps so i don't really want the baby going out there.pleaseanswer these questions i'm so confused.
thanks a lot.
I'm so glad everything went well with the birth of your filly. The filly should absolutely lie down to sleep. A foal that doesn't lie down is generally sick. Most of the time, they don't stay down for longer than about twenty minutes. I wouldn't feed the filly grain until she is at least a month old. If she wants to eat out of her mother's feed tube, that's fine. Just don't give her any extra of her own yet. You should not turn the mare and foal out with the gelding. There could be big trouble. With her new baby, the mare most likely won't care that she isn't with her friend. If you have only one area for turnout, turn the gelding out separately from the mare and foal. You need to do this until the foal is a couple of weeks old at least.
I hope this helps and enjoy your baby!
Submitted by Christa in Queensland, Australia on April 2, 2005:
I just discovered your wonderful website and it has answered some questions already just by reading what others have experienced and with your responses. I have 5 mares in foal 2 due in September(this is our spring) and the other 3 in December. I have never seen a foal born so it's all new to me. Of particular concern is our arabian mare who has had 2 miscarriages at 6mths and 9 mths. Prior to this she had delivered 5 live foals. She is a very emotional horse and stresses easily if her environment changes frequently (which happened when she was in foal last time and lost it at 6 mths her previous owner tells me). The time she lost her previous foal was when she was in a paddock with another mare and the girl took her out of the paddock for a ride and was away all day and came back and found Tiffany in a lather of sweat with the foal dead on the ground.(her previous owner tells me). She is happy sharing a paddock with 3 of our other mares in foal but we were advised to put her on progesterone similar to Regumate shortly after she was serviced and to continue on weekly injections until day 180. From some of the information I have read on your forum it seems that the mares deliver shortly after coming off the progesterone. Could you please advise me further as I am concerned about ceasing her progesterone. Thanks so much.
Thank you for your kind words about the column. I'm glad it has helped. Most mares do not need supplemental progesterone after 180 days because the placenta should have taken over producing progesterone at that point. Some mares require progesterone for their entire pregnancies. Those are the ones that deliver shortly after coming off progesterone. The only way to know for sure which is the case with your mare is to have her progesterone level checked before you discontinue the injections. It is always safest to have any mare's progesterone level checked at that point just to be sure she is producing enough on her own. I certainly hope this mare carries to term for you. It sounds as though you have done everything possible to be sure she does.
Please stay in touch and let me know how everything goes with all of your mares.
Submitted by Lois on March 29, 2005:
Note: Lois had obviously written previously, but I can�t find her original message.
You were right; she has now gone over her due date. Also, her bag is almost completely gone down. When I squeeze the nipple, nothing comes out. I have read on your website that some mares don't get the milk until after the birth and am hoping that is the case with this mare. She is also in the pasture with another mare that is due any day now. This is her 3rd foal and has always given signs such as heavy waxing and streaming milk the night of or the day before foaling. We allow all our mares to foal in the pasture and are present during most of the births. If it looks like the 2nd mare is about to foal, do you think we should put the other mare in the barn just to be safe? Thank you so much for your advice.
Sorry to hear that the mare hasn't made more progress. They sure can be trying, can't they? :-) If you think the second mare is getting ready to foal, I do believe it would be safest to put the other mare in the barn.
Please keep me updated on how they both do.
Follow up by Lois on April 1, 2005:
Well, it's April Fool's Day and still no babies. I wanted to ask you about a round place about the size of a small plate on the bottom of one pregnant mare's stomach. It is soft and when pushed it stays indented for approximately 30 seconds. I asked my vet (he has not seen the mare) and he stated it is edema. What causes this condition and is there need for concern?
Sorry you don't have an April Fool's Day baby! :-) I agree that it sounds as though your mare has edema. Not a problem. It's normal and just due to being very heavily pregnant. It will most likely be gone within a day after the mare foals. It's similar to women's ankles swelling in late pregnancy.
Let me know how it goes.
Follow up by Lois on April 11, 2005:
Sorry I haven't responded earlier but am very busy with 2 new babies!! The older mare foaled around 9:30 p.m. on April 3rd. We were present during the birth and were able to imprint the baby and the maiden mare was also present. We finally made it back to the house around 11:30 p.m. The next morning my husband went out to feed and the maiden mare was showing off her new baby that she had all by herself!! We found the afterbirth right in her stall doorway so we're thinking she probably had it in the stall. She wasn't too sure about the nursing thing but has come a long way in the last week. Her baby had a little diarrhea yesterday but none today so far and I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I am so proud of her and the baby is just beautiful!! She is thin but very long legged so she should be a big girl one day. Thank you so much for all your advice and patience with me. I will definitely refer all my horse friends to your website. I will try to send pictures later.
Two in one night is a great way to get the job done! I'm so happy that all went well. Thanks for letting me know.
Enjoy your babies!
Submitted by LouAnn in Texas on Marcy 29, 2005:
I have 2 mares both overdue by a week. One is a first timer but other than a bag she is not showing a lot of signs. She is HUGE but not dilating. The other mare has had 2 foals before we bought her. She is up and down; pinking then drawing up, been loose in the rear end for days, but not dripping and still eating. When do I get concerned? Had a friend recently loose both a mare and foal due to a breach delivery. Maybe I�m just a little paranoid at this point.
I bet you are paranoid with the loss of your friend's mare and foal. However, nothing you described sounds abnormal and it seems that a lot of mares are going over due this year. I try to take my cues from the mares--as long as they are eating, drinking, and acting okay, I don't worry too much. Please let me know how they do,
Follow up by LouAnn on April 4, 2005:
My first time mare foaled around 2:00a.m. on April 4th. She was 13 days past her last breeding date and showed no signs prior to foaling. We were checking every 2 hours and discovered the palomino filly still wet but on her feet and refusing to go down. The other mare is still holding on.
One down and one to go. Maybe since the first one foaled, the other will decide it's about time for her to go, too.
Congrats again and please let me know about the next one!
Follow up by LouAnn on April 7, 2005:
HE'S HERE!!!! A very large creamello stud colt was born around midnight on the sixth. Now I can get some sleep. The mare showed no signs; never even dripped, and she was 15 days past her last breeding date.
It sounds like he was worth the wait! Thank so much for letting me know and enjoy that baby (and getting some sleep)!
Submitted by Linda on April 5, 2005:
I have a five year old maiden Saddlebred mare. Recently we moved her and her two gelding companions to a new farm, where she is separated and with other females. This is good, because she has been very showy about her heat in the past. When I moved her, the older German lady who owns the farm and breeds and races thoroughbreds checked her out and remarked to me, "Did you know your little mare has had a foal?" I was floored! So, I emailed the breeder and she assured me that June had never been bred. I bought her directly from them, and except for a training period where she was kept in a single stall where she could not have come in contact with a stallion, that is it! This lady declared she can tell because the mare's nipples are not flat up against her tummy, but somewhat elongated (maybe an inch or so). What do you think? Is she crazy or is this not always a true form of detection of prior pregnancy? June is currently in heat again. Thanks so much. I hope to breed June someday to a beautiful American Saddlebred stallion, and I'd like to know everything about her history.
The way the mare's nipples look isn't always a good indicator of whether or not she has had a foal. Some maidens have pretty large nipples and some mares who have had foals have tiny nipples that you would swear had never been nursed from. Since the previous owner assured you that the mare has never been bred, I wouldn't worry about it at all.
I hope this helps.
Submitted by Debbie in California on April 5, 2005:
Hi, I have a question about a 5 year old maiden who was due to foal March 23. She waxed (her bag is still kind of small but it does feel tight) for a day and a half last tues. and wen. And over her tail was very soft, vulva long and relaxed. Also I saw the baby move a lot and her belly dropped about two week ago. Her mood changed and she became overly sweet she paced and was very restless. I thought she would foal but it is now a week later and her vulva is small and no wax, her mood has changed, when I'm outside the stall she rests her head on my shoulder but when I go in she pins her ears back and doesn't want me to touch her belly or rear end. She isn't eating very much I am feeding mare and foal feed and a flake of hay in the morning and night, she finishes the feed but never the hay. I see her belly jump, so I believe the baby is ok. Last saturday she layed down and seemed to be straining then again yesterday she did this twice. I'm watching this on camera and thinking this has got to be it but nothing, she just rolls and gets back up. This morning she layed down again about the same time but no straining. I feel like I'm going crazy, also I let a friend come in her stall last wen. and that was the last I saw of the waxing so I am wondering if she is able to hold off on foaling this long because of that? I have a call into my vet but haven't heard from her yet. I'm sorry this is so long. Thank you so much!!!!
It is kind of unusual for a mare to wax for a couple of days and then stop for this long, but chances are very good that everything is okay. I don't believe that your friend going in the stall had anything to do with it. Have you had a change in air temperature there? Sometimes a drop in temperature will cause a reaction like this. Also, maiden mares can do some pretty wacky things. I don't know if they sometimes have erratic hormone bursts or what, but they seem to do things that mares who have had foals before rarely do. The mare lying down and seeming to strain is not at all unusual. She just can't get comfortable while she's down because of pressure from the foal. It's good that you have a call in to the vet, but I really think everything is okay. Nothing you described really throws up red flags.
Please stay in touch and let me know how everything goes.
Follow up by Debbie on April 5, 2005:
Thank you for getting back with me so quickly! I talked to my Vet last night and she doesn't seem to think there is anything to worry about yet. We have had weather changes but it has gotten warmer and has been very windy and then it will cool off again. We have had very strange weather, with more rain than we have had in a long time. Hopefully that is what is going on. Again thank you so much for writing back so quickly. I will let you know when I have a baby.
I'm glad your vet agreed. I know that has to make you feel better. I would bet that your weather is playing a role in the mare's changes. Please do let me know how she does!
Hang in there.
Submitted by Donna in Kentucky on April 8, 2005:
first of all i would like to tell you i just love your colum, it is great.well i was wandering if you could give me some information. i have a mare that is 7 years old, she is pregnant, but we have no ideal when she got, she was running with the other horses. she is part burchent,and part rocky mountain she is a big horse.well what i was wandering about she has like crystals on her teats.how long will she do this? i can see the colt moving real good at her sides especially while she is eating.she hasn't gotten real big in her vulva yet.i was wandering how close do you think she may be? she looked like her belly dropped a little last weekend.her sack hasn;t started to bag up much. she has had 3 colts. i'm new a this..any information would be greatly apprciated........thanks.
It really is impossible for me to say when the mare might be due to foal. The crystals you are seeing on her udder really don't mean anything. Even mares who are not in foal sometimes have those. Watch for her udder to get big and pretty firm. Since she's had other foals, I would expect that to happen. You may also see waxing or milk dripping before she foals, although that doesn't always happen. Since she hasn't developed much of an udder yet, chances are that she has a month, give or take, to go.
Thanks for your kind words about the column. Please let me know how she does.
Follow up by Donna on April 9, 2005:
hello theresa,its me again thanks for the information you gave me on my mare.but i have another question to ask you,well first of all my mare is 7 years old. she has had 3 colts before.we just don't know when she got with colt. well i went and checked on her this morning and she had a little bit of a bloody discharge,and her udders are back further along her back legs, is this normal?she is still eating good.we took her out of the pasture last sunday,and put her in a stall.she has plenty of room to walk around.the colt looks like it is down somewhat today.her vulva is changing shapes.on her back legs they have sunken in. any information appriciated. thanks keep up the good work i love you colum,it is ausome.
Everything sounds normal. As long as the bloody discharge is just a little bit, it's okay. Sounds like she's making progress. All you can do is keep watching for more changes and differences in how she acts.
Keep me updated on how she does.
Submitted by Orlena in Saskatchewan, Canada on April 11, 2005:
Dear Theresa Hey Orlena here me horse is about 5 years old but is really small. I bottle fed her when she was little and last year our stud got out and bred her. I'm really scared that she is too small to have a foal. My older brother said she should foal right away but i dont know what to look for and i want to be there when she has it so i can help if she is having problems. Im mostly just worried about everything this is her first foal and i was wondering if you could thoroughly describe to me what to look for. P.S she is with 2 other mares that are also going to foal.
It took a couple of chapters of a book to thoroughly describe what to look for. The best thing you can do is read the column. There is a lot of information that will help you tremendously. The biggest things to look for are full udder, maybe waxing or dripping milk, relaxation of muscles around the hips, elongation of the vulva, and behavioral changes. If you have specific questions after you read the column, I will be happy to answer them.
I hope this helps some.
Follow up by Orlena on April 12, 2005:
Hello My dad says she should foal by the 15th of April so how often should i check her?? i have to go to school also so im afraid i might miss it
Check her as often as you possibly can and watch her for a few hours every evening. That's all you can do.
Please let me know how she does.
Follow up by Orlena on April 12, 2005:
Hello sorry t otrouble you again tonight bu i just want to say thank you for evrything if it weren't for you i dont know what i would have done she hasnt foaled yet but i go out all the time THANK-YOU!
You're very welcome, Orlena.
Please do let me know how things go.
Follow up by Orlena on April 18, 2005:
HEY! Jsut to let you know on April 17 my mare gace birth to a beautiful black and white paint filly. i named her Dicey. Anne is a great mom but at first she didnt know what to do beccause her herslef didnt have a mom i bottle fed her but after about 3 hours the mother thing kicked in and now the y are both doing great! It seems Anne didn't need my help after all!!! its awesome
That's just the kind of news I like to have! I'm so glad everything went well and that Anne is being a good mom.
Enjoy your new baby and thanks for letting me know!
Submitted by Melissa in South Dakota on April 12, 2005:
I don�t think I have time to order your book before foaling but I would like to have it for the next one. I have a maiden QH mare that is 5 she was last covered on May 1st. She is 345 days today but she started her bag 2 months ago. For the last week and a half has been secreting colostrum and her bag and it is full and hard and warm to the touch. She has been waxing for 2 weeks is all of this normal? I am just getting a little worried that she has not had her baby yet. We stall her at night when the weather is rainy and cold but other wise we leave her out we sectioned off part of her pasture until the grass started coming up, should we maybe give her the whole pasture to run? Is lack of that maybe holding up her progress. This is our first baby and I am thinking it might be our last for a while. I just would like to know if this is normal or I should I be concerned she hasn�t foaled yet? I called my vet a couple days ago but he still hasn�t gotten back to me.
Thank you for any advise you can give me
Although it isn't usual for a mare to wax for two weeks, I wouldn't call it abnormal. It most likely doesn't mean that anything is wrong, especially in a maiden mare. Sometimes it seems that their hormones are a little out of whack and they don't necessarily do things in a predictable manner. I would not let the mare out on the whole pasture at this point. It is better to keep her close. 345 days is still well within the range of normal, so as long as she is acting, eating, and drinking okay for a miserably pregnant mare, I wouldn't be worried.
Please let me know how she does.
Follow up by Melissa on April 12, 2005:
Thank you very much I will let you know how she does. She is the first horse I bought for myself and I am just worried about her. I know 350 is considered full term and they can be pregnant for a year. But she seems miserable she wont leave my side and she is really gassy and now when the baby moves if you are touching her she turns her head, swishes her tail and stomps her foot like she is swatting a fly. our pasture she is in is only about 2 acres and we can see her from our house where she is now is blocked by our barn.
Although she is miserable, that all sounds "normally" miserable. If you can see the whole pasture from your house, then it would be okay to let her go out there. Just be very careful about too much grass at once.
Please keep me updated.
Follow up by Melissa on April 19, 2005:
We have our baby we let her out in all of the pasture yesterday at 10 am and by 2 pm we had a beautiful little palomino stud colt. All she needed to do was run to get the baby in position. Thank you so much for your help. She went 353 days. Even though it was her first baby she was like an old pro.
I'm so glad everything went well. Thanks so much for letting me know. Now you can just relax and enjoy that new baby.
Submitted by Debbie on April 13, 2005:
Hi Theresa, Due to a mucus looking discharge with slight tinge of blood around her vulva I called my vet. She did a vaginal and rectal exam. While performing the vaginal exam there was a bloody mucus looking substance on her exam glove. Her cervix is small and slightly open (she could get one finger in it) On the rectal exam she felt the foals hind legs no movement due to the sedative. We are treating her with SMZ antibiotic and Banamine. My mare is 260 days pregnant. I have read your book and information on vaginal discharge and Placentitis, my mare does not have the symptoms of Placentitis but the vet said it is possible. If she is in the beginning stages of Placentitis how quickly could she progress with aborting her baby? Thanks
The bloody, mucous-looking substance could have been part of the mare's mucous plug. She obviously shouldn't be expelling that at this point. If the mare has placentitis, your vet is right on with her treatment. It's a good to treat this way just in case. With proper treatment, most cases of placentitis clear up and the pregnancy will continue normally. If placentitis is your mare's problem, I would say there is a very good chance that everything will be okay. I really don't know how long it takes for them to progress to abortion. The reason is that any mare I was taking care of that was suspected to have placentitis was treated very quickly. The ones I saw with the vet I worked with that had placentitis were too far gone by the time the vet was called. Those owners didn't watch their mares very closely and so had no idea when symptoms started. As I said, if placentitis is your mare's problem, I think you have a very good chance of everything being okay. I guess it wouldn't be right if I didn't say that there could be something else going on that the treatment won't help. I certainly hope that isn't the case.
Please keep me updated on how she does.
Follow up by Debbie on April 14, 2005:
Thank you so much for your quick reply to my e-mail. I always think about more questions for my vet after he has left, and getting him on the phone is a little difficult. I have called and left a message yesterday and still haven't heard from him. The vet tech told me not to worry and stop reading books. Since I'm just the backyard breeder I feel like I should educate myself as much as possible. Your book has explained situations about the foaling process in a way that is easy to understand. I have a more detailed book that I often set aside. I will keep you informed as to my mare's situation. Hopefully she will progress with a normal pregnancy and everything will be fine
(I hope and pray) You definitely gave me hope yesterday. Thanks again and again!!!!!!!!!!
You're very welcome, Debbie.
I think it is a very unenlightened vet tech who thinks people shouldn't read books. As far as I'm concerned, your questions are right on and very good. You have (good for you) and should continue to educate yourself. I have always felt that if you have no idea what's going on, you cannot be as helpful to your animals as you would like to be. I'm glad my book has been good for you. That was my goal--to cover a lot, but to make it easy to understand. I remember what it was like to be totally in the dark and hated it. I just wanted to help other people not feel that way.
Please keep me updated on how your mare does.
Submitted by Dawne in South Dakota on April 13, 2005:
Dear Theresa, Thanks for this great forum! I have spent a couple of days reading through questions and replies. I recently bought a Palomino QH mare. She is 4 and this is "our" first baby. Her due date was about a month out from the day she arrived at our house last week. However, the previous owner said she may have been bred earlier than that. While reading questions on your website I ran across something that said it was best not put the mare into a new environment during the last couple of weeks so I've become unnerved about the effect that might have on her. Initially I felt she would be better off with me because I knew I could put her in for foaling and where she lived before she was going to be foaling outside. It turns out she doesn't like the barn at all but it has been pouring rain here for the past 4 days with rain in the forecast for the next several days! I noticed her bag had come down a lot a few days ago and so I have kept her inside day and night while it is raining. Her stall is very spacious and bedded down well with straw. She has calmed down a lot but I wish I could turn her out during the day. I don�t know what to do. Last night I thought for sure that she was going to foal! Her bag was waxy and the nipples were down. In the time I was with her she had what I "thought" were some contractions... because she bore down hard and cranked her tail around to the side and had a heavy white discharge at least 3 or 4 times. She was pawing and rubbing her butt up against the stall walls. I don't feel like she has shown any signs of relaxing the muscles around the tailbone or croup and she doesn't look dropped, so that kind of contradicts some of this other stuff she is exhibiting. This morning she is still doing it. And it is still raining and I don't know whether to call in sick to work... or if this could go on for days? Well�writing that has made me realize I should definitely call a vet to just to put my mind at ease for the morning! However, if you could let me know your thoughts on her "housing" situation and how detrimental it is for her to be 1.) on a new farm this close to delivery and 2.) in a barn day and night versus being left out in the rain. I would also appreciate if you could tell me what the milky white discharge is and what it might indicate? I am pretty sure I read the answers to some of these questions a few days ago�but now to go back and find them again- whew! I couldn't seem to locate them! Sorry to have to make you repeat yourself! Thank you
First--everything sounds perfectly normal. Second--thank you for actually reading the column! The white discharge you saw could have been some of the mucous plug being expelled. The behavior you have seen is most likely due to the foal being in a position that is uncomfortable for the mare. Maiden mares are particularly dramatic about this because they don't understand the discomfort they are feeling. Don't worry about the change in environment. As long as the mare has settled in, I wouldn't be a bit concerned. The next biggest concern is giving the mare's body time to make antibodies to the new environment to pass on to the foal in her colostrum. However, most of the worst "bugs" are everywhere, so the foal should get what it needs. If it isn't too cold, it's fine to turn the mare out in the rain as long as you can be there to see that she doesn't decide to foal in the rain and mud. She'll get used to being in the barn and when she is close to foaling will probably even be glad to be in the barn. I think you're right to keep her in when it's raining and you can't be there to keep an eye on her. I hope I got it all--I'm kind of rushed this morning. If I forgot anything, please ask again. Also, please keep me updated on how both of you are doing.
Follow up by Dawne on April 14, 2005:
Theresa, I want to thank you for such a quick reply! That was certainly unexpected -- I can only imagine how busy you are! I am truly amazed at the kindness and patience you have with answering so many people's questions and concerns - handling each individual with the same kindness as if you had just been asked a question for the first time and not the thousandth! lol
My 4 year old maiden mare - whom I believed to be delivering 3 nights ago has suddenly become a very different horse as though she wasn't even pregnant at all. Except for her bag coming down in the evenings a bit more each time she really doesn't even have much of a belly. I was glad to find a thread of questions and responses from an individual on your advice column that addressed every one of my questions... this individual's mare apparently put HER through all the paces (so to speak) just as I am now experiencing. I followed the thread of questions and answer through a course of about two weeks and all the while I am relating to all of her observations and questions ... but!.... in the end, she never said how it turned out.. if the mare foaled or not. Right now I am very concerned that my mare may have actually lost her foal. As I mentioned in my previous email, she came to my house a week ago with about a week to four weeks of pregnancy remaining. I had some concerns about .........I apologize terribly for the length of this! And thanks so much for your great advice column.. I'll keep on reading it!
You're very welcome! As long as the mare continues to have udder development, I would expect that all is well and she is still pregnant. As far as her belly size goes, maiden mares can hide a whole lot of foal since they haven't been stretched out before. If you have any doubt, though, it would probably ease your mind greatly to have a vet check her. It is safe to do a rectal palpation on a mare even at this point. As I know you have read, maiden mares can really be something else to try to figure out.
Keep me updated on how things are going.
Follow up by Dawne on April 15, 2005:
Hello, I just wanted to write and let you know that my palomino mare gave birth to a big healthy bay filly during the night! What a huge relief! I thought my mare was going to tear the barn down last night pawing and pacing! I wondered to myself at midnight if she looked like she had dropped and when I went out early this morning the foal looked like it had already had plenty of experience trying out her new legs - she was clean and dry and showed off by doing a little sprint and a buck! Angel (mom) is finally calm and perhaps experiencing her first rest since she arrived here a week ago today! I'm so thankful that mom and baby are doing so well! These animals are truly amazing. Thank you for your patience and reassurances!
I guess a vet check to be sure the mare is in foal isn't necessary! :-) I'm so relieved that everything went well. Those maidens really can pack a lot of foal in there, can't they! Thanks so much for letting me know. I'm glad Angel can finally rest and I know you're going to have a great time with the new baby.
Submitted by Amanda in Michigan on April 14, 2005:
Hi I wrote you a couple weeks back on my mare Lady, she hasn't has her foal yet and we are all waiting around, we are keeping the light on and checking her night and day. She is 345 days along and her udders are full, we have her stall mate Pepper who is a gelding and she sometimes seems annoyed with him. She also often goes in the barn is this to be alone?? And also, what happens if my mare goes 365?? Should the vet be called.
Your mare being at 345 day is still perfectly normal. Getting to 365 is still a long way off. As long as she is eating, drinking, and acting okay for a miserably pregnant mare, everything is most likely just fine. I would say that, yes, the reason she goes in the barn is go be alone. This is very typical of mares that are getting close to foaling.
Keep doing what you've been doing and hang in there! It will all be worth it when you hear that baby nicker for the first time!
Follow up by Amanda on April 20, 2005:
UpDate: Hi I just wanted to let you know that my horse Lady had foaled at 3:00am this morning right when a storm was blowing in! I saw what appeared to be a dried up drip of milk on her teat Tuesday afternoon and sure enough later on that day she was dripping again! We stalled her at night feed her and let her be for a while. Couple hours prior to the foaling Lady keep rubbing up against her stall itching or something. Sure enough she couldn't wait any longer and her water broke and the baby came within minutes. It's a jet black girl with spunk we where imprinting her and she just wanted to get up and walk! Vet checked her and said everything seems to be fine! So thanks for everything! Happy Birthday Page!
I'm so glad that everything went okay. Good for you for observing her so well!
Thanks for letting me know and enjoy that new baby!
Submitted by Bonnie in Wisconsin on April 18, 2005:
Hello i have a question last night we had a mare foal and i thought that i might be a red bag delivery. the thing is her water broke and the then we saw one foot come out. as i progressed we saw the placenta coming out and it was red the foal wasnt moving and i helped to deliver the foal. then when the mare stud up the placenta broke and never broke the umbilical cord. did i do something wrong or does this happen sometimes. also i love reading you column and it has helped me a lot in foaling our mares.
You absolutely didn't do anything wrong. You can't help it if part of the placenta detaches prematurely. You did just right by getting the foal delivered. Congratulations on your good work!
Enjoy your baby!
Submitted by Desiree in the Netherlands on April 19, 2005:
Hi Theresa, Your page has undergone quite a facelift! It looks great! I've been in touch with you before about my mare, who has the nerve-wrecking habit of going a month late ... I wish she had done the same this year. We sadly lost her foal in a red bag delivery which has left me with a lot of questions. I am hoping you could shed some light on them. My mare is 19 years old this year. She had a foal when she was about 12. She was not mine at the time, but they told me it was 2 1/2 weeks late. She did it unattended and looked like the birth had been difficult. However: she and the colt were fine. She had another colt two years ago that she carried for 359 days (aaarrrgh). We were there when she gave birth. The delivery was tough, but mother and colt were fine. This year she started to look uncomfortable at 328 days. She started to carry her tail away from her behind and distanced herself from the other horses. Her muscles had not softened, and her body did not look "ready". Her bag was not full yet and she had not waxed or dripped milk (she did with her previous foal). That night on day 329 she circled her stall a couple of times, pawed a bit, lied down and started to push. We went over to her stall, to see a big red ball sticking out of her vulva. A red bag! I tore it open and was welcomed by liters and liters of fluid. I was expecting to find a white sack, only to find nothing there ... my husband had called the vet in the meantime and I got him on the phone to guide me through the process. After the a few moments of "nothingness" a HUGE white balloon appeared at our mare's vulva. I have been present at a few births now and I have never seen such a thing before!! It felt rock solid like a skull and we were unable to break it. Our mare got up and the white balloon disappeared. She walked a couple rounds in her stable, then lied down again. The white bag re-appeared, this time looking more like what I was used to seeing and we opened it. A nose and two feet appeared, but only just the tips of them. I cannot quite recall their positioning, but they were not lined up the way they usually are. My husband grabbed the legs and started pulling when our mare pushed. Every time he pulled, our mare rolled in agony, and after a couple of tries, she got up. At that time, the vet arrived. He pushed the entire foal back in, repositioned it and delivered it with great difficulty, together with my husband. Our mare decided to stay on her feet for this whole deal. The foal (a filly) was dead. Its lips were limp already when she was still inside our mare. The vet let our mare sniff the foal for a moment, and then they took it away. She did not cry out for the foal, but did not want us to leave either, even though she had equine company. That got better during the day, and by the end of the day -other than her her empty belly- it was like nothing had happened ... she looked fine and did not act weird or anything ...she had some discharge for a couple of days and that was it. I went through everything with my vet, and of course he can only tell me what he saw when he arrived. He found a mare that was unable to deliver her dead foal. He thinks the foal died quite early in the process and therefore it had not completely made the "turn" which made it hard for our mare to push it through her pelvis. The foal was also quite big (as was her previous one)/ A red bag delivery, according to him, is usually a matter of incredible bad luck and his experience is that this does not mean our mare is at a higher risk for a potential future pregnancies. After reading up on red bags, I now have the feeling that this delivery was in fact not a delivery, but a very late-term abortion. Hence the red bag. My mare just did not seem ready and her previous foals were both a couple weeks late. What is your take on this? Is it normal that there is about a 30 day difference between pregnancies? What could have been the reason that the white sack was rock solid hard when it came out? What are the causes of a red bag ? I read about infections in the uterus or poisoning through food ... is there any way we can find out "after the fact"? Is our mare at a higher risk to get another red bag should we decide to rebreed? We are having our mare checked for bacteria and the like during her next heat cycle to possibly find out more and to see if she is breeding sound. This mare is very, very dear to us so we want to make a well-educated decision regarding rebreeding her, esp. at her age. Do you find that red bags or abortions are age related? Should we decide to rebreed, what measures can we take to prevent the same thing from happening? I'm sorry about the long story and all the questions, but I really value your opinion. Your book has become my foaling bible over the past couple years and without it, chances are this story would have had a totally different ending for our mare! Thank you for your column, your book and your advice.
I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of the foal. However, I am very glad you were so observant and that you, your husband, and your vet did such a wonderful job getting the mare through the whole ordeal. I agree with you that this sounds like a late-term abortion more than a typical red bag. That is supported by your vet's assessment that the foal was already dead and couldn't aid in positioning for delivery. A foal with no body tone can't be guided by the mare's contractions into the proper position. It has been my experience that mares who have red bagged before have a higher tendency to do so again. However, I don't think that counts for your mare since this really does seem like an abortion. The lack of other signs (full udder, etc.) also supports this. I don't think she has any more chance of having a red bag again than if this had never happened. It's good that you are having her checked for any infection. The reason for the abortion may never be known. The reason for most typical red bags is never known. Whether or not to breed her again is entirely your decision. I would be more concerned about her age than the abortion, especially since you said her previous deliveries have been difficult. Abortions and other problems are certainly more common in older mares, but many go through late pregnancies with no problems. I'm glad you like the work I've done on the site. I wish I had a lot more time. I have lots of ideas...but time seems to be a major problem. :-) Please let me know what the tests on your mare show and, again, I'm very sorry about the loss of the foal.
Stay in touch!
Submitted by Jennifer in Idaho on April 13, 2005:
Hello I have a 16 yr old mare this will be her 4th foal. Yesterday morning I noticed a thick discharge and took her to the vet, where I was informed she has placentitis. My question is She is due around April 20/22. I was wondering what affect placentitis has on the foal? Also what pentoxifylline does for the mare? This is the first I have ever heard of placentitis and am a bit worried about the foal. She is about 336 days along and shows no sign of delivering. Her past foals have come between 345 and 350. All healthy and grown up great.
Placentitis usually does not affect the foal much if it is caught in time and treated properly. Pentoxifyllin increases blood flow, so I suppose it was given to help blood flow to the uterus and, thereby, the placenta. Is the mare on antibiotics? If not, I would push really hard to get her on some. The longer she holds off from foaling with the proper treatment being administered, the better it will be for the foal. With the placenta impaired, the foal doesn't receive as much oxygen and nutrients as it usually would. How much the foal misses depends on how much of the placenta is involved. As I said, though, the foals usually do okay as long as the placentitis is treated properly.
Please let me know how things go.
Follow up by Jennifer on April 13, 2005:
Thanks. I am just sick about it. I noticed a few weeks ago she bagged and I thought it was early, than yesterday I noticed the discharge. I do not know how long she has had it. She is huge for her. Yes she is on SMZ's. I hope she holds off on foaling. I wondered if the lack of oxygen and nutrients will have an affect on the future of this foal.
You're very welcome! Treatment with SMZ's is great. If she holds on for long enough for the antibiotics to do their job, chances are great that the foal will be okay. If she only started bagging up a few weeks ago, that would be pretty normal so there would have been no reason to suspect that anything was wrong. That this happened later in the pregnancy should also be easier on the foal than if it happened earlier.
Please keep me updated.
Follow up by Jennifer on April 30, 2005:
Hello, here�s a success story!! My mare with placentitis delivered a healthy stud colt on Thursday about 10pm. He is a little high on white blood count but have him on antibiotics and will recheck his blood on Tuesday. Other than that he is beautiful. Thanks for all the help.
That's wonderful news Jennifer!
What a huge relief! Congratulations and enjoy that baby!
Submitted by Beth in Alberta, Canada on April 4, 2005:
My mare is now 21 years old and is in foal with her second foal. The first foal was born 10years ago. She was bred May31/04, Feb2/04 and Feb4/04. It is now April 4/05 and she has bagged up quite fully and her nipples are also plumped. She is in excellent condition but I am worried that she is going to have this foal quite soon and possibly quite early. Last time she foaled I was there and I was hoping to be there with her again this time around. Do you think it is possible that she could foal within the next few days, or is it more likely to be 2-3 weeks. Last foal she bagged up about 2-3 weeks in advance although the foal was 1 week past its book due date. She has a far more developed udder this time around although she hasn't started waxing yet, as she did a week before her last foal. She has a large straw area and is expected to foal in pasture, the weather has been decent, actually nicer than when she had her first foal as I chose to breed her a month later. I need some suggestions as I am panicked. How long can I expect before she will likely foal, and at this time would the foal be properly developed? The foal is quite active although she doesn't seem quite as large as she was last time. Sorry I am so drawn out.
If the foal were born now, it would be very early and unlikely to survive. Since the mare has a full udder and looks close to delivery, it might be good to talk with your vet about the possibility of putting the mare on a course of antibiotics in case she has some placentitis going on. It is certainly possible that she will hold out for another two or three weeks without any treatment, but the antibiotics are very unlikely to hurt anything so I think it would be worthwhile just to be on the safe side.
Please let me know how she does.
Follow up by Beth on April 7, 2005:
Just wanted to give you an update. My vet did mention that placentitis might be a possibility although he said given her own and her mothers and sisters history he doesn�t think it is too likely ( he has been her vet, and was the vet on the farm where she was born and bred and knows her complete family history). He checked his records and found that she and her relatives have a history of bagging up at least 2 weeks in advance of foaling. He says that the foals this year have been coming an average of 5 days before their book due dates so I should be prepared for a somewhat early foal. He said another thing that could possibly cause he to bag up early is if she was carrying twins but we ultra sounded her at 28 days and he is confident that twins are not a possibility. He is a reproductive specialist and I trust what he says. He said that even if the foal were born in the next few days we are past the real danger period for premature and undeveloped foals. He mentioned that if she starts to leak colustrum all over her legs I should milk out half a cup from each side and store this in the fridge until the foal is born. He said the colustrum she will have left should still be enough for the foal (as long as she doesn�t leak too much) and that I should let the foal suckle off the mare to bond and get what colustrum he can and when he is finished his first suckling I should bottle feed him the colustrum I collected to be sure he receives an adequate amount just in case too much leaked, better to collect than to let it drip all over and be wasted. What are your thoughts? It is now three days later and she is still bagged up but doesn�t seem to be showing any other signs, no waxing or dripping. She looked a little anxious this morning but overall seemed ok. I can only check her twice a day cause I work during the day mon-thrus but I will have the next 3 days with her to monitor more closely. I really hope she hangs in there for a couple more weeks at least to make sure the foal will be properly developed. Thanks for your advice. I still feel very anxious myself.
It's good that you mare hasn't shown any more changes. If she goes for another ten days, that would be great. I always feel safe if they wait until 320 days or later. Everyone has had different experiences, but mine has been that foals born between 310 and 320 days have a chance, but it is very individual and many are too premature. I agree with everything your vet said except the part about feeding the colt colostrum. I agree that it's an excellent thing to do if the mare drips colostrum for anything length of time. The part I disagree with is letting the foal nurse before you bottle feed it the colostrum you save. The reason is that if you let them nurse first, they know what the "real thing" is and it is difficult if not impossible to get them to take colostrum from a bottle. If you give the colostrum from the bottle first, before they nurse, they will gulp it right down. It is not difficult to get them to nurse after they have been fed from a bottle. Their natural instinct is to go to the mare and the transition from bottle to mare is easy. The transition from Mom to the bottle is not. Hopefully, you won't even have to deal with that! It sounds like you have an excellent vet and that gives me extra confidence that everything will be just fine.
Please keep me updated.
Follow up by Beth on April 12, 2005:
Thankfully my mare is still hanging in there. She is still bagged up and her udder has gotten a little larger, but no waxing or dripping yet. It has been five days since I talked to you last so as you said at least another five days would be really nice, one of her teats seems to be starting to fill this morning, so it is still pretty hard to say. I have one question for you though, she is in a pasture with three other horses, two geldings and another mare. One of the geldings is a three year old which she has been with since he was a month old, and the other two horses are 13 and 14 and she has been in pasture with them for a year. She is very obviously dominant in the group and keeps everyone else in line. She is closest with the �colt� (who is about to be jilted of his baby status) and allows him to eat close to her. What is your experience with mares foaling in groups, would it be best to move some of the others to another pasture? I have heard that disturbing their group so close to delivery might actually stress her more than having them there, or that she might be comforted by having them there even though she currently acts as if she needs no one, except possibly me. The first time she foaled, now ten years ago, she was alone and she waited until I came to feed her in the morning to let her water break and ended up letting the whole family watch and video tape the birth, she was scared and ended up needing a little assistance. Do you think she is likely to behave the same way, or that she will try to avoid my presence as I have heard most mares do?
I'm so glad to hear that your mare is still hanging in there. Waiting for another five days would be perfect! I would probably separate the mare from the others if you think she is getting very close to delivery. The reason is that foals have been injured by a protective mom trying to keep away curious pasture mates. If she looks very close or acts differently, I would want her by herself just in case she foals without you there. Most mares that are close to delivery don't seem to mind being separated from their friends. If she stresses out, the plan can always be changed. I wouldn't expect her behavior toward you to be any different this time than the last time. She will most likely be more confident this time, but should still be happy to have you there.
Keep me updated!
Follow up by Beth on April 26, 2005:
Hi Theresa, My mare thankfully is still waiting to have her foal, one problem is developing though. Her udder is incredibly swollen and her nipples are very swollen as and are now round and plum sized. Her udder is swollen and hard and rubs on her inner thighs, it is also swollen almost all the way back toward her vagina. Her udder is dry and chaffing. I feel so bad for her. She has an edema on her under side of her belly which is probably compounding this problem. I called my vet and he said that he is reluctant to give anti-inflammatories due to chance of giving the foal ulcers so he suggested hot compresses and lubing up the upper part of her udder where it is rubbing on itself and her legs with udder balm or Vaseline. I did this last night and it did bring down the swelling a bit. The driest part of her udder is around her nipples which he said I should not apply balm to. Do you have any suggestions on how I can make her more comfortable while she waits out these last few days? Also I am very concerned that because she is so sore and can�t stand to have her udder touched that she will not allow the foal to suckle. What can I do in this respect and If she had it while I was not there, how long can the foal survive until I was able to get there? How could I force her to allow him to suckle if that does happen?
I'm glad to hear that your mare is still waiting but sorry that she is so uncomfortable! Is she getting any exercise? Sometimes exercise will help take down some of the swelling. I agree with what your vet said to do for her. However, I have seen many mares have bute with no ill effects for the foal. Some bute might help her if your vet agrees. Other than that, I'm afraid the poor thing just has to wait it out. The mare will most likely grit her teeth and bear it when the foal needs to nurse. Once the initial nursing is done, she should feel a lot better. If she is reluctant, you will have to restrain her to get that first nursing over with. A new foal generally begins to decline if they haven't eaten by about three hours because their blood sugar level drops enough to make them weak. I would bet, though, that she will let the foal nurse.
Please keep me updated!
Follow up by Beth on April 27, 2005:
Theresa: I am so relieved to hear that she will probably let the foal suckle. I have been losing a lot of sleep worrying about that. Last weekend was 20 degrees Celsius here in Edmonton, Canada and I guess she is holding out for more miserable weather. Today it has dropped to 0 degrees so it you follow Murphy�s law she will probably choose to have it while this kind of weather is around. She doesn�t get much exercise except when she runs around the pasture, which has digressed to slow jogging. She is not having any trouble getting around though which is nice to see. I will try taking her for a walk. She wouldn�t let me give her a heat compress last night without haltering her so I just left her alone as she didn�t look quite as bad as the day before. Is it very common for the mares to get edemas? She did get one last time. I will let you know if anything exciting happens, thanks for your advice.
It isn't at all uncommon for mares to have so much edema. If it wasn't already so cold there, I would suggest cold compressed or cold hosing, but I don't think she would appreciate that much with your already cold temperature. You're right though, if Murphy's law holds she should foal with it being 0 degrees Celsius! The edema should resolve pretty quickly after she delivers.
Please do keep the updates coming!
Follow up by Beth on May 3, 2005:
Hi Theresa, it is now exactly eleven months since her last breeding. She waxed up on Saturday night and I have stayed with her since then but still no foal. The weather was cold on Saturday about -5 Celsius and it has been frosty in the mornings since then, but the afternoons have been quite warm, usually around 10 degrees. I haven�t slept much since Saturday night, but I guess she will just have it when she is good and ready. I will let you know if any thing else happens. She has been a lot better swelling wise since it cooled down a bit and is even walking around more. The last couple days she has not gone down to the bottom part of the pasture though, she just walks around the upper area where I have her straw spread out.
It certainly has been a long ordeal, but maybe it will soon have a happy ending! It's good to hear that her swelling has gone down some. I know that has to make her more comfortable. I feel for you not getting any sleep and you're right, she'll do it when she's ready. I hope for your sake it doesn't take too much longer.
Thanks for the update and I'll be waiting for the next one!
Follow up by Beth on May 6, 2005:
Hello Theresa! I am very proud to announce the arrival of a beautiful baby girl. I left for work at 6am, my boyfriend left at 8am and when my mom went to check on the mare at 12 the foal was already dry and standing. Both mare and foal are doing fantastic and as you predicted she is letting the foal nurse just fine. As far as I can tell she had no difficulty and passed an intact afterbirth. The mare is a bay Arabian named Wind Lynn and she was bred to a palomino quarter horse. The foal is kind of fawn colored with a beige color underneath and on nose. She has three huge white socks that reach all the way up to her knees/hocks and a blaze. Her eyes are grayish blue. She has a sorrel colored mane and her tail is sorrel on top with white coming out from underneath. She is a very odd colored foal. It is hard to describe her. Do you have any idea what color she might become? I will attach a picture as soon as I have one. Thanks for all your guidance.
What a relief! It's just about anybody's guess what color a foal might turn out to be, but I would say there is a good chance that she will be palomino. I'm so glad that the mare is letting the foal nurse okay. Mares are usually amazing that way!
Thanks for letting me know and enjoy your baby!
Submitted by Tasha in Oregon/California on April 16, 2005:
Hi! Thanks for posting such a great resource! I do have a few unanswered questions though... :O) Unfortunately, I'm doing all of my research long-distance as my mare is pastured in Oregon and I live in S. California. I have an APHA mare who was bred with AI to a Pinto Hanoverian (AWS) stallion on Easter last year ('04) (Actual breeding dates were April 09 and 10th, '04). She was confirmed in foal at 18 days (after the 9th) via ultrasound and palpation as well as ultrasounds/palpations throughout her pregnancy and has definately not been exposed to any other stallion. Her original due date was March 15th (~340 days), but so far no luck. She's now at 372 days, but looks as if she's maybe 320 days along. There is only slight udder development and absolutely no loosening of her hindquarters or vulva. The Predict-a-Foal kits have shown "no results" from the minute amount of milk produced/tested. My wonderful vet has been great about answering any and all questions I have, but he also voiced some concerns regarding the foal size. At 368 days, he palpated and while the foal is very active and seems healthy, it felt small. The vet pulled blood at 319 days as my mare has had a slight overweight problem and her T-4 test results were borderline low indicating possible hypothyroidism. At that point, my vet predicted a foaling date within 21 days and chose not to retest her T-4 levels until after foaling. Since then, she dramatically dropped weight over a three week period while being supplemented on high-quality grass and 2 lbs of rolled oats w/ a broodmare oriented vitamin supplement. Since her major weight loss, she is now receiving 4 lbs of LMF Development grain, her broodmare supplements, as much quality grass as she wants and ~10 lbs of quality 2nd cutting alfalfa and her weight has finally started to slowly come up. She has also been kept on a strict vaccination and deworming program in line with UC Davis' recommended broodmare vaccination schedule. She is currently out to pasture with a children's pony and a trail gelding that have since learned to "clear-out" when she comes into their mutual feeding shed.
My questions are:
1) Even though the foal seems to have enough room to be comfortably active, what is the likelihood of contracted tendons due to the extremely late foaling date?
2) Because of the mare's borderline hypothyroidism, what are the chances of the foal developing bone ossification problems both in-utero and after foaling?
3) What can my mother (who is the poor soul who is taking care of her) do between now and the eventual foaling to help prevent any problems?
Thank you so much for your time.
I'm very glad to hear that you have a good vet involved with your mare. I'm afraid I'm not going to be very helpful. I have only had direct experience with one mare who went this far overdue. Her foal had no contraction problems and I don't believe yours should either since the vet said it isn't that big. I doubt that your mare being borderline hypothyroid will have any affect on the foal. I don't think there is anything else your mother can do, just play the frustrating waiting game. I'm sure your vet, who can see the mare, would have made any appropriate suggestions.
The one thing I can say is that sometime fetal development is delayed early on for reasons that are not understood. The pregnancy then lasts for longer as development resumes. That is one of the reasons why inducing mares can be so iffy--because you don't know if the foal is ready to be born. Since your vet said the foal is active but small, I would have to wonder if this has occurred during your mare's pregnancy. It makes me feel that there is a very good chance that everything will be okay.
I hope this helps and please keep me updated on how she does.
Follow up by Tasha on April 17, 2005:
Theresa, Thank you so much for taking the time to read my lengthy email! I truly appreciate having another professional put my mind at ease. :O) With regards to the early foal development - when she was ultrasounded at 18 days, the embryo was similar in size to one at 14-15 days and again, at 57 days (for sexing) the foal seemed to be closer to the 48-50 day mark. Since then, it has apparently seemed to be right on schedule, though the last three visits with the vet were palpations, not ultrasounds so he couldn't be 100% sure that the foal was at the correct size at 5 and 10 months. Is this slow development something that typically happens with maiden mares? All of my previous breeding attempts have been with mares that have had at least three or four foals before so I feel like I'm in uncharted territory. :O) We're definitely not planning on inducing - mainly because of the foals current size as well as how healthy it seems. I'd prefer to let mother nature run her course, but again, it's very frustrating to wait... I'll send baby pictures once he (or possibly she...) finally arrives! :O) Thank you again.
You're very welcome, Tasha!
No, this isn't typical for maiden mares. I don't know that anyone knows what causes it. I'm relieved to hear that you aren't thinking about induction.
Please do keep me updated and I will look forward to pictures!
Follow up by Tasha on May 7, 2005:
Theresa,Just wanted to let you know that my mare FINALLY had her foal - at 393 days. Baby and mom are doing well. Attached is a picture just after foaling. No name yet, but I'll let you know when we come up with one!
I'm so relieved that everything went well. By the looks of the foal, it's a really good thing that you decided not to induce. The foal doesn't look like an overdue one. (See photo in Photo Gallery II) Thanks so much for letting me know.
Enjoy your foal!
Submitted by Tina in New Brunswick, Canada on April 28, 2005:
I have a new belgian mare we bought her bred she was to foal april 15 she went 11 days over.the night she foaled on my 10;30 check there was the foal(last check 7;30) i am sure the baby had just been born she was still very wet and half in the sack still.my question is this is the first mare we have had do this when the mare got up to her feet it was as if her hind-end was paralized she began to to stager and fall my husband and i and father in-law had to hold this mare up for 3 hours then sh got a little more steady on her feet .the next day we put her out in the indoor with the foal she seemed much better a little trotting around and so on foal is huge she was 10.2 hh at birth good and healthy and full of herself.the mare is young i thought to be bred she is 4months shy of her forth birthday.mom and babe seem to be doing great.i bought this mare for our future brood mare and after seeing what i seen on april 26 i am terrified to breed her again any advise you can share would be great we are not new to foaling or horses we have 11 and have had many foals but have never seen this happen to a mare.(this is her first foal)
What you described is generally the result of either lack of circulation to the hind legs while the mare is down or a nerve being pinched during delivery. As you saw, this problem usually resolves with some time. It can vary a lot in how bad it is. Your mare's was moderately bad. I wouldn't worry about breeding her again. Chances are it won't happen again. If it does, then you might rethink breeding her.
I hope this helps.
Submitted by Teren in Nevada on May 13, 2005:
Hi Theresa, I have a mare that was bred May 1st thru 8th of 2004. She is already a month past due, and has presented abnormal development... She was bagged up good for over a week, and then even waxed up, then (after 36hours of being waxed up) she stopped leaking milk, then a day later, her bags deflated. The lips of her vagina have been somewhat relaxed for the last week, but do not appear to be progressing further. We did attempt to abort the mare at aprox. 45 days into the pregnancy- and in Nov. she began putting on a few pound (she was in 50 mile endurance competition up until then), she was palpated and found to still be pregnant. We then removed her from competition, and gradually reduced her workout. Sooo....
When should I begin to worry, and have the vet out?
Is it possible that the abortion shot delayed the growth of the foal?
Is it possible that the intense riding into the 8th month affected the foal?
Her abdomen has continued to grow, but should I be concerned that the foal is not alive?
The mare is 12 years old, and has had 1 previous foal (we have tried unsuccessfully to get a hold of her previous owners). And she is an Arabian. I greatly appreciate your help. Let me know if I can give you any more information on her that will be helpful. I can also email you pictures of her, taken last week. Thanks again.
Since the mare is so far over her due date and had udder development that went away, I think I would have a vet check her. It could be possible that the shot to abort her delayed things, although my gut instinct is to doubt that. The intense work shouldn't have hurt anything. The increase in her belly size is probably good. It could well be that everything is fine, but being bagged up enough to wax and then having her udder deflate is concerning enough to me that I would want to have her checked. I wouldn't mind looking at pictures but really don't think it would help anything. I think she needs to be palpated by a vet to see if s/he can feel a live foal.
Please let me know what you find out.
Follow up by Teren:
We had the vet out at noon today, to palpate Leeza, and he confirmed that the foal is still alive and well, and is in a normal position. And - of course- she started dripping milk at 5 this afternoon! She was just waiting for us to pay the vet $70 to come out! I suppose she just needed some one to put their hand up her butt! LOL. Oh well, It's a relief to know everything is okay with the foal. I'll send you pics of it when it's born! Thanks for your help!
That's great news! It was worth every penny of the $70 for my peace of mind for you to have the vet out! :-) I hope the foal arrives soon and safely.
Let me know!
Follow up by Teren:
Theresa-Well, our mare FINALLY had her foal, and it is a stud colt. He appears to be on the smaller side, almost seems frail looking, but he actually is quite strong, he spent most of the day running around the pasture. He was born last night, and every thing went smoothly. Attached are a few pictures taken of him just a few hours old. Thanks for your help.
He's beautiful and looks very sturdy and well filled out to me! If you don't mind, I will post one of his pictures on my new website:
Thanks for letting me know and enjoy him!
Submitted by Deb in Colorado on May 20, 2005:
I have a 7 yr. friesian mare (maiden) which is at 325 days. Ten days ago she went off her feed for three days, she began eating her grass hay but will not eat her grain. She is at the breeders and is being monitored closely. The breeder seems perplexed that she has gone ten days with no grain and just picking at her hay. Is this normal for late term mares? The vet wants to start her on B vitamin and possibly treat for a ulcer. Thank you,
Late-term pregnant mares can do all sorts of bizarre things, but I am always concerned when a mare goes off her feed. Although treatment for ulcers would be okay, it seems unlikely that that is the problem if she is showing no signs of pain. If the breeding farm has it, they might try some alfalfa hay or alfalfa pellets. Most horses have a hard time turning down alfalfa and it is easily digested and should help the mare.
Please let me know how she does
Follow up by Deb on May 27, 2005:
Dear Theresa, I sent a message dated 05/20/05 about 7 yr. old friesian mare off her feed. The vet wanted to treat for ulcers. We ran a cbc and her liver numbers have come back very high. The vet has put her on an I.V. for fluids and given antibiotics. She is two weeks from foaling and I am concerned how the liver disease will affect her or the foal. I'm not getting a lot of firm answers on this. It is such a unusual situation. Vet is making inquiries also. Vet is doing a ultra sound tomorrow to check for blocked bile ducts. Thank you for any insight on this problem.
Well, I guess it wasn't as easy a fix as giving her alfalfa. Thank goodness for your vet running blood work. I'm afraid this is out of my league. It is also apparently something your vet is not well versed in since liver disease is fairly uncommon in horses. I suspect that's why you aren't getting firm answers. I know I don't have any. I don't know what effect this might have on the foal. Since the foal is so well formed at this stage, I hope it won't affect it much, if at all. I suppose it would really depend on what the initial problem with the mare was. I would think if it is something that can be treated with antibiotics or other methods, the mare should be fine.
I'm glad you have a vet who is on top of the situation. Please let me know how things go!
Follow up by Deb on June 3, 2005:
Dear Theresa, I had the pregnant Friesian mare which was anorexic and had high liver numbers. We landed up taking her to a hospital on Tues. May 31. The vets looked at her and felt she had another 10-14 days to go. The vet decided to hold off on the liver biopsy for a couple days. We dropped her off at 4:15 p.m. On our drive home one hour later the vet called to inform us the mare had foaled. They both are doing well. The vet looked up and saw a foot and head coming out while she was standing. The event took about four minutes and they had to catch the foal coming out. The mare�s triglycerides were 2200 the day she went in, the next day 800, and the next 300. All of the liver numbers have begun to come down also. Mare and foal are doing great and we hope to bring them home in a few days. Thank you for responding to my e-mail so quickly, it was appreciated.
What great news! Just goes to show you how unpredictable pregnant mares can be! Women occasionally develop liver problems during pregnancy, even rarely to the point of liver failure. I wonder if your mare was going through a similar problem. At any rate, it's great to hear that she and the foal are both doing well. Whew!!
Thanks so much for letting me know. Congratulations and enjoy your baby!
Submitted by Cathy on May 29, 2005:
Theresa, Thanks for your interest in Crystal and Callie. Crystal foaled 5/5/05 I named her Maya and she is a beautiful buckskin MFT filly. Callie foaled 1 day before her due date on May 24th. She had a gorgeous champagne mule molly for us. Tessa will be registered ADMS and ICHR. We aren�t sure if she is an amber champagne or a classic champagne like her mom. I had Callie tested at UC Davis to verify her color but they don�t have a test for mule color gene�s so I guess I�ll have to wait until she sheds her foal coat to see if it becomes any clearer. Depending on the light, she looks amber one minute and classic the next. She�s become a celebrity around here with her rare color. Even in the moonlight, on the night she was foaled, you could see she had bright blue eyes and very pink skin. I feel blessed that both fillies arrived safe and sound!
Congratulations on your new babies! Tessa is certainly an unusual color and it will be interesting to see what happens when she sheds out. With your permission, I will post her picture on my new website.
Thanks so much for letting me know that all went well. Enjoy your babies!
Submitted by Sharon in Tel Aviv, Israel on June 2, 2005:
My 9yr mare is due to foal on July 31st. The other day I went to see her and her udder was very enlarged and she was sensitive to the touch. I know from reading your advice column that this normally happens about 4-6 wks before foaling although I've heard that it can happen 2 months before also. My friends advised me to ride her and that the exercise would do her good. So we went out for a 2hr ride and when we returned, the udder had gone back down in size. The following day it was enlarged again but not as much as the previous day. Is this normal? She foaled last year when she was with her previous owner and everything was normal. This is a first for me so I am a little anxious. As far as I know, this is her second pregnancy. There is no waxing and she seems content - just sensitive to the touch of her teats.
It is normal for a mare's udder to go up and down in size. However, it is a little early for your mare to be doing that unless she did it with her last pregnancy, in which case it may be normal for her. There can sometimes be a problem with inflammation/infection in the placenta that causes early udder development and can also cause abortion or an premature delivery. If her udder is very big, looking like it would if she were due to foal, I think it would be good to have a vet take a look. If it is suspected that she has placentitis, the vet may want to prescribe a course of antibiotics. My feeling is that a course of antibiotics is unlikely to cause harm and may well do a lot of good. As I said, though, this may be normal for her. If you can find out from the previous owner, that would be great. I'm not trying to frighten you, but just want to make sure every possibility is covered.
Please let me know how she does.
Follow up to Sharon on June 5, 2005:
Dear Theresa, I've just checked with the previous owner and he confirms that her udder did increase in size about two months before the due date with the previous pregnancy also so I guess that this is the norm for her. I will, however, keep an eye on her and thank you again for your advice. I think that your site is very interesting and a great help to many, I'm sure. I look forward to reading the complete foaling manual. Best regards.
That's very reassuring news! Thanks so much for letting me know.
Please keep me updated on how she does.
Follow up by Sharon:
Theresa, My mare gave birth to a beautiful filly. 3 wks earlier than I expected... either I got my dates mixed up or she gave birth early, or both. Whatever, she looks great. I will send a picture as soon as I have one. I'm so thrilled. I wasn't lucky enough to catch the birth, she did it all on her own and in the morning when we went to feed her we found a little'n hobbling around. Was a nice surprise. She a great mum too and she's not aggressive to us either. I'm not sure what the colour of the foal is... she looks the colour of a red dun (the father is a red dun and the mother is a chesnut) but she doesn't have the complete line running down her back.... could that come in time or does it mean that she's not a red dun that she is a chesnut?? I didn't have a chance to purchase your foaling manual. Still, I will order it for the next one. I've already chosen the next stallion that we're going to breed her with. Thanks again for your advice column.
What wonderful news! I'm so glad to hear that all went well. You were right that she was bagged up too early, but there was obviously a good reason! As to her color--that can be tricky. Duns are usually born with the line down their backs, but I have seen foals change color so drastically when they shed the foal coat that I'm not surprised by anything.
Please do send pictures when you can. Thanks so much for letting me know and enjoy your baby!
Submitted by Nikki in Idaho on June 4, 2005:
A friend of mine has a mare that for the last 2 foaling seasons has produced a foal with dysmaturity. We are trying to find out what can be done to prevent this? And what causes it?? The foal was full term but came out with all the symptoms of dysmaturity the vet has mentioned it could be dysmaturity. Now we are on the search to find out what causes this and how it can be prevented?? I'd appreciate any advice you could offer on this.
The only thing I know for sure that is a common cause of dysmaturity is endophyte infested fescue grass. I would think there could also be a problem with the mare's uterus that doesn't allow enough nutrients/oxygen to get to the fetus through the placenta. If you know there is not a problem with infested fescue, the next step would probably be to biopsy the mare's uterus. It is a small procedure and can be done on the farm. There are undoubtedly many other causes for dysmaturity that are unusual, but I don't know what they are off the top of my head. I searched Google for "dysmaturity foal cause" and a lot of information came up. I don't have time to read it all right now, but that might be a good way to find out more. I hope the foal is doing okay. I'm sorry I couldn't be more helpful and if it is determined what the problem is, I would really like to know so that I can pass the information on to someone else who may be having the same problem.
Follow up by Nikki on June 4, 2005:
Thank You Theresa, I'll definitely go to google and do a search and pass this info on to my friend. Soon as we find out the cause we'll be sure to let you know. Fescue is not a problem out where this mare is. So its gotta be something else...she has been bred to 2 different stallions and the same results each time. Thank You again for your time and help!
You're very welcome, Nikki.
Sorry I don't have time to sort through all the info. If you have any questions when you look through it, I'll be glad to help if I can. I definitely think the first place to start is with the condition of the mare's uterus.
Please do stay in touch and let me know what your friend finds out.
Submitted by Carole on June 7, 2005:
Hi Theresa, I am waiting and watching. I am learning that maidens can present many many signs but it's not over until it's over. She has appeared to be ready twice but was just very uncomfortable. She had not bagged up or had her water break so I didn't think that it was time.
She and I have truly bonded even more during this time as she looks anxiously at me when she is uncomfortable but pins the ears and says do not disturb when she is not and just wants to sleep.
This is a great experience so far and I am praying for a healthy foal and a healthy MaMa.
Thanks for giving me the confidence. I haven't missed this much sleep since I worked nights and doubles:) Best regards.
Yep, maidens can do all sorts of weird things! I'm keeping my fingers crossed as well for a healthy mom and baby. Thanks for the update and keep them coming!
Follow up by Carole on June 12, 2005:
Dear Theresa, It is over and I can't tell you how grateful I am and how much your book enabled me to understand just what was going on. The good news first. AT 8 AM this morning, we had a healthy and feisty colt and Momma is doing pretty well. I probably would have lost both had it not been for the information gleaned from your wonderful book. My mare had uterine inertia and we are still struggling with retained placenta. I put in the call to the vet at the moment I realized that nothing was happening and the water had broken. I asked for two vets and I got two vets and a wife of a vet. WE had to use the chains and the hooks and can I say that I was terrified that I would loose my mare. I have known her longer and she is very special. Your book made all of the information so easy to understand and also the logical format that you presented made it easy to retain or reference at will. I am very tired and I do not understand why this computer changed the type but I am too tired to figure it out today:) Thank you so very much and I will send pictures of the happy duo as soon as I can. Best regards,
Oh, Carole, thank goodness you were there and acted quickly and appropriately!
Good for you! The book only gives information, then it's up to you to recognized what's happening and do the right thing. I can't tell you how proud I am of you! I'm so glad that mom and baby are doing well. I hope she gets rid of the placenta before long. At least that is something that can be dealt with. Please do send pictures after you get some rest. I would love to post them on the website.
Congrats, thanks for letting me know, and get some sleep!
Follow up by Carole on June 14, 2005:
Hi Theresa, The news is not good. I transported my mare to New Bolton Center of U of P this AM. The retained placenta has started founder in all 4 feet. We have been aggressive since beginning but things went downhill fast. She is in hospital with round the clock care with her foal and my talk with the doctor gives me hope. It is all so tricky. They will call me in AM with another report unless there is a change for the worse. This is hard. I hope I can give you better news next time.
Oh, no, Carole!
I'm so sorry! If there is an up side, I guess it is that you have her at one of the best places she could possibly be. I would bet they will pull her through with minimal damage.
Keep me updated!
Follow up by Carole on June 19, 2005:
Hi Theresa, I wanted to wait until something positive happened. It has been touch and go for most of this week and Friday was a real low point. She was still not able to void w/o Foley and retention was in large amount. She was not walking but pivoting and barely moving. She had no infection but still retains some small morsel of placenta. She, Mikie, removed her Foley herself yesterday morning and was cathed for residual and it was acceptable. Today she walked over to take the peppermints that I bring each day and truly walked. They are managing her pain from the laminitis and they feel that it is stable. No real rotation. Her WBC count is no longer low and she is off reverse isolation. Her uterine tone has not returned but they flushed her again today and restarted Oxytocin. Foal is unbelievable. Everyone thought that he should be a dummy foal b/c he was so difficult and long coming. He is bright and active and stood w/in 20 minutes of appearance in this world. He loves attention and affection and we were grooming each other today. I made him come to me for touch and he was very willing. His name is "Church" because he was born on Sunday. My husband named him b/c I am always saying to him, "aren't you going to church?" and I didn't ask him last Sunday. I was busy:) Keep the faith and I look forward to sending pictures of Momma and baby when they come home.
That's great news! It really sounds like she's turned the corner. It's especially encouraging that she has no significant rotation. I know you will be thrilled when they can finally come home!
Thanks for the good news and keep the updates coming!
Follow up by Carole on June 23, 2005:
Hi Theresa, They're here. Mom and baby came home today. Master Church got his first lesson in proper behavior. I put the rope around his neck and then around his butt and placed his royal horse collar upon his head. Then he proceeded to do a bug dance that was funny as heck. He is very spoiled b/c of his confinement and he will now be learning colt behavior 101. Theresa, I can't thank you enough for your support and I will be sending you pictures as soon as I turn out and finish the roll. We could not have done it w/o you and your wonderful book. I have recommended it to several of my friends. I have a friend who owns two tack shops in Southern Pines and I am suggesting that she carry a copy of your book. It saved my mare and colt's life. Bare with me; I am a technically challenged but determined to conquer this bugger. Best regards.
Oh, how good it is to hear that the real fun is beginning! Colt behavior 101 is always a great time! I'm so relieved that all has turned out well. You're very welcome. I can't tell you what it means to me to know that the book truly does help now and then. It makes all those long, lonely hours in barns with mares and foals at night more than worthwhile!
Please do send pictures when you get a chance and have fun!!
Submitted by DeAnna in Texas on June 11, 2005:
Hello, I need a quick answer - I have a mare that is 3 days away from her due date. This morning 6/11/05 she has a bloody discharge. It seems like a lot to me - her legs are covered and she has continued to have this bloody discharge - not thick - thin but constant - I have a call into the vet and he says that it sounds normal - could you reassure me - I have searched books and the internet and I don't see anything that says this is possible. She is dripping milk and sweating - it is also during the day which I understand to be odd. Help me please I am so worried about her. This is her 3rd foal - the first with us. Thanks.
Blood covering the mare's legs sounds like too much to me. I would call the vet back and insist that she be seen. It may be okay, but I would sure want to know for certain on this one. Sounds like she could foal any minute...maybe she already has by now. They can definitely foal during the day.
Please let me know how things go.
Follow up by DeAnna on June 12, 2005:
Good Morning Theresa, Sorry I was unable to email you back last night things got crazy. I call the vet back and insisted that he at least check her out and he was here by 7:00 p.m. - The foal had her feet up underneath her. The vet had to pull her out. All turned out well - she was born at 8:11 p.m. 6/11/05. Our palomino filly is really big. Thank you so much for emailing me back. I was so worried. Thanks and God Bless!
Oh, thank goodness DeAnna!
I was really worried about that one! I'm so glad you insisted that the vet come out. What a cute baby! Thanks so much for letting me know what happened.
Enjoy your baby!
Submitted by Norlene in South Carolina on June 11, 2005:
My mare foaled 7 days ago.(Sat) All seemed fine until Wed. when baby coliced. She responded almost immediately to Banamine. Also severe diarrhea that afternoon. Thursday we went to the vet. Blood work showed she probably did not receive enough colostrum and we gave her a plasma transfusion and started her on an antibiotic and an ulcer treatment just in case.
She seems a little perkier as of today but diarrhea continues and she is losing weight. She seems to nurse sporadically and not enough. Mare appears to have plenty of milk. Baby licks the salt block in stall a lot and drinks out of water bucket. Urine is not dark- at least she is not dehydrated. Temperature has come down but stays at 101.8. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you.
I assume you are staying in close contact with your vet about the filly. I also assume that she is still on antibiotics. The first thing I would do is take the salt block away. Some foals fixate on them and get too much. Next, I would put the water where the foal can't get it. She needs milk more than water. Again, some foals become fixated on water and drink too much of it instead of nursing. Other than being in close touch with your vet and keeping her on the prescribed medications, there isn't a whole lot you can do except be sure she is nursing enough. If she isn't, try milking the mare and see if the filly will drink the milk out of a bucket. She really needs the nutrition to help her body fight infection and get stronger.
I hope this helps and please let me know how she does.
Follow up by Norlene on June 20, 2005:
Hi Theresa, I appreciate your advice. I had started milking the mare and I was using a syringe to squirt it onto her tongue-a bucket was much more efficient. I also put the water bucket out of her reach but I replaced one for the filly with some foal lac which she did drink from occasionally. On returning to the vet last Monday there was not much improvement and our next hurdle was a very acute case of uveitis in both eyes. More antibiotics this week along with eye drops seem to have cleared this up. After another bout of colic on Tuesday morning her manure was more normal and she started nursing more frequently. I am happy to report that as of the last couple of days she seems completely recovered. One last trip to the vet this afternoon will hopefully confirm that
her eyes are back to normal. Thanks again!
Great news, Norlene!
I'm so happy to hear that cleared the hurdles and is doing so well. I hope everything goes smoothly from here.
Thanks for letting me know and I hope now you can just relax and enjoy your filly!
Submitted by Pam in Michigan on June 12, 2005:
I have a seven year old maiden mare who's due date was June 9th. This will be my first foal also. My concern is that she is 3 days past her due date and has no udder developement to speak of and nothing comes from her teats when squeezed. Shouldn't she have milk by now? She is very cranky about her teats being handled and has tried to bite and kick me when I touch them. Will she do the same thing when the foal tries to nurse? Thank you for your help,
I'm not at all concerned that the mare is a little past her due date, but she should have some udder development by now. It would not be unusual for you not to be able to express everything and it is also not unusual for a mare not to want her udder messed with. After the foal is born, Mother Nature usually takes over and the mare will allow the foal to nurse. Some maidens need to be held still for the first couple of nursings, mostly because they want the foal right under their noses and don't understand why it has to go back to the udder. Usually when the foal nurses, though, the light bulb comes on and everything is okay after that. It could be that the mare is going to bag up all at once shortly before she foals. That sometimes happens. However, if you have any doubt about whether or not she is still in foal, it would be best to have her checked. Also, if she shows other signs of getting ready to foal and still has no udder development, you should let your vet know. There is a drug available that will help.
Please let me know how she does.
Follow up by Pam on June 20 2005:
Hi Theresa, Yesterday afternoon, at around 4 PM,(after being checked at 2 PM with no signs of labor), all alone in the only spot missing grass in her whole pasture, my maiden mare dropped a lovely little colt into the dirt! He is healthy and full of life and Gabriela is a wonderful mom. Thank you for your help and setting my mind at ease.
I'm so happy that everything went well.
Thanks for letting me know and enjoy your new baby!
Follow up by Pam on June 22, 2005:
Hi Theresa, More questions, sorry. How long should the baby be latched on when he nurses? He seems to only take 4 or 5 swallows at a time and then backs up shakes his head and starts nursing again. I felt along my mares teats and in front and especially behind her teats she is hard as a rock. Could this be mastitis? I was able to express a little milk... Also, I haven't seen the baby have a bowel movement since yesterday. I found one semi-soft pumpkin color stool yesterday morning but none since then. He acts like he's going to go, but nothing happens. Is that normal? I gave him as enema shortly after birth and he passed his meconium.
It sounds like the mare might be squirting milk so fast on the first few swallows that the foal has to back off to catch up with swallowing. That would go along with the mare's udder being very hard (and full). I wouldn't worry about that as long as he goes back for more. Check the mare's udder after the foal nurses well. It should be softer at that point. If she had mastitis, the udder would be very sore and hot. How long a foal should be latched on is difficult to answer because it varies so much. How long is probably less important than if the foal acts full and satisfied after he nurses. Lots of times it's hard to find baby "poop." That's because it's small enough that it's usually trampled into nothing pretty quickly. If the foal continues to act like he has to go and doesn't, or shows any signs of pain, that would be the time to call the vet.
Let me know how they are doing!
Submitted by Jackie in Wilshire, England on June 17, 2005:
Hi Theresa, Your web site is fantastic and has helped me loads. Could you give me your opinion on my mare. she has been on regumate and antibiotics since day 300 as she has been running milk and bagging up early she is now showing every sign in the book of impending foaling at 322 days, would you stop the regumate and antibiotics and let nature take its course or keep her on them just in case? cant make a decent decision as have been up for 22 nights and have a head full of cottonwool!!! thanks very much keep up the good work i dont know what all these people who e-mail you ( like me! ) would do if it wasnt for you.
Since the mare is beyond 321 days, which I consider to be into a safe range, I would probably stop the Regumate but continue the antibiotics. Please check with your vet before making any changes. Thank you so much for your kind words about the column. I truly do feel for you having been watching your mare for so long!
Please let me know what you decide to do and how things go with the mare and new baby.
Follow up by Jackie on June 27, 2005:
Dear Theresa, thank you for your prompt and helpful reply, we found out the reason for the running milk etc on tues 21st june. she had twins! a filly and a colt, both are okay bult colt is still a bit wobbly and cow hocked, we are waiting for him to straighten up before turning out. The mare did have placentitis in both placentas and it is a miracle that they went anywhere near term and survived we are still in shock and glad we were there as the colt did not break the sack and would have died. we did have her scanned but they missed it!! thank you again for you web page and help you helped keep me sane! best wishes
Good job for being there and saving the colt! And thank goodness for the vet putting the mare on antibiotics and Regumate, which undoubtedly saved both of them! If you have a small area to turn the mare and babies out, a little exercise might actually help the colt straighten up. That is, if he isn't too wobbly.
Thanks so much for letting me know and enjoy your babies!
Submitted by Shaina in Tennessee on June 21, 2005:
Well, Baylee had her baby and everything that could go wrong after the birth has went wrong. You can visit this website to see the story: http://rackonrnr.proboards40.com/index.cgi?board=general&action=display&thread=1119209763. Please give me any advice! Well, I have to go feed him! Thanks for your help.
I read your story on the website. The foal needs to be fed or nurse at least every two hours (every one hour is better) during the day. You can stretch it out a bit overnight, but I couldn't go for longer than three hours for the first week. Did the vet give him an IV of plasma or an oral dose? Did the vet check his IgG level again afterward? Keep going with the mare unless she gets more aggressive. As you found, most foals will not take a bottle after they have nursed. You will usually get much better results (as you also found out) by feeding them from a bowl or shallow bucket. You can even leave some in a bucket for a couple of hours. Give him as much formula as he will drink. Most foals won't overeat. It is better, though, if he nurses--not only for him, but to increase the mare's milk production. If she isn't nursed from frequently, she will not produce enough milk. I would say that is why she wasn't producing well before. It can be a supply and demand kind of situation. If there is no demand, then there is no supply.
Hang in there! It will get better. Please let me know how the cute little guy does.
Follow up by Shaina on June 23, 2005:
To answer your questions, the vet gave him an IV of plasma, but they didn't come back out to check it because they had to travel so far away anyways just to do that which is over 75 miles away. Just them to make a farm call is 80 dollars on the vet bill. Well, today he is not very active, though he still is drinking really good. The past two or three days we have been feeding him every two and a half hours (or less) through the day and night. He still is dehydrated. I have introduced him to water, but he will not drink it. My concern right now is that the vets missed something when the came to check him. The day that he was born his mom kicked him in the pastern and it has been swollen really big ever since. I don't think that it is broken because there are no abnormalities of the bone that I can feel through the swollen joint. Is there any home remedies or something I may be able to get at a store? My mom said that a vinegar soaked brown paper bag will pull out the swelling, which works in people that sprain their ankles. We bought some horse liniment that is supposed to help swollen joints and it did nothing. He has been limping a lot today, so it is causing him pain. Goodness, I need so much help. A lot of incidence have been happening like these with the mares and foals in this area, to be even more specific there is a horse farm right down the road that had a mare try to kill her foal soon as it was born. Another man's horse down the road would not let the baby nurse. Some other incidents around here are mare's foaling and them and the baby dying. I don't know what it is but this is just a bad luck zone. PLEASE, what do you think I can do for my baby, your help has Helped me a lot, so thank you! :D
Don't worry about giving the foal water. You can add a little extra water to the formula and give him as much as he will drink. It's a good thing to add water to the formula anyway because the formula sometimes causes constipation in foals. Have you talked to the vet about the foal's pastern? He may need something for pain and maybe an antibiotic if they think he could have joint ill. Maybe you could go the vet's to pick up some medication rather than having them come to you? Taking the swelling down in the foal's ankle is less important than finding out what the problem is. If it is just an injury and not joint ill, then wrapping it might help with the swelling and also give him some support. Just don't put a wrap on too tight. Using vinegar and brown paper is fine, but it probably won't do much. The foal may be moving around less because of pain in his leg rather than weakness. That really needs to be addressed. It has been bad around there, hasn't it! I hope that ends!
Please keep me updated on how he does.
Follow up by Shaina on June 24, 2005:
Mom went to the vet's office yesturday, and he gave her an antibiotic for his leg. The vet said it sounds like an absess in is pastern. Yesturday I notice some drainage and started squeezing it. Bright yellow thick pasty pus started coming out. I kept pushing it out till no more would come. We gave him the shot of antibiotic and wrapped his ankle and left it on all night. This morning I unwrapped it and saw if I could squeeze out anymore pus. I could then blood came. That is good. That means I am squeezing out the infection. I soaked his ankle in warm water and wrapped it back up. My mother said that when she went to feed him this morning he was being very active like kicking and bucking around. His appetite has increased now. He is drinking 3 pints each feeding which is still every two and a half hours. He has not been resting as much since we wrapped his leg. I think that is a good sign too. I will keep you updated as progress is made. Thanks again!
That's great news, Shaina!
It sure sounds like he has turned the corner and will continue to improve from here on. Did the vet give you several days worth of antibiotics or just one dose? I would think the foal should be on antibiotics for at least a few days.
I'm so happy to hear that he's doing better. Please keep the updates coming!
Follow up by Shaina on June 25, 2005:
The antibiotic was for several days, in fact we still have some. He is healing very well. He has bundles of energy and jumps in the air sometimes, and sometimes he canters back and forth in his little stall/corral. I have pics if they will show up.
The foal looks SO MUCH better! I'm thrilled to hear that he is doing so well. Great job! Really good wrapping job on his ankle, too. You should be very proud of yourself for getting him through this! If you haven't already, you should be able to back off on the overnight feedings at this point.
I hope now you can just relax and enjoy that cute baby!