Why should your mare's foaling be attended?
An attended foaling is imperative to ensure a good outcome for both your mare and her newborn foal. There are many situations that can occur during foaling that can be easily corrected simply by having a knowledgeable person present and available.
The first reason to have someone present during foaling is to check the position of the foal. There is only ONE normal fetal presentation. As soon as the amniotic sac ruptures (the mare's water breaks), it is important to clean the mare's vulva, put on a sleeve, and enter vaginally to check the position of the foal. The foal should present with two feet-one slightly behind the other-and a nose. The soles of the foal's feet should be pointed downward in the standing mare, indicating that the foal is on its belly. If anything other than the normal presentation is felt, you could have a serious problem.
Another problem that could be encountered is premature placental separation (Red Bag). A "red bag" delivery needs to be addressed immediately. If not, this can result in the death of the foal within minutes. The placental membrane should quickly be opened and the foal delivered as soon as possible. The foal should also be provided supplemental oxygen.
Even if a normal foaling occurs and the foal seems to be healthy, there are several things that need to be addressed soon after birth. The foal's navel needs to be dipped with an antiseptic right away. The navel may become infected before an owner gets around to dipping it the next morning. The mare's colostrum should also be checked to make sure the foal will get adequate immunity for a good start. Finally, the foal needs to be nursing within the first two hours. If the foal is not progressing in this manner, the foal may need veterinary attention.
Watch for our next several newsletters that covers some Foaling Problems that can occur.
If you have any questions about this or want more information, please contact us!!