Care of Your Broodmare in Late Pregnancy

Your pregnant mare needs careful management in the lead up to foaling:


  • Tetanus Toxoid Vaccination is advised 4-6 weeks before your mare is due to foal. This ensures the foal receives maximum tetanus immunity from the mare's colostrum.

  • Equine Herpes Virus Vaccinations should be given in the 5th, 7th and 9th months of gestation. Please call to discuss whether this is essential for your mare with one of our vets.

  • Move your Mare 6-8 weeks before her foaling date (if required). This will give her time to settle in before foaling down.

  • Clean the foaling area with a disinfectant at the correct concentration. Maintain a manure free stable! The foal is born with no immunity from disease, and stays like this until it has absorbed enough good quality colostrum from the mare.  Newborn foals are at a high risk of contracting an infection and so ensuring the environment it is born into is as clean as possible is important.

  • Mares running milk or showing discharge from the vulva is often a cause for concern and you should contact your vet for advice.

  • Foaling alarms can be used to help alert you to when the mare is beginning foaling. They can be unreliable so it is advisable to watch your mare for changes in the latter stages of her pregnancy which will help you to know when she is most likely to foal.


What to look for in your mare as she approaches her foaling date


  • In the few weeks leading up to foaling you may see slackening of the ligaments at the top of the pelvis (so her pelvis appears‘flatter’ when you look from behind)

  • Udder development will begin at around 4 weeks before foaling in most mares. The udder will enlarge and you can look for the appearance of sticky white discharge on the teat ends in the 24-48hours before foaling. This is known as ‘waxing up’. Beware this may be missed in some mares as the discharge is easily dislodged.

  • Most mares foal during the night once everything is quiet and they feel as though they have been left alone.

  • Mares in the initial stages of foaling will become restless, may circle, sweat and paw at the ground indicating signs of colic.This stage can last for several hours in some mares.

Any concerns about your mare? Just give us a call and we will be happy to discuss and advise the best course of action.