Do you have a pregnant horse on your hands? This can be both exciting and a bit stressful. Your hooved pal will need some extra TLC while she’s expecting. You’ll also need to watch for signs of trouble. A Roswell, NM vet offers some advice on this below.
Gestation for horses is usually about 11 months, though some foals need to ‘cook’ a bit longer. Usually, that first month is when the highest risk of failure is. Be extra careful during this time. Once your mare reaches that second month, you can breathe a sigh of relief.
Don’t do anything that may stress or overexert your expecting mama. Try to avoid trailering your horse, moving her, or changing her roommates or schedule.
Light exercise is usually fine between months 2-7, as long as the weather isn’t too hot. In fact, this can actually be beneficial. Just don’t work your mare too hard or too long. Also, avoid risky situations, like high jumps or difficult trails.
It’s also important to protect your mare from exposure to parasites, diseases, and germs. Keep up with wormings and vaccinations! Your vet may recommend adjusting these schedules a bit. For instance, your mare may benefit from getting boosters about a month before the baby is due, to help boost the antibodies in her colostrum and protect the foal.
Make sure your mama-to-be has plenty of fresh bedding and a clean stall. It’s also best to room her alone or with other expecting mamas as her time approaches. A few weeks before she is due, move her into a comfy foaling stall.
Around month 7, the foal will start growing quickly, and your hooved friend will really start to show. Your vet may recommend adding some nutrient-dense grains to her diet. Don’t go too crazy, though: if you overfeed your mare, she may become obese. It’s time to hang up that saddle and bridle for a while, as riding a heavily-pregnant mare could put her and/or the foal at risk.
As that due date approaches, watch for signs that the new arrival is imminent. These include a swollen udder; full or distended teats; sweating; lip curling; increased urination and defecation; swishing; and restlessness. Keep your vet on speed dial!
Contact us, your Roswell, NM vet clinic, anytime. We’re here for you!