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Mare less than 320 days Pregnant, Appears to be Foaling

Code Red - Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

Code Red - Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

    Your mare is less than 320 days pregnant, yet she appears to be in labor. If she is in labor, she is in the process of aborting her pregnancy. If the foal is born alive, there is a good chance that it will be premature and not survive without prompt veterinary care.


    Call your vet immediately. Problems relating to pregnancy and foaling are considered emergencies and you need veterinary assistance now. Then, if possible, you may investigate the situation further and share your findings and concerns with your vet upon their arrival.

    Prepare to talk to your vet about your mare’s breeding dates and reproductive history.

    Assess the mare’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam (WHE), paying particular attention to their rectal temperature, heart rate, and the appearance of her vulva and udder. Is her udder full or engorged? Is it dripping milk? Do you see anything protruding from the mare’s vulva such as the foal or fetal membranes? Or is the mare simply showing signs of colic, such as getting up and down?

    If the mare is in distress, walk her in circles in a spacious area like an arena until your vet arrives. If she is quiet, then leave her alone.


    Your vet uses a physical exam and other diagnostics to determine whether the mare really is in labor or whether there is something else going on. If the mare is in labor, in most cases, the fetus must be delivered. With prompt veterinary assessment and treatment, there may be a possibility of saving the pregnancy.

    Helpful Terms & Topics in HSVGWritten, Reviewed or Shared by Experts in Equine Health

    Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


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