Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Mare Not Eating or Depressed, Soon after Foaling

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

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

  • If you notice signs of colic, along with this sign.
  • If you have any questions about the health of the recently foaled mare.

The immediate post-foaling period is a time of increased health risk for mares. For that reason, it is important to monitor your post-foaling mare, without being intrusive or interfering with mare-foal bonding.

A post-foaling mare is often more interested in her newborn than anything else, and may show a temporarily reduced appetite. This is especially true for inexperienced mares. Regardless, appetite and attitude should return shortly after foaling, and will continue to be a good indicator of her general well-being.

The appearance of reduced appetite and mild depression immediately after foaling may not be indicative of a problem. If these signs persist though, then it could signal a problem. Signs of abdominal pain (colic) are not uncommon, and can relate to simple uterine cramping or something life-threatening, such as blood loss or intestinal crisis. A fever may be indicative of the beginning of an infection due to a retained placenta.


Assess the mare’s general health using the Whole Horse Exam on Post-Foaling Mare (WHE), paying particular attention to heart rate, mucous membrane color, intestinal sounds, and appearance of the vulvar area. Share your findings and concerns with your vet.


Your vet assesses the mare with a physical exam and may recommend laboratory or other diagnostic work if indicated.

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

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


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