What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


Foaling, Prolonged Labor, 2nd Stage Labor Lasting Over 20 Minutes


Your mare is foaling, but it seems like the process is taking longer than it should.

Once strong abdominal contractions start and the fetal membranes rupture, labor should progress very rapidly. If delivery is delayed, the fetus is in danger. Therefore prompt and correct treatment is critical.

Call your veterinarian immediately and describe the situation. In some cases, they may be able to reach your location rapidly. If this is not possible, they may be able to lead you through assisting your mare.
  • Code Red

    Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours
    • If you have any doubt about the length of time your mare is taking to deliver.
    • Questions coming up around foaling should usually be discussed right away with your vet.

your role


What To Do

What Not To Do

Do not intervene unless you have tried to reach your vet and they are not available to help and you are confident in what you are doing.

your vet's role

Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • What is the mare doing currently?
  • Can you see the foal's feet or head?
  • When did you first see the pale fetal membranes (water bag)?
  • When did the water break?
  • Do you see premature placental separation or red bag?
  • Can I have your location and directions to get to you as soon as possible?

further reading & resources

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP