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


Mare Not Eating or Depressed, Soon after Foaling


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.

  • 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.

your role


What To Do

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's role

Your vet assesses the mare with a physical exam and may recommend laboratory or other diagnostic work if indicated.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • What is the horse's rectal temperature?
  • When did you first notice this?
  • When did your mare have her foal?
  • Is the foal active and nursing?
  • Was the foal's birth normal?
  • Are you seeing other signs of abdominal pain (colic)?
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?

further reading & resources

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP