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


Late Term Pregnant Mare: Yellow Secretion on Teats, Waxing-Up


"Waxing-up" is the normal accumulation of a waxy substance on a pregnant mare's teat orifices as her foaling date nears. It is considered by many horse people to be a reliable sign of impending foaling (within 24-48 hours).

While waxing-up is a useful sign of impending foaling, it is a mistake to become too dependent on it. Not every mare will wax before she foals and not every mare that waxes will foal within 24-48 hours. Other signs to look for are overall udder development, milk color, electrolyte levels, and the appearance of the vulva and ligaments around the tail head.

  • Code Orange

    Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours
    • Questions coming up around foaling should usually be discussed right away with your vet.
    • To prepare your vet for your mare's foaling, should you need them.

your role


What To Do

Discuss attended foaling with your vet now, if you haven't already.

If you will attend the foaling, learn as much as you can about the process beforehand. If you are not comfortable with this process, consider transporting your mare to a veterinary or breeding facility that has the staff and equipment to monitor your mare and assist her with the foaling process, if necessary.

What Not To Do

Do not rely exclusively on this sign to predict foaling.

your vet's role

Your vet understands that this is a helpful indicator, but only one of many to consider when trying to determine when the mare will foal. They may give you more guidelines as to what to look for that will indicate impending foaling.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?
  • What were the mare's breeding dates?
  • How much experience do you have with the foaling process?
  • How much wax is present on the teats?
  • Is there softening of the ligaments around the tailhead ?

Treatments Your Vet May Recommend

A way to resolve the condition or diagnosis. Resolving the underlying cause or treating the signs of disease (symptomatic treatment)

Very Common
more treatments

further reading & resources

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP