Timing is everything when it comes to breeding your mare and caring for her during her pregnancy! Here's a breakdown of when everything should happen:
Whether your mare was bred via artificial insemination or live cover, it's important to confirm her pregnancy via ultrasound exam at key times, which will allow your veterinarian to head off any issues and allow you to try again if she didn't take.
14-16 days post-insemination: First ultrasound check to confirm pregnancy. This timing is very important as this is our window to check for twins and pinch a twin if needed. Additionally, if your mare is bred and has poor conformation of her perineum, a Caslicks will be placed at this time.
28-30 days: Second ultrasound to confirm pregnancy again and to look for the fetal heartbeat.
45-60 days: Some owners will choose to do an additional pregnancy check as a majority of equine pregnancies are lost early on (<60 days).
300 days (or sooner depending on the mare and clinical signs): An ultrasound for placental health may be performed.
Health Care During Pregnancy
Throughout the mare’s pregnancy, vaccination and deworming are important in preparing for the baby, as well as nutrition.
+/-3, 5, 7 and 9 months: Vaccination of the mare against herpes virus (EHV-1) to help reduce the risk of herpes-induced abortions.
10 months: The mare should receive her yearly vaccines in preparation for the foal. Vaccines given at this time will ensure that the colostrum is rich in antibodies for the foal when it arrives. At this time, the mare should also be dewormed with Fenbendazole to prevent larval migration of Strongyles to the mammary gland, where they would subsequently be passed into the colostrum.
2-3 weeks prior to due date: Caslicks (if one was placed) should also be removed.
24-48 hours after foaling: Mare should be dewormed again with Ivermectin to help prevent Strongyle infection in the foal.
In general, you should follow the appropriate Strategic Deworming schedule up until 45 days prior to the expected due date. Consult with your veterinarian to determine which schedule is best for your mare, and if the above mentioned deworming protocol is the best option for her pre- and post-foaling dewormings.
A Note on Nutrition:
As exciting as it is that your mare is now eating for two, this doesn't mean you should start feeding her any differently! For mares in good body condition (BCS of 5 to 6), you can typically maintain them on their normal, balanced diet until they reach their third trimester (just over 7 1/2 months into their pregnancy). The majority of fetal growth occurs at this time so this is when you will really want to monitor your mare's weight and adjust her diet as needed.
While it can be tempting to start giving her a "little bit extra" sooner, mares that are overweight or obese are more prone to dystocia. Letting your mare get too skinny is also bad news; during the fetal growth spurt and once the foal is born, her body will be under enormous stress to provide adequate nutrients and energy for both her and her foal. Trying to get weight on her after the fact can be really difficult.
Bottom line: Strive to keep your mare at a healthy Body Condition Score of 5 to 6 throughout her pregnancy. Consult with your veterinarian or a qualified equine nutritionist to formulate the best diet for your mare.
As we all know every horse is different so consult with your veterinarian on what is best for YOUR mare. Happy Breeding!
Did you know: We offer mare breeding services!
We offer an in-clinic breeding package which includes your mare’s stay throughout her breeding cycle. Advantages to this plan are plentiful as the close access to the mare allows for timely breeding cycle checks and less hassle for owners trying to make appointments, not to mention the saved cost of not having a farm call for multiple days! We offer fresh cooled and fresh insemination, but do not perform frozen semen insemination or embryo transfer at this time. Contact us today if you want our assistance in getting a little one on the way!