Foaling Report

2550 words - 10 pages

It is said that the horse is the most insufficient domestic animal at breeding and reproducing. This is largely because breeders have manipulated the gestation periods of the mare so that they are out-of-season breeders. The gestation length of a mare is in between 335 and 340 days. This leaves little time in the year to successfully rebreed a mare after foaling. Because of this, there needs to be considerable time taken to effectively care for the pregnant or open mare. Nutrition is an early factor in the gestation of the mare, this is then followed by the necessary vaccinations and deworming programs that should be routinely scheduled. The preparations of the stall and the mare are easy to ready for foaling, most can be done well ahead of time to help eliminate the stress involved. When the mare begins to visibly enter the different stages of parturition she will hopefully pass through the three stages with ease. The postpartum period is dedicated to looking over the foal and ensuring that there are no abnormalities present, and if any are evident they should be attended too quickly. If all of these concepts are understood and thoroughly applied to the gestation of the mare, the foaling staff will be more prepared to handle any problems that come their way.
Nutrition of the pregnant mare is one of the earliest factors that can positively or negatively influence the mare and developing fetus. The nutritional requirements of the first and second trimesters are similar to that of non-pregnant mares. During this period, as in the last trimester as well, the mare should demonstrate adequate body condition and a bright and alert state of mind. If the nutritional ratio is satisfactory, it has potential to improve the fertility of the mare and it can promote normal growth and well-being of the fetus. If at any point in time the quality of the provided nutrients drops below a desirable level, the mare’s body will draw from its own reserves to supply the needs of the fetus. The third trimester is the period of the greatest amount of growth in the fetus, 60 to 65 percent of the growth occurs during this time (Blanchard et al., 2003). For this reason in the last three months of gestation the crude protein content of the total ration should be increased to around nine to ten percent (Blanchard et al., 2003). Another factor that affects the horses ability to attain proper nutrition is the dental health of the mare. The horse’s teeth should be examined and or floated every six to twelve months to ensure proper chewing, which in return helps maintain the optimal body condition (Blanchard et al., 2003). Lastly, fescue grass needs to be completely avoided in the diet of the pregnant mare. The fungus found in fescue causes the placenta to thicken and become unusually tough. It can cause a prolonged gestation date, abortion and or dead or weak foals and potentially higher prenatal foal mortality (Reed et al., 2004)
Second to nutrition of the mare are...

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