Parker County Today May 2018 - Page 80

our expertise: VET COLUMN Preparing for Delivery By Tom Hutchins, DVM, DABVP North Texas Veterinary Hospital 8283 FM 920 • Weatherford, Tx and disinfected. Dirt or clay floors make sanitation more difficult. Straw is preferable to shavings, as it won’t cling to the wet newborn or mare the way small wood particles can. Mares provide clues that they will soon give birth; however, the timetable is far from absolute. Some mares will show all the signs like clockwork; others show practically none. The following is a general guideline, but be prepared for surprises: • The mare’s udder begins to fill with milk two to four weeks prior to foaling. • The muscles of the vulva and croup relax. • The teats become engorged four to six days prior to foaling. • “Waxing” of the teats occurs (a yellowish, honeylike secretion [colostrum] appears one to four days prior to foaling. • The mare becomes anxious and restless. She may appear to be colicky. She may kick at her belly, pace, lie down and get up, look or bite at her flanks and sweat. She may frequently raise her tail and urinate. Generally, this is the first stage of labor. Labor is divided into three stages: Stage one begins with the onset of Heartworm Prevention Program Call for Details Free Heartworm Testing with Purchase of Prevention (Some Restrictions May Apply) Dr. Craig Sweatt • Dr. Tom Hutchins • Dr. Stacy McLeod Small Animal •Equine •Livestock •Ambulatory Services 8283 FM 920 • Weatherford, Texas • 817-458-3355 78 The average length of pregnancy in the mare is 338-343 days. However, normal gestation can range from 320-380 days. You needn’t become overly concerned if your mare is past due. Prolonged gestation is not generally associated with problems or extra-large foals unless the mare is grazing endophyte-infected fescue grass. If your mare’s pregnancy extends much past 340 days or you’re concerned, ask your veterinarian to examine her to determine if the mare is still pregnant and confirm that all is well. If your mare has made it through 11 months of pregnancy, you’re almost home free. Labor and delivery, while momentous, are generally uncomplicated. Every effort should be made to be present during foaling. In most cases, you will simply need to be a quiet observer. Mares seem to prefer to foal at night in privacy and to have some control over the delivery. Hiring a foaling attendant, installing a video monitor, or using a birth alarm system can save the life of the foal should a problem arise. It is advisable to have your veterinarian’s telephone number nearby in case of an emergency. Should you choose to foal your mare in a stall, provide one that is a minimum of 14’ x 14’. If possible, the stall should have adequate bedding and a floor that can be readily cleaned deadly of foaling emergencies is a premature rupture of the chorioallantois, known as a “red bag delivery”. If at any time during stage two you see red/maroon membranes covering the foal as it emerges from the vagina, the placenta must be rapidly torn open. The foal is detached from its blood and oxygen supply. Normal membranes that cover the foal are white or yellow and translucent. Stage three labor begins after delivery and is the phase during which the afterbirth (placenta) is expelled. Most placentas are passed within one to three hours after the foal is delivered. If the placenta is not passed within three hours, call your veterinarian. A retained placenta can cause serious problems, including massive infection and laminitis. Most mares foal without difficulty. It usually is best to allow the mare to foal undisturbed and unassisted. If a problem becomes apparent, contact your veterinarian immediately. Dr. Tom Hutchins contractions and generally lasts one to two hours. During this phase, contractions move the foal through the cervix and into position in the birth canal. The fetal membranes may become visible at the mare’s vulva. When the sac breaks, signaled by a rush of fluid, stage one ends. Stage two is the actual expulsion of the foal. This phase moves relatively quickly. If it takes more than 30 minutes for the mare to deliver, there is most likely a problem. If there is no significant progress within 10-15 minutes after th HY[X[\\\K[[\]\[\X[[[YYX][KYX܈Y[\Hܙ\[›ܛX[KZ][] ܛX[\[][ۂوH[\[X\H][][ۋ]۝Y]\ ۙHYHZXYوH\ݙ\ۋY[HHHKXY X[\[[]X\\ˈY[HXHو\\ H[X^HBX\܈\YHۋ[[H[[[\]\[\X[[[YYX][KH[