Having a foal can sometimes be a risky endeavor.  Some mares enter into gestation with medical problems.  Sometimes mares encounter medical problems during the gestation process.  Any condition that jeopardizes the health and well-being of either the pregnant mare or developing fetus constitutes a high-risk condition.  Other times an owner might simply prefer to have experienced personnel present at foaling and during the early neonatal period so that if there were to be any complications they would be identified and ensuing treatment initiated immediately.

Conditions that would constitute a High Risk Pregnancy in a Mare:

  • Previous Foaling Difficulties (ie. Dystocia, Red Bag Delivery/Premature Placental Separation)
  • History of Laminitis, Metabolic Syndrome, Heaves, Hydrops Allantois, Pelvic Fractures, Pneumonia,  Neurological Disease (EPM)
  • History of Placentitis (Uterine Infection)  {** Number one cause of pregnancy loss in the mare **}
  • History of Uterine or Cervical Damage
  • Mares with Peripartum Hemorrhage/Bleeding at prior foaling
  • History of Fetal Resorption, Abortion or Still Born Foal
  • History of Previously Septic Foal (ie. Sick Foal)
  • History of Colic or Gastrointestinal Disease
  • Mares that have undergone surgery during the pregnancy
  • Maiden Mares older than 10 Years
  • Premature Delivery
  • Hernia’s in the body wall (ie. Pre-Pubic Tendon Rupture)
  • Previously sick foals (ie. septic foals, neonatal isoerythrolysis NI, Hypoxic Ischemic / Neonatal Maladjustment / Encephalopathy / “Dummy” Foal)
  • Prolonged Gestation Length

Our High Risk Foaling Program is designed specifically to meet these needs.

Special Equipment Available
Multiple imaging modalities, including ultrasound (rectal and trans-abdominal) and radiography are available for both mares and foals.  Pulse Oximetry to measure oxygen saturation levels, blood pressure monitors, electrocardiography (ECG/EKG), oxygen delivery systems, intravenous infusion pumps are just some of the equipment available to monitor and treat your mare and/or foal.  Specially designed stalls to allow critically ill neonatal foals to be treated while staying in close contact with the mares ensures proper maternal bonding as well as allowing the foals the treatment they need.

Performance Equine Vets is equipped with full surgical facilities should the need for such an emergency arise.   A special sling is available in the event a mare has special requirements and would benefit from its use.  A hoist is also available for use to assist mares with special needs or problems during foaling.  

Our medical staff is trained to support and monitor your mare 24 hours each and every day for delivery.  Unfortunately, one of the limitations in equine prenatal care is the difficulties in accurate prediction of delivery.  Gestation in mares can be quite variable.  Typical gestation can range anywhere from 330-365 days.  Health checks are performed regularly to monitor the progress of your mare and the pregnancy.  Daily evaluation of vulva, udder development, and pelvic ligament relaxation are monitored to help estimate the delivery.  After delivery, a full assessment of the foal is done by our Veterinarian(s) and procedures routinely performed are treatment of the navel with dilute chlorhexidine, administration of an enema, complete blood count and an IgG test to evaluate adequate colostrum intake.  Our mares are routinely administered an anthelmintic (dewormer) to lessen the occurrence of neonatal diarrhea in the foal.  Other treatments and/or procedures are associated with specific foal and/or mare needs.  A full placental evaluation is performed.  The placenta is an extension of the foal and changes observed in the placenta are indicative of the environment and the challenges the foal was exposed to while in the uterus.

When to Transport to the Clinic
We are often asked by owners when the appropriate time is for transport to the foaling facility.  The best time is typically 4-6 weeks prior to foaling.  This ensures appropriate time for mare adjustment to her new surroundings and proper antibody development to ensure passage to the foal.  We understand that every situation is different and that perhaps 2-3 weeks may be more appropriate in certain individual cases.  We can certainly help you decide on the best timing for your individual mare.

A high risk mare can sometimes produce a foal with medical problems.  Having a Veterinarian available at the time of birth can reduce the time it takes to start life saving treatments on the foal.  Our goal is a healthy foal.  The task of assisting a sick foal in recovery can be extremely challenging and demanding, but everyone involved in the process finds much fulfillment in the endeavor.


– Click here for New Client Form

– Click here for General Check In

– Click here for Foaling Mare Check In

– Click here for Embryo Transfer Pricing & Contract

– Click here for the link to Oocyte/ICSI Contract

– Click here for the link to Normal Foaling Events

– Click here for the Mare Foaling Date Calculator, simply put in the ovulation date of your mare and find out her due date along with scheduled vaccinations and checkups!

– Click here for the link to Foal Vaccination Date Calculator, simply put in the date your foal was born and find out when vaccinations are due!

We are always available for a consultation.

If you have any questions and would like to speak with a Veterinarian, please call us at 803-641-0644