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In the majority of cases, providing the mare is in good health and is in a suitable foaling box, little or no assistance should be required during foaling.
As delivery of the foal is so rapid, enormous commitment in terms of monitoring the mare is required. It is not enough to check the mare once in the night; continuous monitoring is advisable. If problems are encountered, there is little time to contact your vet.
Most mares prefer to foal at night in privacy, and can “fine tune” just when the foal is born. This is why it is important not to disturb the mare and why mares seem to give birth just when you pop into the house to make a cup of coffee and leave them alone.
While no assistance is usually necessary, speed is essential if problems do arrive. It is vital that you can quickly recognise the occasions when assistance is required and it is important for you to be able to recognise both the hormal signs of foaling and the signs that indicate something is going wrong.
The foaling kit
Just in case assistance is needed, a foaling kit should be prepared and kept on hand.
The kit should include:
- suitable obstetric lubricant designed for vaginal use;
- antiseptic soap and solution;
- foal ropes and protective clothing;
- a pair of blunt ended scissors;
- clean towels;
- Antiseptic solution/spray for dressing the navel;
- a watch;
- telephone number of vet or experienced foaling assistant.
Having oxygen on hand may also be advisable in the case the foal needs resuscitating.
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