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Dr. Jean
Dr. Jean, Horse Veterinarian
Category: Horse Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 52
Experience:  15 years of experience in equine practice including Chiropractic and Acupuncture therapies.
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how do you tell when your horse is about to give birth, in

Customer Question

how do you tell when your horse is about to give birth, in plain english to where an average person can understand
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Horse Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Jean replied 8 years ago.

There are several signs you can look for. Unfortunately, none of them are a guarantee that the horse will deliver.

Relaxing of the vulva - the lips of the vagina will relax and get 'saggy'.

Loosening of the ligaments around the tail head - this will look like the tail head has actually lifted up and become more prominent.

Swollen, full udder - will feel firm to the touch.

Wax on the teats - the wax actually looks like crystallized honey on the tips of the teats. This usually shows up in the last 24 hours.

Dripping milk - this is one of the last symptoms before labor becomes obvious.

Early labor often is just restless behavior, pacing, maybe getting up and down, sweating. That is followed by the water breaking and labor with actual pushing to deliver the foal.

Unfortunately mares can foal without ever showing any of these signs. They are quite sneaky. There are milk electrolyte tests that can help you narrow down the nights to stay up and watch her. The test is run on milk you strip out of the mare's teat.

Here is a link to the description of a milk electrolyte test:

Here is a brochure that describes normal foaling behavior:

Let me know if you have any other questions.

Dr. Jean