A pregnant mare requires special care and attention to maintain the balance of her body and ensure the health of the fetus. As owners, you will have to worry primarily about two crucial aspects: nutrition and protection from pests and other microorganisms.
The mares begin to be ready for mating in spring. Until the arrival of summer, the female is likely to show heat symptoms every 3 weeks.
If your mare does not show these symptoms and refuses contact with a male, she is probably already pregnant. Usually the mares do not show a perceptible abdominal dilation before the 3 months of gestation. Therefore, you need to adopt more specific methods to verify that you are actually pregnant.
It is important that the verification is early, to adopt the appropriate care that the animal needs, avoiding any abortions and further problems.
How to know if your mare is pregnant?
Currently, you can choose between three different methods to confirm if your mare is really pregnant. We will illustrate them below.
The first method uses the observation of your mare’s behavior. The other two, both professionally made, involve the use of medical-health procedures that are more reliable and that will offer certain and immediate answers.
Understanding if a mare is pregnant: Behavioral methods
If your mare has already had contact with a male, after two weeks she can be approached again with another stallion, to observe her behavior. If she is pregnant, she will probably reject any new approach attempted by the opposite sex specimen.
The second non-professional method is to try to recognize the symptoms of jealousy in the mare. During this period, the mare raises its tail, opens and closes the vulva, bends and launches a strong flow of urine or mucus.
A pregnant mare usually does not show fertility symptoms during pregnancy.
Keep in mind, though, that these behavioral methods are not 100% reliable.
Check the situation of the fetus
Let us now turn to the first of the methods of ascertaining pregnancy, in your mare, concerning the use of non-chemical tests …
- Transrectal palpation: About 15 days after the mare was with a male, the veterinarian can perform a transrectal palpation. In this way, it will be ascertained if there are indications of pregnancy in the uterus.
- Ultrasound: It is the most reliable non-chemical method. From the sixteenth day of pregnancy, it is possible to detect it by means of ultrasounds. After 60/70 days of gestation, you can even find out the foal’s sex.
The importance of clinical analyzes
These are the most convenient chemical methods, if you want to ascertain the possible pregnancy of a mare …
- Blood test: Approximately 45 days after contact with the male, pregnancy can be detected with blood analysis. At the beginning, serum gonadotropin (PMSG) levels are measured in the blood flow of your mare.
- Urine analysis: It is usually complementary to the blood test. It consists of measuring the levels of estrone sulfate in the urine of the mare. It can be done from the 110th day after contact with the male. On the market there are kits to perform the test at home, but it is advisable to have the tests performed by a specialized laboratory.
Caring for a pregnant mare
Mares’ pregnancy generally lasts 11 months. A pregnant mare can become very vulnerable, putting the foal’s health at risk. Therefore, it is essential to preserve the well-being of both and offer the mother a safer, more protected and comfortable environment throughout the gestation period.
Food and exercises to not lose weight
A pregnant mare without sufficient nutrients, fodder and hydration can abort due to malnutrition, dehydration and other natural causes. Similarly, an obese and sedentary female can suffer complications during childbirth.
The daily diet should be reinforced with fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. Carbohydrates must be present moderately to provide energy without increasing the risk of overweight.
There are specific feeds for pregnant mares. Although these are industrial mixtures, they are an excellent option for ensuring the animal’s nutritional base.
Furthermore, a standard-sized mare (with a height of 152 cm at the withers) should consume 7 kg of good quality hay every day. When the animal has enough space and good grass, the amount of hay can be reduced.
At the disposal of pregnant mares, you should always keep plenty of water. Make sure it is always fresh and clean.
It is also essential to encourage the mare to move a little. Walk with her for 45 minutes at a moderate pace: it will be enough to keep her weight at adequate levels.
Vermination and vaccination
Respecting anti-parasitic treatments and vaccines is extremely important. Especially to allow the mare to transmit the antibodies necessary for the foal.
In the last month of pregnancy, it is essential to de-worm the mare and apply the additional corresponding vaccines.
Watch out for contact with other unknown equines. The female can be infected by the rhinovirus living with carrier and apparently healthy specimens. Regular visits by the veterinarian are essential to monitor the health of your pregnant mare.