Is she pregnant?

I have a 12 year old mare that is supposedly pregnant. An Amish friend told us that she looked pregnant so is there a way I can tell she really is pregnant before she has it with out having the vet out? They said that we could check ...I have a 12 year old mare that is supposedly pregnant. An Amish friend told us that she looked pregnant so is there a way I can tell she really is pregnant before she has it with out having the vet out? They said that we could check ...

Story originally posted by: Maggie FlowersHorseCity.Com Training Director

I have a 12 year old mare that is supposedly pregnant. An Amish friend told us that she looked pregnant so is there a way I can tell she really is pregnant before she has it with out having the vet out? They said that we could check to see if she’s been leaking milk and I really have not noticed. I have had her for 10 months. The person we bought her off of had her out with some other horses right before we brought her home and there was one horse that wasn’t gelded right so do you think he could have done something?

There may be a good chance that your mare could be pregnant, but before we make a definite decision lets check a few things out. Has your mare been exhibiting a much slower, sluggish walk? If she has always been a social mare, especially with other mares, she is now isolating herself and showing the others that she is protecting her space around her.This is sometimes an indicator to an impending arrival.

If you have not had her palpated (pelvic checked) by a veterinarian as of yet, she should be. In a mares last months of pregnancy there are something that should be done to help prepare her for an easier uneventful delivery. About a month prior to the due date, 335 days depending on the breed, the veterinarian should be reminded and ask him at that time to give her a tetanus toxic booster and maybe a Flu booster. At this time ask him if he thinks the mare has had a Caslick operation or has been sutured, if she has, then he can open her up at this time if she has good confirmation. If not in good confirmation, she can be let alone then you can do the opening at the time of foaling.

At this time you can check to see if the mare has begun to "bag," that is, her udder suddenly enlarges. When your mare starts to bag, or show rapid udder development, watch her more closely. If bagging seems too much, forming hard edema that pits when you press your finger into it, call you veterinarian, she may need to have her grain cut back. Also check for the appearance of the abdominal mid-line blood vessel that runs down the center to the udder that becomes prominent, especially in the last trimester.

The normal mare will give anywhere between twelve and twenty four hours’ notice of impending foaling by "waxing." This "waxing" just indicates that milk is forming in the udder and is starting to leak out. At first , this milk will have a honey or beeswax look to it appearing at the teat ends. It may even look milky-white and literally flow from the mare’s teat openings. By the way a mare has two teats, but has four quarters. If you have noticed that the flow of milk has lasted more than twelve hours and foaling has not happened. . .try and collect the milk and freeze it. This is the most valuable colostrum, the milk that gives the foal all its immunity. DO NOT remove the milk manually.

Occasionally, however, some mares will foal without waxing, or even bagging. Some will even appear to have no milk immediately after foaling, then with three hours they are gushing! Don’t get discouraged when your veterinarian is unable to say exactly when a mare will foal. Remember, he has not been available to be with your mare as much as you have to be able to observe the subtle differences in her such as; the waxing, the enlarging valva, and the relaxation of the pelvic ligaments. She may even appear to have a "dreamy – not tonight" look about her. Some other signs are sweating, pacing, getting up and down, straining (pushing) and the appearance of the first pink bubble of the placenta.

Let the mare do the work herself, it come natural to her, just be there in case she needs help.Trust your own natural instincts, when the time comes. But always have the veterinarian on stand-by if not beside you.