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Foaling Care

UF Equine ReproductionIf any problems occur or if you have any questions call your veterinarian or contact the UF Large Animal Hospital at 352-392-2229. Do not hesitate to call as the first few hours and days of a foal’s life are the most critical.

Information provided by Dr. Amanda House, Veterinarian of UF Large Animal Internal Medicine, Clinical Assistant Professor, DACVIM, Equine Extension Specialist, and Course Director of the Practice-Based Equine Clerkship Program

Prior to foaling

It is ideal to have everything you may need on-hand for foaling, including your veterinarian’s emergency phone number. Below is a list of items to have on-hand and things to watch for prior to foaling.

What items will I need to prepare for foaling?

  • Scissors
  • Umbilical tape
  • Umbilical dip
  • Towels
  • Bulb syringe
  • Foal Resuscitator
  • Oxygen
  • Enema
  • Thermometer
  • Stethoscope
  • Foal blanket
  • OB gloves
  • Lubricating jelly
  • Digital clock

Warning signs prior to foal delivery

  • Waxing of teats
  • Dripping milk from udder
  • Mammary (udder) development begins 2-6 weeks prior to foaling
  • Relaxation of muscles around the tail head and perineal region
  • Mare may begin to appear restless immediately before foaling
  • Elongation and swelling of the vulva


Once the water breaks or you see membranes, the foal should be delivered in 20-30 minutes. If the foal is not delivered within 30 minutes or the mare is not making progress over 10-15 minutes, call your veterinarian or contact the UF Large Animal Hospital immediately.


Remember the 1-2-3 rule, know clinical signs that need emergency veterinary care, and prepare for the post-partum mare check-list.

The 1-2-3 Rule

  • One hour to stand
    • The foal should be sternal within 1-5 minutes
  • Two hours to nurse
  • Three hours to pass the placenta
    • If the mare does not pass the placenta within 3 hours, this is a medical emergency!

Post-partum mare check-list

  • Make sure the placenta has passed within three hours of birthing
    • Save all parts of the placenta to look for abnormalities and remember to keep it away from animals
  • Check the udder for milk
  • Check the vulva for trauma
    • Look for bruising, tears, monitor for discharge after foaling
    • Monitor appetite, temperature, manure output

Clinical signs in the foal that require emergency veterinary care

  • Meconium impactions
  • Weak, cold
  • Not suckling
  • Swollen joints
  • Diarrhea
  • Not moving
  • IgG is low
  • Fever
  • Colic

Newborn foal output

  • Meconium  passage within 4-6 hours
  • Urinates within 9-10 hours

Newborn foal normals

  • Temperature 99-102oF
  • Heart rate 80-120
  • Respiratory rate 20-40
  • Pink gums
  • Nursing 4-6 times per hour
  • Fecal output 2-5 piles per day, pasty


More foal veterinary care information