© 2008 Cherry Hill ©
Our mare is due on Feb 9, 2002, and I have asked different
people exactly what things I should have in my medical box - but they haven't
given me a list of things that I should have - This is our first foal - so I can't
go from experience - and the most of my other "horse friends" have never went
through foaling either - so that is why I am asking if there is a list of things
that I should have - I have the usual stuff - but I am not sure if these things
will be of any help to me - in case I have a problem.. Thank You very much.
I'll get to the contents of a Foaling Kit in just a
But first be sure you talk with your veterinarian
on what type of medical treatment(s) he/she feels your mare and foal should have
prior to and after foaling. I don't want to make any recommendations about veterinary
treatments as they will vary depending on your situation and your skill level.
Between you and your vet, you'll need to decide if the following things should
be administered, when, and by whom. Your veterinarian might recommend none, some,
or all of the following:
- tetanus antitoxin
- penicillin for mare and/or foal
- blood testing
of foal (IgG - level of immunity)
- deworming of mare right after foaling
- probiotics for foal (vitamin, mineral, enzymes, live
organisms in a paste to "jump start" the foal)
- other tests or medical
procedures depending on your mare and specific situation.
should have a general equine first aid kit in your barn. (Reference Horse
Health Care p.73) In addition to your main equine first aid kit, you should
have a Foaling Kit with some specialized items for the foal and some for the mare.
Here's what I have in my barn foaling kit:
- VET'S PHONE NUMBER(S)
- CELL PHONE IF NO PHONE IN BARN CAMERA
(I like my digital camera as it takes great pictures WITHOUT a flash so as not
to disturb mare and foal.)
- FLASHLIGHT AND BATTERIES
- CLOCK OR
WATCH TO KEEP TRACK OF INTERVALS
- NOTEBOOK AND PEN TO TAKE NOTES OF EVENTS
- BOOK - The Complete Book of Foaling by Dr.
- LOTS OF CLEAN TOWELS (VARIOUS SIZES)
- IVORY LIQUID
- IODINE NAVEL DIP
- TAIL WRAP
- KY JELLY
- OBSTETRICAL SLEEVES
- CLEAN BUCKETS
BUCKET AND/OR GARBAGE BAG.
details on some of the items:
CLEAN TOWELS. For many uses including to
dry the foal, stimulate circulation, clean out nostrils if necessary. But don't
do too much of this unless it is very cold. Let the mare and foal have their natural
bonding time together. Only step in if the mare is not attending the foal or the
foal is very weak or cold.
TINCTURE OF IODINE (7%). You can
dip or spray the umbilical stump. I like to dip. I fill an empty plastic film
container, snap on the lid and have it ready stall-side. It is a good idea to
make up an extra in case the first gets bumped or spills while trying to dip the
navel on a frisky foal. Once the foal is up and the umbilical cord has broken,
have someone hold the foal around the chest and hindquarters. Raise the film container
of iodine up and press it over the navel cord and surrounding area. Hold for 5
seconds. Be sure to always use 7% iodine. "Gentle" 1% iodine is not strong enough
to sterilize the navel area fast enough.
FLEET ENEMA. Ask
your vet if he/she recommends that you give your newborn foal an enema as a matter
of course shortly after birth or if you should wait until the foal has difficulty
with his bowels. There are differing opinions on this and you should follow your
Fleet Ready-to-Use Enema
is a convenient method of relieving constipation caused by difficulty passing
the meconium (hard dark feces) that is present at birth. The adult, green label
Fleet works well and is available in most drug stores for about $3. You might
want to have 2 on hand. The soft, flexible Comfortip is pre-lubricated
to provide easy and comfortable insertion. If the foal's rectum is very dry, you
can lubricate the tip with your saliva (spit on the tip and spread it around)
or use KY Jelly (see next item.)
REMOVE PROTECTIVE SHIELD FROM ENEMA COMFORTIP BEFORE INSERTING.
**With very gentle steady pressure,
insert enema tip into rectum with tip pointing slightly upward.
is easy because the foal will have a reflex reaction to the touch as if having
a bowel movement.
This helps relax the muscles around the anus and the Fleet
tip tends to insert itself.
**Do not force the enema tip into the rectum
as this may cause injury.
**Squeeze bottle until the liquid is gone.
**Remove the tip from rectum and release foal.
JELLY is a water soluble lubricating jelly made by Johnson & Johnson. It is available
in any drug store for about $2 for a 4 ounce tube. It might come in handy for
lubricating the foal's enema tip or lubricating an obstetrical sleeve during a
vaginal exam of the mare prior to foaling. During foaling, artificial lubricants
are not necessary; the mare's natural secretions provide enough lubrication.
FOR THE MARE
SOAP AND CLEAN CLOTHS. I prefer Ivory liquid soap for washing the mare's perineal
area (Reference Horse
Health Care page 36-38) and udder prior to foaling. But take care you don't
use too much soap on the udder and be sure you rinse it thoroughly. Otherwise
the soap residue could cause the foal to reject the mare's udder or if he ingested
soap, it could cause him to have diarrhea.
TAIL WRAP. Prior
to foaling, you'll want to wrap your mare's tail COMPLETELY with either a bandage
or Vetrap. It will get pretty dirty during foaling so using Vetrap, which is disposable,
is more convenient as you can throw it away. By completely, I mean besides wrapping
the top, you want to wrap the entire length of tail to keep the long hairs out
of the way during foaling. If you want to use a cotton bandage, wrap the top of
the tail (Reference Horse
Handling and Grooming pages 142-145), then put the rest of the tail inside
a tube sock, bring the tube sock up to the tail wrap and tape the top of the tube
sock to about the middle of the tail wrap using several wraps round of sticky
adhesive tape. Alternatively, you can braid the mare's entire tail, fold it up
on top of the top portion of the tail and then wrap it all up in one thick bundle.
OBSTETRICAL SLEEVE/GLOVE. These disposable shoulder-length
thin plastic gloves come in handy if you need to assist your mare or handle her
placenta. In case the foal does not present in the proper position for delivery
and a vaginal assist is required. The sleeves are not for the protection of the
attendant; they are for the protection of the mare. No matter how well-scrubbed
your hands are, they are not as clean as sleeves.
You can also use a glove to help gather up a hanging placenta - while holding
onto the placenta with the gloved hand, use your other hand to take the edge of
the sleeve by your shoulder and pull it downward which turns in inside out capturing
the placenta inside. Tie the glove and its contents to the placenta near the vulva.
You can purchase a box of 100 sleeves for about $10 from a vet supply or just
get a few from your vet.
STRING. Have several 2-3 feet lengths
of thick string or baling twine available to tie up the placenta. Some mares release
their placenta right away, so tying it up isn't necessary. But for those mares
who take an hour or more to shed their placenta after foaling, you'll want to
bundle it up and tie it to itself to keep the mare from stepping on it. If it
drags on the ground, and she steps on it and rips it prematurely from her womb,
it could damage her uterus.
CLEAN PLASTIC MUCK BUCKET OR GARBAGE
BAG FOR PLACENTA. Your vet might want you to save the placenta so that the day
after foaling he/she can spread it out and look it over carefully for missing
pieces (retained placenta can cause serious infection in the mare). You can temporarily
store the placenta in a clean plastic muck bucket (lay an old plastic bag on top
of it to keep it from drying out) or you can put it in a garbage bag for disposal.
Have a great time foaling!