Neonatal Care: All About Your Pregnant Horse

Welcoming a newborn foal into the world is an exhilarating experience for any horse owner. But with the joy comes the responsibility of ensuring proper neonatal care for both the mare and the foal. Just as with human pregnancies, equine pregnancies require attention to detail and specialized care to ensure a healthy outcome.

Pregnancy in Horses

The average gestation period for a mare is around 11 months, though this can vary slightly depending on the breed. During this time, it’s essential to provide your pregnant horse with proper nutrition, exercise, and veterinary care. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian experienced in equine reproduction can help monitor the mare’s health and the development of the foal.


Remember the 1-2-3 rule. This early guide can help determine if emergency veterinary intervention is needed.

Within 1 hour the foal should be standing

Within 2 hours the foal should be nursing

Within 3 hours the mare should pass her placenta.

Neonatal Care

Neonatal care refers to the care provided to newborn foals in the first few weeks of life. Just like human babies, foals are vulnerable in their early days and require special attention to thrive. Key aspects of neonatal care include:

1. Colostrum Intake

Colostrum, the first milk produced by the mare, is rich in antibodies that provide passive immunity to the foal. Ensuring the foal receives an adequate intake of colostrum within the first few hours of birth is crucial for its long-term health.

2. Monitoring Vital Signs

Keeping a close eye on the foal’s vital signs, including temperature, heart rate, and respiratory rate, can help identify any signs of illness or distress early on.

3. Umbilical Cord Care

Proper care of the umbilical stump is essential to prevent infection. Keeping the area clean and dry can help reduce the risk of umbilical infections, which can be life-threatening for the foal.

4. Nutrition

Providing the mare with a balanced diet during pregnancy and lactation is essential for the health of both the mare and the foal. Additionally, some foals may require supplemental milk replacers if they are unable to nurse adequately from the mare.

5. Veterinary Check-ups

A newborn foal exam is recommended in all cases and should be scheduled within 24 hours of birth. If the foal is having any difficulty in the early stages of life, an examination should be completed promptly.

Gallop Toward Success: Navigating Pregnancy and Neonatal Care for Your Equine Companion

At Advanced Equine of the Hudson Valley, we understand the importance of proper neonatal care for pregnant mares and their foals. Our team of experienced veterinarians specializes in equine reproduction and neonatology, providing comprehensive care for all stages of your horse’s pregnancy journey.
From prenatal care and foaling assistance to postnatal care and beyond, we are dedicated to helping your horse thrive. Schedule neonatal care for your pregnant mare today at Advanced Equine of the Hudson Valley and give your foal the best possible start in life!