First Trimester Care – A Confirmed Pregnancy
The first trimester of your mare’s pregnancy starts on the day of conception and ends at day 113. During the first trimester, her nutritional requirements will be basically the same as they were before she became pregnant.
To ensure that your mare maintains a healthy weight, she can be maintained on high-quality forage, pasture or hay and unlimited access to a mineral salt block. If she’s a “hard-keeper”, supplementing with a concentrated feed and keeping her stomach pH balanced will help to maintain her body condition score and digestive integrity.
During this first trimester, best practices dictate that she not receive vaccinations in this period of time. It is, however, recommended that she be dewormed sometime between days 60-90.
While the dietary needs for your mare may not change much if, at all, special precautions should be taken to protect the newly-implanted pregnancy during the first 30 days.
These precautions include things such as reducing her workload and avoiding any high-intensity exercise. This is particularly important on those hot days.
Second Trimester Care – Maintaining Good Body Condition
The second trimester for your mare begins on day 114 and goes until day 225. This is sort of the “coasting” period. She can resume her regular workload (within reason) and shouldn’t have any energy deficits.
During the second trimester, your mare should receive a total of two EHV-1 vaccinations. One should be administered on day 150 of the pregnancy, along with a second deworming. The second EHV-1 should be administered on or around day 210.
Maintaining your mare during her second trimester includes providing a generous amount of high-quality hay and just enough grain or concentrated feed to keep her in moderate body condition. You may also need to add a vitamin and mineral supplement to ensure that all of her nutritional requirements are being met.
Third Trimester Care – The Home Stretch
The third, and final trimester for your mare runs from day 226 until around day 340 – the average foaling date. This trimester is undisputedly the most important trimester in terms of fetal growth and development.
The first two trimesters of your mare’s pregnancy will be relatively easy with regards to care and support. Now that she is in the final stage, she is going to require more care and attention.
Due to the rapid growth of the fetus towards the latter part of the pregnancy, the nutritional needs of your mare will increase by about 30%. It is imperative to concentrate on vital nutrients, vitamins, and mineral content of her feed – this is so much more important than just calories.
During this third and final stage of pregnancy, your mare will need to receive the most important set of vaccinations, known as “Pre-foaling” vaccinations. These vaccinations are primarily for establishing a solid immune system in the foal, however, the mare certainly benefits from these vaccinations as well.
The administration of these vaccines during this time will help ensure that your mare produces high levels of antibodies that will provide the immunity-boosting building blocks of her colostrum.
Monitor your mare regularly when she’s close to term. By “regularly” that means “continually”, as in every hour. It is particularly important to pay attention to anything that seems off.
The number one sign to look for is if your mare is lying down more than usual. Another thing to watch for is an abnormal vaginal discharge that may lead to infection and can be fatal to the foal.
The last part of the pregnancy can be an exciting, nerve-wracking time, to say the least. Always go with your gut – if something seems alarming, contact your veterinarian right away. It is always better to be safe than sorry.