If you own a pregnant horse, it’s essential to ensure that she gets the best care possible to help her and her unborn baby survive and stay healthy. Here are some tips to help you take care of pregnant horses properly.
The importance of proper nutrition
Proper nutrition is the best way to ensure your pregnant horse gets everything she needs. Generally, pregnant horses should be fed about 10% more than they would typically consume. This equates to about 2 pounds of additional feed per day. It’s important not to overfeed your horse at this time, or you will risk colic and other complications in pregnancy which can be very serious or even fatal.
Creating a safe environment
Creating a safe environment for pregnant horses is essential, especially during the last month of pregnancy. The pregnant horse should be in an environment that is not disturbed and has access to food and water. For example, you should give pregnant horses additional hay if needed because they might feel more hungry during the last month of their pregnancy. Make sure there are no disturbances like loud noises or people who might scare the pregnant horse.
Managing exercise and activity
Pregnant horses will typically slow their activity levels, but they should not be ignored. A pregnant horse can maintain a healthy lifestyle with proper care and supervision. Generally speaking, pregnant horses should not be ridden until the last trimester of pregnancy (approximately 30 weeks), only if it is safe and the vet has given permission. The main concern for riding is that it may cause premature birth or miscarriage because of jarring movements from the horse’s back. However, many other forms of exercise are safe during pregnancy, such as swimming or walk-trotting on level ground with no jumps or obstacles.
Providing essential vitamins and minerals
Pregnant horses require a lot of nutrients and vitamins. It’s best to consult your vet about which supplements are necessary for the mother and her unborn foal to get all the nutrients they need. Some joint supplements include:
– Calcium helps keep the mother’s bones strong and aids in milk production.
Iron is vital in carrying oxygen through the body, so pregnant horses must have enough of this nutrient. Too little iron can lead to anemia, which is dangerous and can lead to an abortion.
– Vitamins C and E – These antioxidants help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals.
Recognizing common health problems
Pregnancy is a time of change and stress on the body. It is essential to be aware of common health problems that are more likely during this period:
-Anemia -Lameness -Uterine torsion -Mare reproductive loss syndrome (MRLS) -Preterm birth
These conditions may develop at any point during the pregnancy but are more likely in late gestation. Lameness can be caused by toxemia, laminitis, or injury. Uterine torsion happens when an abnormal uterine growth causes it to twist or rotate on itself. MRLS occurs when a mare loses a foal or does not produce enough milk for her baby.