Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Maternity Ward at the AVC

Spring is the time for mares to foal or give birth. We use the Foalert mare monitoring system which alerts us when the mare begins to foal. This allows us to attend every foaling. When a mare arrives at the AVC to foal out, we suture (stitch) a "transmitter" to her vulva. This is a picture of a transmitter sutured in a mare. This mare is a Belgian mare named Betty who arrived to foal today!
This transmitter is triggered when the mare begins labor, transmitting a signal to a receiver which is attached to an autodialer. The autodialer then dials our pagers to alert us of labor. Here's a picture of the receiver and autodialer.

It is not uncommon for us to have 3-5 pregnant mares due to foal in the clinic at one time. Talk about an unusual maternity ward! And even though I have attended hundreds of foalings, a newborn foal still makes me smile! The other great thing about foaling out mares is we can watch these foals develop from newborns to yearlings to adults.
Here's a picture of "Emerald Mountain Lau", owned by Marylee McGee, as a newborn foal. She was born on March 5, 2008. And here's a picture of "Emerald" almost a year later as a yearling! Oh...and her mother's name is "Diamond Godiva".
Trivia Question: How long is a mare's gestation? Post your answer as a comment!


  1. 11 months. :)
    I am learning so much with your posts!!!
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. You are right! The gestation of a mare is 340 days which is 11 months and 1 week! A long time!