Jos, a question please. My mare lost what appeared to be a mucous plug and a fair amount of mucous on the 12th July and despite having all the other indications of being very close to parturition, she still has not foaled. I have started taking pH and calcium tests over the last four days and there has been no progression there. (pH - 8, calcium - 50). Her milk has been cloudy since Friday night, but not white. What is the approximate normal time between loss of the mucous plug and foaling? I have not seen this before in the past with my other mares. Should I be concerned? There is no sign of infection. She was pastured with the stallion over the last summer and separated from him in early September so I am not sure of her "foaling date".
Loss of a mucal plug is not a really reliable indicator in the equine, it being somewhat of an extrapolation from other species. A bit like "waxing", it can be a good indicator with some mares, but with others not.
Having said that, the cervix can relax up to two weeks prior to foaling in the equine, so if one assumes that the mucal plug, if present, is released shortly prior to that, it would seem reasonable to work on the principal that maybe as much as 3 weeks could pass after the presence of mucous is detected... if the mucous is from a cervical plug.
If you want a better idea of gestational stage, get your vet to perform an ultrasound and measure the orbit, which can give a reasonable estimation.
Thank you Jos. Unfortunately I live on a small island and although we have a "large animal" vet, I do not, to put it politely, trust his abilities where equines are concerned. Also he does not have the equipment to conduct an ultrasound. I am a patient person and as long as the mare doesn't show any signs of infection, I will hold off until she foals. She did not wax last time so I am not expecting her to do it this time. Her milk this morning is a lot more whiter and cloudy than it was yesterday, (pH - 7.6, calcium still 50) so I guess we haven't got too much longer! Tomorrow would be 3 weeks from the time of the loss of the cervical plug, if indeed that is what it was. Thank you for your help.
Jos, you were dead on with the three week time period. My mare foaled a beautiful filly. Everything went very rapidly from the time I posted. Her milk kept changing - calcium higher and pH lower and she foaled at about 10 p.m. (31st July) our local time (same as California). All seems well. Once again thanks. Pics can be seen on July 2007 Foalwatch.
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