McKee-Pownall Equine Services | Reproduction

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The veterinarians and staff at McKee-Pownall Equine Services provide reproductive services. We take great pride in continuously updating our skills to provide our clients with the most current and innovative techniques and equipment. Reproductive work can be scheduled on-farm.

  • Breeding soundness examination
  • Reproductive ultrasound examination
  • Estrous synchronization
  • Instruction on requirements for importation of semen
  • Infertility diagnostics (uterine culture/sensitivity, cytology, and endometrial biopsy)
  • Treatment of the infertile and subfertile mare
  • Vaginal speculum examination and endoscopy
  • Hormone analysis and manipulation
  • Evaluation of pregnancy and strategies for maintenance of pregnancy
  • Pre-foaling preventative health care and broodmare medicine
  • Foaling assistance/Dystocia management
  • Post-foaling emergency and preventative care
  • 24-hour emergency service
  • Fresh, cooled and deep horn artificial insemination
  • Treatment and mamagement of post-breeding endometritis
  • Acupuncture for pregnancy

For more information see our video series geared to new or first time breeders:

Breeding Time line


  • Breeding soundness exam, synchronize estrus and monitor uterine structures and conditions
  • Deworm – All stages of encysted small strongyles
  • Vaccinate for Rabies (now or at month 5 of pregnancy)
  • Dental care (now or second trimester)

1st Trimester

Monitor progesterone levels in at risk mares

Day 0 – Breeding date

Day 14-17 – Rectal ultrasound to confirm pregnancy and rule out twins

Day 25-29 – Rectal ultrasound to re-confirm viable pregnancy and rule out twins.  Check fetal heartbeat.

Day 60-70 – Ultrasound fetal sexing

Day 60 – First deworming

2nd Trimester

-Maintain hoof care, feed for growing foal

Day 150 – Second deworming

Initiate Herpes vaccination (EHV-1)– Month 3, 5, 7 and 9

3rd Trimester

Open Caslisks at day 300 or later, rising plane of nutrition, monitor for signs of placentitis

Day 270-300 -  9 Months vaccination for EHV-1.  Vaccinate for EWT, FR, WN, and PHF

Day 310 - Third deworming

Day 330-340 – Foaling

Reminder – like women, horses foal within a normal window and normal foals can be born anywhere from 300-360 days. Do not rely on a due date!

Stages of Labour

Stage One of Labour (30 Minutes to 4 hours)

  • Your mare might begin to act colicky, lie down, sweat, look at her, flank, posture, lift her tail, urinate
  • Uterine contractions are increasing and the foal is rotating position to enter the birth canal
  • During this time you can clean your mare’s perineum and vulva with warm water and wrap the tail
  • The chorioallantoic membrane ruptures (water breaks) and allantoic fluid leaks out

Stage Two of Labour (20-30 Minutes)

  • The foal begins to pass into the birth canal and there are intense uterine contractions
  • The mare will often lie on her side or stand up/lie down again
  • You should see a glistening white/grey sac (the amnion) begin to protrude from the vulva, The foal should be delivered with one front foot in front of the other, then the head
  • If this continues for more than 20 minutes without any signs of a foal  CALL THE VET
  • Once the foals hips have passed through the pelvis the mare will often rest for 15-20 minutes

o   As long as the amnion has ruptured, the foal is breathing normally and is lying in sternal they can be left undisturbed

·         The umbilical cord is best left to be ruptured naturally

o   NEVER cut the cord – this can lead to bleeding!   You can twist the cord, holding the foals umbilicus off and tearing on the mare side of the umbilicus if it appears to be having trouble tearing on its own.

Stage Three of Labour (30 min- 3 hours)

·         Expulsion of the placenta and fetal membranes

o   The placenta can be tied up to itself to keep the mare from stepping on it and prematurely tearing

·         Be sure to KEEP the placenta so your vet can make sure it has all been passed!!

The handout below outlines the stages of parturition, common foaling emergencies and can be posted on your mare’s stall for easy reference during the heat of the moment! HANDOUT

The Rule of 3

1)      The foal should stand within 1 hour

2)      The foal should nurse vigourously within 2 hours

3)      The mare should pass her placenta within 3 hours

If any of these seem delayed call your veterinarian


Rule of 3:  Foal should be standing in 1 hour, nursing in 2 hours, mare should pass the placenta by 3 hours

Post Foaling Exam

  • Veterinary exam within 24 hours of foaling
  • Test for serum IgG concentration within the first 12-18 hours
  • Deworm mare 24-48 hours after foaling
  • Dip umbilical stump – 3-4x daily for 2-3 days
  • Enema
  • Monitor nursing, meconium passage, body condition and conformation

Foal Care

First week of life– mange flexural limb deformities, dip umbilicus and monitor temperature and overall health

2-4 weeksinitiate therapy for moderate to severe angular limb deformities (often working with farrier)

6-8 weeksof age: Deworm for roundworms (ascarids)

6-8 weeks later:  Deworm again

4-6 months of age: Initiate vaccination series  for WNV, EHV-1/4, EWT, Rabies.  In epidemic areas, vaccinate for PHF and Strep equi

5-7 months of age:  Booster vaccines 

9-10 months of age:  Booster EHV-1/4 and EWT.  Vaccinate for influenza.

11-12 months of age: Deworm all stages of encysted small strongyles

Timeline For Artificial Insemination

The first step, once you have decided to breed your mare, is to select a stallion and contact the stallion owners. You should find out which days the stallion is collected, how the semen is shipped and time frame for shipping. In addition, for international shipping, you must find out what import regulations exist. This information can be obtained from our vet offices, CFIA office, or online on the CFIA website.

Next, your veterinarian needs to perform an initial assessment, including ultrasound examination, and other diagnostics depending on the mare's reproductive history. The initial ultrasound exam can provide information on when the mare is predicted to be in heat, and her potential timing of ovulation. Once the mare is in heat, she needs to be followed closely to predict the time of ovulation. For fresh cooled semen, the semen needs to be inseminated prior to the mare ovulating, and will generally remain viable within the uterus for up to 48 hours. For frozen semen, the mare needs to be inseminated within 4-6 hours of ovulation, and requires much more diligent monitoring of the mare through ultrasound. Ovulation is confirmed after insemination, and the mare is checked 14-16 days after ovulation for pregnancy.