Foaling prediction methods in periparturient mares
Early intervention in the process of foaling can be important for a positive outcome. Besides from the physical signs that the mare is getting close to the moment of foaling, there are different measuring methods to determine if the foal is coming soon. Calcium titration method and a pH strip combined give the most reliable results if the foal is coming.
Prefoaling mammary secretion of forthy mares was collected and evaluated from day 320 of gestation. Quantitative methods used for the evaluation of the secretion are calcium titration method , calcium and magnesium strip, digital pH device, paper pH strip, and Refractometer (Brix). These tests detect changes in electrolytes, decrease in pH and increase in the refractometry index in mammary secretion. Also an electronic transponder device was placed in the vulva, designed to alert when parturition has been initiated
Quantitative methods are most beneficial in predicting when a mare would not foal. The calcium titration method was the most sensitive method and identified the highest proportion of mares not foaling , while the paper pH strip was the most specific method. An ideal diagnostic test is both sensitive and specific, a combination of these test will give the best indication if the mare should be monitored. The paper pH strip and Calcium and Magnesium strip provided useful information that the mare was preparing to foal in the next 72 hours. The electronic device gave multiple false alarms or no alarm.
Did you used prediction test on your mare and what is your experience?
Expert opinion by Annet Veen
This results can be taken in account if you are doubting which test should be used for your mare. Negative results on some test are also caused by individual differences between mares. This means that no test is 100% reliable and even if you have used a test you should keep an eye on your mare and for physical signs of a coming foal.
> From: Diel de Amorim et al., journal of equine veterinary science 77 (2019) 86-92. All rights reserved to Elsevier Inc.. Click here for the online summary.