Research has shown that a small dose of oxytocin can induce a mare to give birth so long as she demonstrates the clinical and chemical signs of being prepared for labor, reports The Horse.
This is not inducing labor so much as intensifying the process.
If the mare doesn’t foal after the first injection, a second injection 24 hours later (and sometimes a third injection 24 hours after the second) can encourage a safe and healthy foaling. The key is to time the oxytocin injection as closely to the mare’s actual foaling date as possible to advance foaling by a few hours.
More frequent or higher doses of oxytocin or other medications may lead to faster foaling even in mares that aren’t ready, which could cause weak, immature foals and problematic births.
Being able to manipulate a mare’s foaling time can mean better management, allowing for horse managers and veterinarians to be on hand in case of problem birth or issues with the foal. The ability to influence the time of birth could reduce the need for night watches.
After reviewing 114 academic publications, researchers Dr. Christine Aurich, and Christina Nagel, both of the Graf Lehndorff Institute for Equine Science, in Neustadt, Germany, concluded that a low-dose of oxytocin, given once a day in a mare that is ready to foal, can manipulate her foaling time.
The researchers state that this specific oxytocin administration should be considered a new and safe tool to use in equine reproductive medicine, especially in cases where night monitoring of the mares is not possible or guaranteed.
Read more at The Horse.