Foaling Tips - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 18 Old 02-18-2012, 10:42 PM Thread Starter
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Foaling Tips

I have a mare who's due to foal in mid March. 3 years ago she had a foal, but after about a week he developed joint ill and had to be put down. I definitely want to make sure that this foaling goes smoothly and the foal is healthier than last time. What should I do at foaling to help prevent infections and problems in the foal?
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post #2 of 18 Old 02-18-2012, 10:59 PM
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The mare should be vaccinated one month prior to her estimated foaling date (hopefuly, you've already done this). Secondly, make sure you attend the foaling. Bed her disinfected stall with clean, fresh STRAW, and make sure you treat the foals navel with novalson/chlorhexidine immediately after foaling, and several times over the next few days. Make sure the foal is up and nursing within a couple of hours. The sooner s/he gets that antibody-rich colostrum into the gut, the better.

**Most importantly, make sure you have you vet do a IgG test within 12 hours post-foaling. It's cheap, it's easy, and it can literally be a life saver.

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post #3 of 18 Old 02-18-2012, 11:00 PM
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put iodine on the bellybutton as some as possible after the foals born, don't foal out in a dirty pasture, or stall, don't use wood shavings, because you lost a foal to joint ill from this mare already you should talk to your vet about giving the foal penicillin soon after it's born, and check it's antibody levels checked, and have some colostrum on hand to give the foal within 12 hours of birth.
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post #4 of 18 Old 02-19-2012, 02:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joie View Post
The mare should be vaccinated one month prior to her estimated foaling date (hopefuly, you've already done this). Secondly, make sure you attend the foaling. Bed her disinfected stall with clean, fresh STRAW, and make sure you treat the foals navel with novalson/chlorhexidine immediately after foaling, and several times over the next few days. Make sure the foal is up and nursing within a couple of hours. The sooner s/he gets that antibody-rich colostrum into the gut, the better.

**Most importantly, make sure you have you vet do a IgG test within 12 hours post-foaling. It's cheap, it's easy, and it can literally be a life saver.

YES! Please do that. IgG test will tell you weather or not you need to administer colostrum or do a plasma transfusion. Plasma transfusions are not cheap by no means, but well worth it. My foal that was born 8 days ago had to get it done after an IgG test came back low.

Also, like said, use clean straw not shavings. Disinfect the belly button. Normally joint ill is a result of not enough colostrum.
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post #5 of 18 Old 02-19-2012, 03:51 PM
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put iodine on the bellybutton as some as possible after the foals born, don't foal out in a dirty pasture, or stall, don't use wood shavings, because you lost a foal to joint ill from this mare already you should talk to your vet about giving the foal penicillin soon after it's born, and check it's antibody levels checked, and have some colostrum on hand to give the foal within 12 hours of birth.
Please use diluted Novolsan/Chlorhexidine rather than iodine, it is much less caustic :)

As others have said, you need to be sure she foals in a nice clean stall bedded with straw and not wooden shavings. There are at-home snap tests to check your foal's antibody levels, and there are products on the market to administer to foals that may not have recieved all they should have from mom. I prefer to have colostrum on hand for any foalings.
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post #6 of 18 Old 02-19-2012, 04:59 PM
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Where do you get the at home snap tests?
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post #7 of 18 Old 02-19-2012, 05:40 PM
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Ok question... can a foal get to much colostrum? Would it hurt to hand feed a foal colostrum you have on hand even if your mare is producing a sufficient amount?
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post #8 of 18 Old 02-19-2012, 06:24 PM
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no, it won't the foal can only absorb it for the first 12 hours, just because she has it doesn't mean it's got enough antibodies in it.
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post #9 of 18 Old 02-19-2012, 06:52 PM
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no, it won't the foal can only absorb it for the first 12 hours, just because she has it doesn't mean it's got enough antibodies in it.
So what your saying is it would be recommended to always supplement with an outside source of colostrum? If so can anyone recommend a product on the market they have used before? I wanna make sure I get the right thing, because I don't think I will be able to get my hands on any fresh or frozen.
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post #10 of 18 Old 02-19-2012, 09:36 PM
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You can also "test" the mares colostrum with an antifreeze tester, which tests the specific gravity of the colostrum (a very good indicator of quality). You milk the mare into a small container and draw up some of the colostrum into the tester. If all of the balls float, then the colostrum should be good. However, that doesn't mean the foal will absorb those antibodies, so you REALLY need to get some SNAP foal tests which can be done stall-side (even though I order my own tests, I have my vet out to draw blood and do a thorough check at 9-12 hours post foaling, if at all possible. If not, I luckily have a very strong and needle proficient friend available even at all hours of the night.

I've had two foals with a partial failure of passive transfer born in my care, and even though we supplemented with Seramune, they didn't retest any higher. I would make sure that you have a vet that can do a plasma transfer. My vet had never done one, but was more than willing to do whatever I needed to ensure my foals were healthy, or to refer me to someone who could.

As always, it is better to be proactive than reactive. :) Since your foal isn't on the ground yet, you still have time to get your ducks in a row for post-foaling at the very least.
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Last edited by Joie; 02-19-2012 at 09:39 PM.
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