Newborn Foal Care



I'm dr. Pat McHugh the director of the equine reproduction lab at Colorado State University I'd like to welcome you to our facility to talk about aspects of the pregnant mare carry the newborn foal and evaluation with placenta now we're going to talk about care the newborn foal a general guideline that is that it's helpful is the 1 to 3 rule foals should generally stand by an hour nurse by 2 hours and past their first manure or meconium by 3 hours if foals haven't passed meconium then an owner should be ready to provide an enema to that bowl in order to get them to defecate some foals will struggle to defecate and one of the issues with that is if a foal is not not defecating and it has a meconium impaction they won't be nursing from the mayor there is a correlation between meconium impactions and failure passive transfer and also foals that have meconium actions have a higher incidence of bacterial infections or or sepsis so we would generally recommend that a horse owner have have a general fleet type enema or sodium phosphate enema available for administration of that foal should default strain to defecate and be unable to or has not passed meconium by by 3 hours once a foal is born the the first event that that an owner should interact with is to make sure that the amnion is off the nose so the foal can have an airway to breathe if I in during a normal fowling the amnion will tear off of the nose and an owner really doesn't have to intervene at all and can just monitor that fowling from outside the fowling stall or the fowling area so once the shoulders or chest of the foal is out through the vulva of the mayor if the amnion is still over the nose the the owner or fowling attendant should step in tear the amnion off the the head of the foal to allow that foal to have an opportunity to breathe often the the full rest behind the mayor for a period of of many minutes following the falling and then typically the mayor will stand up and when she stands up the umbilical cord will separate from the full and normally there's a break area that's about one or two inches away from the abdomen of the foal leaving a small short umbilical stump that should be disinfected by the owner immediately after it breaks if possible a standard disinfectant would be chlorhexidine or Novus and diluted in a what we use is a one-to-one dilution of nil the sand and water and we'll dip that naval with that disinfectant two or three times a day for the first two or three days of life diluted betadine will also work well and many farms and ranches will use iodine strong iodine or tincture of iodine in the animal world is 7% that's that can be very harsh on on the navel and newborn and the skin of the newborn foal and some people can have reactions on their skin so if you're going to use a tincture of iodine or strong iodine it's best to dilute that down to one or two percent so probably a 1 to 4 dilution of iodine would work well but the the equine industry is is moving forward a chlorhexidine one to one dilution of chlorhexidine or Novus and for naval disinfection once the foal has been born is breathing you've disinfected the navel the next day the next opportunity you've got is to test moms colostrum and one would simply step into the stall take a few drops of that early milk from the mayor and use a refractometer to look at colostrum quality if you can understand if mom's got good good quality colostrum medium or for quality colostrum you can make decisions early on to avoid the possibility of failure passive transfer or inadequate transfer of maternal antibodies to the foal if a foal does have lower transfer of maternal antibodies than what's ideal that foal is going to be susceptible to infectious disease early in its life you also have a possibility that if if a mare falls out and has a large utter and lots of colostrum to store some of that colostrum for another foal we strongly urge horse owners to develop a colostrum bank and to store colostrum on their own farmer ranch for future foals whose whose dam may not have much colostrum or if there's an orphan foal deniz colostrum and to have several several units of colostrum available on on each equine facility once the foal stands a nurse is again the one-two-three rule is full should stand by an hour nursed by two hours in pass meconium by three hours foals need an opportunity to nurse from the mayor the fowling attendant or owner should monitor the the nursing of that bowl to make sure that that foal is indeed nursing from the mayor if the goal is not nursing then that foal does need to get colostrum into it and that can be bottle fed to a foal or that foal can be tubed by a veterinarian to make sure that colostrum gets into the foal and by doing that that ball will be be able to absorb antibodies out of that colostrum that are protective against infectious disease if the foal stands a nurse as well and if moms colostrum quality is good we would expect that fall to take in a high a high level of antibodies from mom we can actually monitor that as well by taking a blood sample from the foal to evaluate IgG or antibody levels for from passive transfer all large animal offspring whether it's calves or lambs or foals can only absorb antibodies from colostrum for the first 24 hours of life most of that absorption occurs during the first eight to twelve hours of life and only a moderate to small amount occurs in the last 12 to 24 hours of that first day of life after 24 hours little to no absorption of antibodies occurs through through the gut through colostrum one can take a blood sample from the fall early on say at 12 hours and and test it for antibody levels if a foal has high enta body levels at 12 hours of life there's no more interactions that need to be done with the fall from that standpoint things are looking good however if at 12 hours of life if a blood sample is collected from the foal and antibody levels are still low from mom having either poor quality colostrum and it in an inadequate amount of colostrum or the foal has not nurse well or maybe mom has leaked her colostrum and all that all that valuable antibodies is is on the ground if you test the foal at 12 hours of life and antibody levels in the foal or low you have an opportunity still to go to your colostrum bank fossum colostrum either bottle feed that fall or have your veterinarian tube the bowl to get colostrum into the fall during the time that Bowl can still absorb it if you wait and test after 24 hours if levels are low than oral administration of colostrum is is not going to be a value because fo cannot absorb the colostrum anymore it'll simply be digested a foal that's 24 hours old or older that has low antibody levels the only way to get antibodies into that ball for protection against infectious disease is an intravenous plasma transfusion so we strongly urge owners to test foals at 12 12 hours or at least 24 hours to determine F foals have an adequate amount of antibodies to be protective against infectious disease one of the best ways to get a successful outcome to a fowling is to be prepared and that's to have a fowling kit with supplies available and readily available at the side of the stall and have an emergency plan of what to do in case things don't go as well as expected that plan should be developed with all farm personnel present and in conjunction with with the local regular veterinarian and if one is prepared and one has a plan and most of the time in in most instances hopefully we won't need it but in the event of a problem you'll you'll be ready thank you very much

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