After 24 Hours
To prevent complications, a foal navel should be checked regularly. A wet navel after the foal is more than 48 hours old is a worrisome signal and you need to contact your veterinarian. Watch the newborn foal frequently to see if it is bright and alert. The foal should constantly nurse which is often followed by a nap. Foals that wander off and that are not interested in nursing can be cause for concern. If the foal is not nursing, the mare’s udder may remain full. Always check the mare’s udder to see if the foal is consuming enough milk. Be concerned when the mare’s udder is too full or too small. Mares that do not produce enough milk will have udders that are frequently small in size. In these cases the foal will be back to nurse too often and it may also skip nap time. You may think that the foal is nursing well when in fact it is seeking the mare non-stop because it is hungry.
Some newborn foals have weak legs and are down in the pasterns. The legs should become stronger with time. If you notice any limb deformities in the newborn, contact your veterinarian to discuss any treatments or recommendations for the condition. When the foal is about 10 to 14 days old it may present diarrhea associated with the mare being in heat (foal heat diarrhea). Generally, this type of diarrhea does not require any treatment. Diarrhea in the newborn that is not associated with the mare’s foal heat should be discussed with your veterinarian and treated accordingly.
Newborn foals from mares that receive the appropriate foaling shots require no additional vaccinations. In this case, the first vaccinations can be performed after 3 to 4 months of age. Foals can obtain their first wormer at 30 days. Finally, always keep the lines of communication open with your veterinarian and take the time to ask when you are in doubt. Foaling and taking care of the newborn foal is a worrisome period but after a few foaling experiences you will become familiar the foaling process. Soon you will be able to start enjoying your new additions instead.