The first few hours and days are crucial for the foal’s life and well being. Understanding what is normal and expected on a newborn will help you identify issues if they arise. A very simple blood test, the IgG snap test, can be performed on farm to diagnose failure of passive transfer. Treatment with plasma transfusion can be initiated immediately and prevent further interventions and complications.
Dr. Elizabeth Martinsen, a board Certified Theriogenologist, has many years of experience caring for the newborn. You can refer to her article on foaling and neonatal care for more details on how to care for your newborn foal.
Foaling services are provided using the Foal Alert System. This system contains a small device which is attached to the vulvar lips of the mare a few days before the due date. Upon foaling, the device will transmit a signal to an automatic dialer that notifies the veterinarian. Personnel with foaling experience are present on the premises 24/7. The mare is monitored closely until she passes the placenta and the foal stands up for nursing. After 12 hours, a blood IgG test is performed on the foal to determine if the colostrum intake was adequate. Nursing frequency is still monitored for the first few days.