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Information for your reference or to print

Foaling Protocol

1. Tetanus vaccine for mare 1 month before foaling

2. Other vaccines as listed previously (EHV, Influenza +/- rotavirus)

3. Ivermectin wormer for mare on day of foaling to reduce strongyloides westerii infestation to foal

4. Episiotomy if necessary (if mare has been stitched) 1 week before foal due date if not being observed 24hours/day or otherwise at foaling

5. Record date when udder starts to enlarge dramatically (starts 4wks prior to foaling & very large at 2wks pre foaling as a rough guide)

6. Record date of waxing up (average 1-4 days pre-foaling, but some mares don’t & it can be a few wks before)

Waxing up

7. As foaling approaches udder secretions change from thin straw-coloured fluid to milky white fluid & eventually thick sticky yellow/orange colostrum

8. Best time to check colostrum quality on refractometer is as waters break, then if poor quality a supply if available can be defrosted

Predict when mare is likely to foal based on pre foaling milk calcium levels

9. Bandage mares tail & clean perineum (warm clean water) & dry (paper towel) when first stage labour begins

10. First stage labour (mare restless / sweats) lasts on average 30 mins – 4 hours

Restless mare

11. ‘Waters break’ – a lot of fluid & second stage labour begins (RED BAG AT THIS STAGE IS AN EMERGENCY - NEEDS TO BE BROKEN & FOALING ASSISTED – FOALS OXYGEN SUPPLY DEPLETING RAPIDLY)

Red bag= emergency!

12. Shiny white bag (amnion) appears closely followed by a front foot, then second foot (soles point downwards)

13. Nose appears on fetlock/cannons

Foaling

  Foaling position

14. Mare often gets up & repositions before head etc follow

15. As the head emerges the amnion usually ruptures (if not, it may be broken manually)

16. If foal needs to be pulled, check you have front feet and foal in correct position, pull in time with mare contractions and in an arc (CALL VET)

17. Once foal hips are out, mare often rests

18. As long as foal is breathing & nose is clear of amnion & fluid leave well alone (IF FOAL IS NOT BREATHING, CHECK NOSTRILS ARE CLEAR & RUB CHEST BRISKLY WITH A TOWEL; A PIECE OF STRAW POKED INTO A NOSTRIL MAY STIMULATE A RESPONSE. USE FOAL RESUSCITATOR)

Foal in amnion

19. After about 20mins mare may rise & cord breaks

20. Natural place for the cord to break is 2-5cm away from the foals belly

Umbilicus (navel)

21. There is usually no need to break the cord

22. Once a small amount of haemorrhage has occurred the cord stump can be sprayed with vetasept clear spray (repeat 8 hourly for 4 applications) or dipped in dilute iodine

23. Second stage of labour usually takes 20-30 minutes

Afterbirth (placenta)

24. Stage three of labour is expulsion of fetal membranes & uterine involution

25. Fetal membranes usually come away after 30mins-3 hours (IF NOT LOST AFTER 6 HOURS, VETERINARY ATTENTION SHOULD BE SOUGHT - SOONER IN HEAVIER HORSES!!)

26. The membranes should be inspected & kept for veterinary examination

27. Normal foal usually breathes within 1 min

28. Normal foal usually has lifted head & attempted sternal recumbancy within 5 min

29. Normal foal usually has a suck reflex within 5 min

30. Normal foal usually attempts to stand within 30 min

31. Normal foal usually able to stand unassisted within 60 –120 min

32. Normal foal usually nurses from udder within 60 – 180 min

33. The above are general guidelines, but certainly if a foal which has had no colostrum by 3 hours of age start to milk mare (500mls would be great!) & call the vet to stomach tube foal

34. IgG test best performed when foal is checked over at 8-18 hours of age; if levels are >800mg/dl fine; if 4-800mg/dl consider plasma transfer & consider further blood tests; if<400mg/dl then plasma transfer essential

35. For insurance purposes you may need exact IgG levels from beaufort labs

36. Blood testing foal at 24 hours old for haematology & biochemistry is routine on thoroughbred studs

Foal & mare vet check at 8-18hours post foaling (sooner if complications) to include physical examination of mare & foal; prophylactic 3 day antibiotics only given if foal compromised or poor hygiene; foal IgG blood test: tetanus anti-toxoid is still advisable even if mare recently vaccinated; phosphate enema if no meconium passed (or routinely??) or 0.5-1litre water & lubrel OK

                                           

Foal passing meconium

37. Several times per day the mares udder should be observed, the foals behaviour noted & its navel monitored. Normal urination & defaecation should be seen. Navel sprayed with vetasept or alamycin 8 hourly for 4 applications.

38. (Thoroughbred) foal checked again at 3-4wks of age & 2nd tetanus anti toxoid given (time for identification, micro-chip & bloods)

39. Foals begin worming program at 4 weeks with Panacur or ivermectin

40. Vaccinations for influenza, tetanus & herpes begin from 5 months of age

41. Weight recorded ?monthly?

42. Use record charts

Rectal temperature – foal - Normal 99.5° -100.5°F (37.5 – 38.5°C)

Below 98.5°F or above 101.5°F cause for concern