Foaling Information & Fees

Foaling Services

 

The staff of equine professionals at Bandalero Ranch will foal out your pregnant mare and provide routine care for the newborn foal for $750.00 plus board. A limited number of mares will be accepted with potential foaling dates from January 1st through May 1st.

Services Included:

  • 24-hour monitoring

  • Large foaling stalls

  • Milk calcium screening to predict impending foaling

  • Foal Alert monitoring alarm to detect onset of foaling

  • Evaluation of the quality of the dam’s colostrum with refractometry

  • Umbilical cord care

  • Enema administered to newborn foal to decrease risk of meconium impaction
     

  • Additional Services Available (at an additional cost):

  • Supplemental colostrum, colostrum substitute (i.e. Seramune®), or plasma therapy if needed

  • Veterinary services for non-routine events (i.e. dystocia, retained placenta, etc.)

  • Foal heat breeding services for mare 

 

NI SCREENING



In some cases a mares milk can be toxic and lead to severe illness. If left untreated can result in the death of the foal. Neonatal isoerythrolysis (NI), aslo know as jaundice foal syndrome, is a rare disease that may occur in a foal if the mother has antibodies against the red blood cell type of the newborn foal. Foals are normal at birth and are only affected if they ingest colostrum with anti-RBC antibodies directed against their own red blood cells.  If the foal has the same blood type as its mother, there is not a problem. NI occurs if the foal inherits the blood type of its father and if the mare's antibodies are sequestered into colostrum, the first "mother's milk" the foal will suckle.  Exposure to theses antibodies puts susceptible foals at risk.

During the first 24 hours of life, the gut of a foal absorbs antibodies from the mare's colostrum after nursing. Ingestion of colostrum is critical for the health of the foal as foals are not boar with antibodies in their blood that will protect them from various infectious disease organisms they will encounter after they are born. foals and other large animals newborns are dependent on antibodies from their mother that they obtain through colostrum. This process is called "passive transfer of immunity." However, if a foal ingests colostrum containing antibodies against its blood type its red blood cells can be damaged or destroyed leading to anemia. NI affected foals usually being to show clinical signs, such as jaundice, weakness, increased respiratory rate, and passage of red-colored urine within 24 to 72 hours after taking in 'toxic' colostrum. Severely affected foals may die if untreated.

Neonatal isoerythrolysis is a life-threatening condition of newborn foals. NI can be prevented by a pre-foaling screening of the mare's blood and when a potential problem is detected proper measures can be taken to prevent the death of your foal.

 

IgG TESTING ON NEWBORN FOAL

FAILURE OF PASSIVE TRANSFER: Early Testing is the Key

Patrick M. McCue
DVM, PhD, Diplomate American College of Theriogenologists

Newborn foals enter the world without antibody protection. Foals are entirely dependent on antibodies absorbed following ingestion of mare’s colostrum in the first few hours of life for protection against infectious diseases. Mares produce colostrum only during the last 1 to 2 weeks of gestation as antibodies are actively transported from their blood and concentrated in the mammary gland. After nursing the colostrum, specialized cells that line the small intestine of the newborn foal absorb the antibodies and transfer them into the foal’s blood. Absorption of antibodies by these specialized cells is greatest during the first 6 to 8 hours after birth and stops by 24 to 36 hours of age.

Failure of passive transfer (FPT) of antibodies occurs in 10 to 20% of newborn foals. A foal greater than 24 hours of age is considered to have failure of passive transfer if circulating antibody (also called immunoglobulins or IgG) levels are less than 400 mg/dl. A level of 400 to 800 mg/dl is considered partial failure of passive transfer and a blood IgG concentration greater than 800 mg/dl is considered adequate.

The most common causes of FPT are poor quality colostrum and premature lactation. Mares that drip or run milk for several hours prior to giving birth are losing colostrum that is vital to the survival of the foal. In that situation, it is recommended that colostrum be stripped or milked out of the mare and saved for the foal. The colostrum should be strained through a gauze filter into a labeled plastic bottle and either refrigerated or frozen if foaling does not appear to be near. Other causes of inadequate transfer of antibodies include failure of colostrum production (i.e. due to fescue toxicity), inability or lack of desire by the foal to nurse, prematurity, dysmaturity, foal rejection by the mare and failure to absorb antibodies that are ingested.

Early testing for antibody levels in a neonatal foal can identify potential cases of FPT and allow for early intervention and medical management. It is recommended that a blood sample be collected from a newborn foal approximately 12 hours after birth to evaluate circulating IgG levels prior to ‘closure’ of the gastrointestinal tract to antibody absorption. If IgG levels are <400 mg/dl at 12 hours, oral supplementation with frozen-thawed colostrum or a commercial colostrum substitute should be performed. If IgG levels are 400 to 800 mg/dl, the need for intervention and therapy is dependent on potential pathogen exposure and/or the medical condition of the foal. Foals with partial failure of passive transfer at risk of developing infections may benefit from IgG supplementation. In contrast, foals with partial FPT born into a clean environment with low pathogen exposure potential and good preventive management practices may not need supplemental IgG. Antibody levels of >800 mg/dl at 12 hours of age indicate that adequate passive transfer of immuno- globulins occurred and no additional testing or intervention is necessary under most management conditions.

Testing a foal at 24 hours of age or more will determine the final extent of passive antibody absorption. It is critical to understand that no significant amount of antibodies is absorbed if oral supplementation is provided after 24 hours of age. Foals greater than 24 hours of age identified with FPT require intravenous administration of plasma or a commercial equine IgG preparation to successfully increase blood antibody levels. Although plasma transfusions are commonly performed in foals for disease prevention and medical therapy, oral administration of colostrum early in the first day of life is unquestionably easier and safer to perform.

Early testing of a newborn foal can detect potential cases of failure of passive transfer in time for oral supplementation with frozen colostrum to be effective. A timely diagnosis and early therapeutic intervention will often circumvent a life-threatening medical crisis in a young foal.