First 24 hours:
Have a veterinarian perform a newborn foal exam and pull blood for assessment of Passive Transfer (i.e., foal’s blood IgG levels after consumption of colostrum). Any irregular findings or concerns during this visit can then be discussed and a plan created to move forward with to try and maximize the foal’s neonatal health and long-term success. This is also a crucial time to identify any limb conformation issues and make a plan for either corrective trimming/shoeing or schedule for re-evaluation to provide treatment during times that maximize the foal’s natural growth periods to correct issues and, in some cases, caught early enough avoid surgery and/or long-term conformation issues that will affect lifetime performance.
Day 1 thru Day 3 of Life:
- Dip Navel 2-3 times daily with aseptic solution
Optional navel dip/aseptic solutions:
Nolvasan (Chlorohexidine) solution diluted with water 1:1
1% Povidone-Iodine, or 2% Iodine
**Tincture Iodine (7%) not recommended as can cause skin irritation that can lead to infection
- Monitor Activity: Foals will sleep a lot (i.e., eat, sleep, play repeat) a nonresponsive foal or one that appears weak needs medical attention
- Monitor Urine Output
Foal should be urinating clear good stream approximately every time foal gets up to nurse, either before or after)
- Monitor Manure Output
At any time if you see your foaling straining to pass manure administer one enema (adult size at any Walgreens or CVS). If enema doesn’t help consult your veterinarian.
Foal should start passing yellow pasty manure, “milk” manure at 24-36 hours of life
1 Month of Age: Any questionable limb conformation should be evaluated by a veterinarian, as in some cases such as fetlock varus/valgus (i.e., point of limb angulations starts at fetlock), corrective hoof trimming needs to start NOW.
2-3 Months of Age: Earliest recommended 1st Deworming: recommended deworm with a fenbendazole or oxibendazole.
Consult with veterinarian about starting vaccination of foal early if mare was not vaccinated or vaccination history is unknown, especially for vaccination protection from Tetanus, Rabies, & mosquito born viruses like West Nile, Eastern/Western Encephalitis
4 Months of Age: 1st Vaccines against: Tetanus + Eastern/Western Encephalitis+ Equine Herpes Virus (Rhinopneumanitis) & West Nile virus Vaccine
Foals will need 2 additional boosters of this vaccine combo roughly every 4 weeks for a total of 3 shots; to maximize West Nile antibodies (i.e., protection) it is given as its own shot for initial dose Rabies. Foals will need 1 additional booster of this vaccine
5 Months of Age: 2nd boosters against: Tetanus + Eastern/Western Encephalitis+ Equine Herpes Virus (Rhinopneumanitis), West Nile virus Vaccine & Rabies (FINAL booster for Rabies regime)
6 Months of Age: 3rd booster against Tetanus + Eastern/Western Encephalitis+ Equine Herpes Virus (Rhinopneumanitis) & West Nile virus Vaccine (final)
7 Months of Age: 2nd Deworming (ideally timed around weaning) BASED on FECAL EGG COUNT to determine which product will be most effect (e.g., using the kind of worm eggs present in fecal egg count to decide if fenbendazole or ivermectin or pyrantel is the dewormer of choice.) ***It is not recommended that moxidectin (e.g., Quest or Quest Plus) be given to horses less than year of age as it is very weight specific and easy to overdose resulting in illness and in some cases death of the horse
8 Months of Age: Recheck and revision of management plans for any angular limb deformities at level of the knee (i.e., carpal valgus/varus)
9 Months of Age: Finish up vaccine series if initial boosters were started at 6 months of age
10 Months of Age: Separate Colts from fillies and/or mares if not already done
11 Months of Age: Determine necessary paperwork & procedures for registering foal with Breed Registry if not already performed
12 Months of Age: 1st Annual Vaccines against: Rabies, Tetanus + Eastern/Western Encephalitis+ Equine Herpes Virus (Rhinopneumanitis) + Equine Influenza, & West Nile virus. Recheck Fecal Float and deworm pending what parasites are present; use a product containing praziquantel (e.g., EquiMax which is ivermectin + praziquantel) if this has NOT been previously used in treatment. ***It is not recommended that moxidectin (e.g., Quest or Quest Plus) be given to horses less than year of age as it is very weight specific and easy to overdose resulting in illness and in some cases death of the horse
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to ask and happy horse growing!