Post foaling checks
When your mare foals it is sensible to call the vet out in the first 12-24 hours after birth to check that everything is ok with both mare and foal. Once we have been satisfied that the foal is drinking from the mare and is bright and happy, he or she will have their heart, lungs and eyes checked to ensure there are no abnormalities like an irregular heartbeat, fractured ribs or cataracts in the eyes.
We also check the umbilicus for signs of hernia and ensure that it has been sufficiently disinfected. The foal will have his or her temperature taken and may receive an enema to ensure the meconium (first poo) has been fully passed.
While the foal is moving around we will also ensure that the limbs are correctly formed and with no flexural or angular deformities. If there are, we can advise the best course of action in order to rectify them as soon as possible.
A blood sample (foal must be more than 12 hours old) should be taken to check the level of antibodies he/she has absorbed from the mare’s colostrum is sufficient to be able to fight off any infection.
Finally, the foal will receive an injection of tetanus antitoxin to ensure immunity against tetanus during the first few weeks of life when the foal is most susceptible.
Once we have made sure all is well with the foal, the mare will also receive a full clinical examination to ensure she is in full health after foaling. She will have her heart, lungs and temperature checked and we make sure that both her teats are producing good quantities of milk and that they are not painful. The mare is examined for vaginal tears and also checked for adequate colostrum production. If a sample of colostrum is collected from the mare immediately post foaling this can be tested at the clinic for antibody quality.
The placenta will then be laid out on a flat surface to ensure it has been passed in its entirety and nothing has been left behind in the uterus as a potential cause of infection. (The placenta should be expelled within 3-4 hours post foaling, if it has not been passed by six hours post foaling then please call us as a matter of urgency).