The Crias are coming!

May 17, 2024

Cria season is fast approaching and while we hope everyone’s births are plain sailing, here are a few top tips to ensure your new arrivals remain happy and healthy. Crias should be up within 60 mins and feeding within 2-4 hours. Crias are born without any antibodies to protect them from infection and the only way to get these is to suck colostrum from their mum. The gut starts to lose its ability to absorb these antibodies after 8 hours and after 24 hours, cannot absorb any at all. It is therefore vital that crias are up and sucking as soon as possible. Crias who don’t get enough colostrum are susceptible to infection. It is always best to check if crias have had enough colostrum at around 36-48 hrs if there is a suspicion that they’ve not suckled well. If the intake is low and the farm has a plasma supply, we can give a plasma transfusion at this point, before the cria gets sick, rather than dealing with a crashing cria later on.

Plasma is part of the treatment of these animals but it is far better to give this to a stable cria to top up, rather than as part of an intensive treatment plan in a cria with septicaemia. The recovery rate in these animals, even with plasma, is low. Crias who have assisted births, are of low birth weight (less than 7kg) or are born with signs of prematurity (floppy ears or lax tendons) should be more closely monitored. Weighing crias in the first week of life is also essential, as weight loss or failure to gain weight can be the first sign of problems. These crias should also be checked so we can take action early if needed! If you need plasma for your crias, we hold a day every year in January to take blood from donor animals to produce plasma. This takes place at one of our equine sites to keep costs down. If you would like to register your interest for 2025, please call the surgery.

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