Hey everybody, it’s Whinny, your favorite vet clinic mouse here with some nuggets of wisdom for you! Hopefully the majority of you have heeded my sage advice and bought a horse that’s already grown and trained. But for those of you who were determined to do it the hard [expensive, painful] way and breed your own, then it’s time to start planning out the things your new foal will need.
First, I want to acknowledge the hard work you’ve done to get to this point! After the trials and tribulations of successfully breeding your mare and enduring the long nights on foal watch, the eagerly anticipated foal has arrived. Congratulations on the hard work it takes to get a new foal on the ground! With all that hard work, we are determined to implement the best protocols to ensure a long life and successful career for the new foal. In this guide, I’ll walk you through my guidelines for vaccines, deworming, nutrition, and farrier care to give your new foal the best start in life.
Vaccinations are a cornerstone of equine health and are essential in providing a young horse protection in their first year of life. The antibodies from the vaccines help prevent these common, yet devastating diseases as well as reduce the death rate, depending on the disease. Here’s a recommended vaccination schedule for your new foal:
-Combination vaccine including: Eastern Encephalitis, Western Encephalitis,Tetanus, West Nile, Equine Influenza Virus and Equine Herpes Virus. This combo is typically given in a 3 booster series.
– 1st Booster: 4-5 months of age
– 2nd Booster: 4-6 weeks after the 1st dose
– 3rd Booster: 10 months of age
– Follow-up: Biannual/every 6-month revaccination
– 1st Booster: 6 months of age
– 2nd Booster: 4-6 weeks after the 1st dose
– Annual revaccination
Proper deworming is essential to prevent internal parasites from getting out of control. Here’s a deworming schedule based on your foal’s age. It is always important to dose deworming medications based on weight:
– 2-3 months of age: Panacur (fenbendazole)
– 4-6 months of age: Ivermectin
– 6-8 months of age: Strongid (pyrantel)
– 12 months of age: Perform Fecal Egg Counts to develop a strategic deworming plan moving forward.
A foal’s nutritional needs evolve as they grow. It is always best to connect with an expert, such as your veterinarian or an equine nutritionist, about which diet is best for your foal. Nutrition plays a large role in growth and development. It can also impact health and orthopedic developmental conditions, such as OCDs (Osteochondrosis). A general guideline may be:
-2 weeks of age: Start introducing grass and forage (hay and grass). Coprophagy (eating manure) is normal and aids in the development of healthy gut bacteria. Foal Heat Diarrhea might occur due to GI tract changes from adjustments in the diet around this age.
-2 months until weaning: Gradually introduce high-quality feed designed for growing foals based on weight and Body Condition Score. Offer free-choice quality forage during this period.
Taking care of your foal’s hooves is vital for their overall well-being:
– Begin farrier care at around 2 weeks of age.
– Follow-up appointments every 4-6 weeks, unless otherwise directed for orthopedic or developmental reasons.
Whinny’s Wisdoms: Teaching your foal to be comfortable having their feet picked up right from the very beginning will make life much easier on them, as well as the horse care professionals who keep them happy and healthy. Take the time to acclimate your foal to regular handling, and it will save you a lot of money and heartache in the long run.
Caring for a new foal involves a combination of veterinary care, nutrition, and regular attention to their health and growth. By following these guidelines for vaccines, deworming, nutrition, and farrier care, you can provide your young equine companion with the best possible start in life. Remember that every foal is unique, so consulting with your veterinarian and other equine professionals will help tailor these guidelines to your foal’s specific needs. With proper care and attention, you’ll be setting the foundation for a healthy and thriving future for your new foal.
Do you have questions about your foal care plan? Schedule a telemedicine appointment with one of my docs, and they’ll be happy to talk it over with you! Just call the clinic at 352-472-1620.
Until next week,
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Whinny’s Wisdoms is the official blog of Whinny the Clinic Mouse at Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic in Newberry, Florida. If you liked this blog, please subscribe below, and share it with your friends on social media! For more information, please call us at (352) 472-1620, visit our website at SpringhillEquine.com, or follow us on Facebook!