All mares should be kept up to date on vaccines, dentistry and deworming during gestation. Avoid vaccinations and deworming during the first month of gestation. For mares that travel, live in boarding stables, or in environments where abortion and/or respiratory disease has occurred, vaccination against rhinopneumonitis using Pnuemabort K should be administered during the 5th, 7th and 9th month of gestation.
5th Month of Gestation
Pneumabort K Booster #1
7th Month of Gestation
Pneumabort K Booster #2
Begin changing your mares diet to suit her increasing nutritional demands. (See: Information on Pregnant Mare Nutrition)
9th Month of Gestation
Pneumabort K Booster #3
One Month Before Foaling (month 10)
Booster the mares Influenza, Tetanus, Strangles* ,Botulism** and West Nile Virus Vaccines.
The mare should be moved to the clean & safe (remove any sharp objects) environment where she is going to foal.
No new horses should be introduced in to this environment.
When The Mare Is Due to Foal
Gently wash her udder and the area around her vulva with warm soapy water. Dry the area thoroughly.
Bandage the mares tail (not too tight).
Bed the stall generously with straw (shavings can be put under the straw for absorption). Do not use sawdust or peat moss.
Remember most mares will not foal if you are watching them and will try and foal when you are sleeping. Give the mare some privacy and check her at intervals during the night.
Milk calcium levels can be checked once the mare begins producing mammary secretions to predict when foaling will occur; calcium levels in the milk usually rise to predictable levels before foaling. This is a fairly inexpensive and accurate way to predict foaling within a few days. You will know wether or not it is safe to go to the movies! Atleast 2 mls of fresh milk (a little from each side) is needed to perform the test. Samples can be dropped off at our office.
Immediately After the Mare Foals
Dip the foals umbilicus (which should not be bleeding excessively or leaking urine) in a special umbilical solution (0.5% chlorhexadine solution) that can be purchased at our office. Dip the foals umbilicus every 8 hours or more often for 3 days or until it dries.
Save the placenta in a bucket (it should be passed within 3-4 hours of birth) for a veterinarian to examine.
Clean the stall and put lots of fresh straw down. Make sure the foal has good footing/traction. Wet rubber mats can make it very difficult for a new foal to stand.
Leave the mare alone with the foal for a little while (about 30 – 60 minutes) so that they can bond (unless of course, the mare is aggressive towards the foal). Hopefully when you come back the foal will be on its feet and nursing.
The First Day of Life
The foal should stand (do not be in a rush) within 1-2 hours.
The foal should nurse within 2 hours (make sure the mare allows this). Do not try to force the foal on to the nipple, the harder you try, the longer it usually takes. Have faith, a healthy foal will find the right spot and will nurse about every half an hour. Some maiden mares get a little anxious and may require restraint until they get used to the foal nursing.
Deworm the mare the day of foaling with Ivermectin (Eqvalan) only. NOT THE FOAL.
Begin Imprint Training your foal.
Make an appointment with the vet to examine your foal at around 18 – 24 hours of age, or ASAP if a problem is suspected.
Two Months of Age
Deworm the foal using Pyrantel pamoate (Strongid paste). Deworm the foal every two months after this until a year of age. Use Stongid paste or Eqvalan.
Foal Vaccination Protocol (Rough Guidelines) Remember foals do not need to be vaccinated too early in life if the mare has received proper foaling boosters one approximately one month before foaling. The foal will receive maternal antibody in the colostrum. This antibody should help protect the foal for several months. Vaccinating a foal before 4-6 months of age has been shown to be ineffective due to interference from maternal antibody and sometimes even detrimental. Unless there are special circumstances, we generally begin vaccinating foals at 4-6 months of age.
IM = intramuscular IN = intranasal
*Strangles is recommended if foals will be traveling, exposed to horses from away, or on farms where Strangles has occurred. Strangles boosters can be started later in the year if the risk is not high.
**Botulism causes “Shaker Foal Syndrome” in foals, and is recommended for foals on farms where there is a high risk of infection (ie.where botulism is endemic, or when silage or haylage is fed). Vaccination of foals and weanlings is usually not indicated.
Influenza, Rhinopneumonitis (EHV1&4) and Tetanus are strongly recommended for foals.
West Nile Virus Vaccines can be administered to foals. Foals that have received colostrum from mares that have been properly boostered for WNV within a month of foaling should have adequate protection for approximately 4 months. If mosquito season has not ended when the foal is 4 months of age, a WNV vaccine and booster should be administered.
Four months of age
Foals receive first Strangles* Booster IN
Foals receives first Rhinopneumonitis Booster IM
Foals receives first Botulism** Booster IM
Four months and two weeks of age
Foals receive second Strangles* Booster IN (give annually hereafter)
Five months of age
Foals receive second Botulism** Booster IM
Six months of age
Foals recieve second Rhinopneumonitis Booster IM
Foals receive third Botulism** Booster IM (give annually hereafter)
Foals receives first Tetanus Toxoid Booster IM
Foals receives Influenza Vaccine IN (give every 6 months hereafter)
WHEN ALL FOUR VACCINES ARE REQUIRED, WE WILL STAGGER THEIR ADMINISTRATION, SO THAT WE ARE NOT GIVING ALL THESE AT ONE TIME.
Seven months of age
Foals third Rhinopneumonitis Booster IM (give every 6 months hereafter)
Foals second Tetanus Toxoid Booster IM
Eight months of age
Foals third Tetanus Toxoid Booster IM (give annually hereafter)