The whole family - the young one
A foal is always born with an insufficiently developed immune system. The establishment of immunity will occur gradually when the foal drinks mother's milk. Colostrum, the first milk after birth, is essential for the establishment of immunity. The foal that has not had the opportunity to build up an immune system will be more vulnerable to infections and diseases. It is imperative to ensure that he absorbs a sufficient quantity of breast milk and, on the other hand, we will check that the first droppings (meconium) are eliminated easily.For orphaned foals who have not been able to benefit from colostrum and for whom we have not been able to find an adoptive mother, there are good substitute products, even if they cannot completely replace mother's milk. . You must also help the foal by giving it a pacifier, its presence will have more serious consequences on the animal than you imagine.
The foal is easily subject to diarrhea of different origins:
*colostrum insufficiency or lack of seeding of the digestive flora (remember: the foal consumes maternal droppings which provide it with the strains of its digestive flora), then give: Biotics ;
*viruses, in particular rota virus;
*bacteria, Salmonella: serious illness, requiring urgent treatment by the veterinarian; Rodoccocus equi: infection of the large intestine with complication of bronchopneumonia;
*parasites, particularly strongyles: be sure to scrupulously respect broodmare deworming programs before and after delivery;
*selenium deficiency in milk;
*diarrhea on the 10th day after birth: the theory that this diarrhea is linked to hormonal changes in the mare during the first return to heat is more and more often called into question. In fact, we observe the same diarrheal passage in foals raised on a bottle. The causes are uncertain: modification of the intestinal flora, variations in metabolism, parasitism? If the foal remains awake, without any change in his general condition and if his diarrhea lasts only a few days, it is advisable to do nothing. However, for safety reasons, Biotics can be administered.
Whatever the origin of the diarrhea, you must always ensure that the foal feeds regularly, in order to prevent the risk of dehydration.
If the foal is feverish or depressed, do not hesitate to consult your veterinarian.
A very delicate moment in the foal's life, psychologically as well as physically. The current trend would be to wean earlier and earlier. The best would be to wean between the 5th and 6th month when the broodmare is pregnant. If this is not the case, a foal may well spend the winter with its mother. Remember that, in the wild, the foal will only be weaned as the next birth approaches.
When the foal must do without its mother, generally at the beginning of winter, that is to say the least favorable season, you will have to ensure that the diet provides it with everything it needs. Withdrawal is a time of stress that you can alleviate with a course of Symbiotonic . Also monitor the phosphocalcic balance; Iodamine Equine must be added if your foal's food base consists of cereals, brans and oilseeds.
A little diet
Breast milk secretion is maximal between the 2nd and 3rd months. At the beginning of the second month, you should start offering special foal food, initially in small quantities, then gradually increasing. The foal must be independent of its mother at the time of weaning.
Be careful with cereals, they are too rich in starch, the foal does not yet digest them and will overload its digestive system. In addition, they are too rich in energy, phosphorus and lack high quality proteins. It is better to give special foal food of good quality. Deficiencies in the first year are difficult (if not impossible) to make up for later.
The damage is done. Also avoid being overweight: this can cause bone, tendon, ligament and then joint problems.
The danger of deficiencies and excesses:
*a phosphocalcic imbalance can cause cartilage and bone problems; an excess of calcium slows down the assimilation of phosphorus, zinc, copper, iodine, etc.;
*copper deficiency: osteochondrosis;
*energy deficiency: influence on the entire body, it is found especially at the muscular level; in excess there is a negative effect on skeletal development;
*fat deficiency: hormonal, nervous and joint disorders; in excess: digestive and growth disorders.
*deficiency of high quality proteins (= amino acids): muscle and bone disorders. In excess: overload of the digestive system. The two most important amino acids for growing young are lysine and methionine. There is not enough of it in grass and fodder.
*vitamin deficiencies in general: slow growth, dull hair, lameness, lack of appetite, fragile health, etc. It is in your best interest to give your foal a balanced diet.