High-Quality Colostrum: Essential for a Foal’s Health

High-Quality Colostrum: Essential for a Foal’s Health

Foaling season is upon us! If you have a pregnant mare, you’ve spent almost a year monitoring her diet, body condition, and overall health to make sure she has a healthy foal. As she approaches the end of this pregnancy, it’s important to help ensure she’ll produce high-quality colostrum, which will be essential to the foal’s well-being.

Protecting the Foal

Colostrum, which a mare produces in the first few hours after birth, is full of immunoglobulins (IgGs). These antibodies will help the foal fight infections until his immune system kicks in.

A Short Window

A mare only produces colostrum for up to 24 hours after delivering her foal. Also, a foal can only absorb those antibodies for the first 12-24 hours of life. Therefore, it’s crucial to ensure the foal is nursing well on the first day. Encourage nursing within two hours after birth, and continue to monitor for frequent nursing throughout those first 24 hours.

The Vet Check

Your vet will probably measure IgG levels as part of the well-foal examination. This will let you know the concentration of antibodies in the foal’s blood. These antibodies are so important to the foal’s ongoing health that if the test reveals a low level, your vet may recommend an IV with hyperimmune plasma.

Ensuring High-Quality Colostrum

So how do you make sure your mare will produce colostrum with all the antibodies the foal will need? It starts with her nutrition throughout the pregnancy. Many mares can sustain their condition with a forage-only diet for much of the pregnancy. If this describes your mare, a ration balancer like Kentucky Mare Cubes can provide the critical nutrients needed for a healthy pregnancy.

However, as your mare enters her final months of pregnancy, you may find it necessary to add a concentrated source of energy to help her maintain condition. In addition, you should consider adding omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E to her diet (they have both been linked to good-quality colostrum). We recommend a supplement like Luminance; it not only adds necessary calories; it provides omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and minerals like magnesium and selenium.

Here’s to a Healthy Future!

Welcoming a new foal is exciting. Whether you’re hoping your new addition will become a champion at the track, in the ring, or on the farm, a healthy future begins with ensuring he gets the antibodies he needs right away. If you have further questions on how you can ensure your mare produces top-quality colostrum, be sure to reach out to one of our customer service specialists HERE.

 

High-Quality Colostrum is vital to foal's health. Here is a foal nursing his mother.