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  1. Orphan Foal Management Feeding & Caring of the Orphan Foal Sarah VandenBussche Saun Bratton

  2. Two Goals… • Instill in you the basic information on how to care for and treat a recently orphaned foal (on-farm situation) • Guide you on how to help owners with continued orphan foal care (feeding, general care, and socialization)

  3. What we will cover… • “The first 24 hours” • FPT: testing for & treatment • Milk replacers • Feeding program • Expected growth rates • General care & owner • recommendations • Serious medical problems

  4. “Causes” of an Orphan Foal • Mare sickness (colic, colitis, infectious dz) • Poor milk production • Injury or dz of mare’s udder (laceration, • mastitis) • Mare death (ruptured uterine artery during • parturition, euthanasia)

  5. “The First 24 Hours” • THE MOST IMPORTANT!!! • Make sure foal receives a sufficient amount of colostrum • 250ml every hour for the first 6 hours after birth, or… • 2-3L total divided into 3 to 4 doses, given at hourly intervals

  6. Failure of Passive Transfer • In horses, defined as serum IgG<200 mg/dl at 24 hours of age • Incidence varies from 2.7% to 24% • * Most insurance companies now require documentation of adequate passive transfer of immunity before the foal can be insured!

  7. Testing for F.P.T. • radio immunodiffusion • -latex agglutination • * enzyme immunoassay test (CITE), can be done stall-side • - an IgG level >800 mg/dl is considered protective

  8. Colostrum • Should be “thick & sticky” with a SG>1.060, (corresponds to an IgG concentration >3000mg/dL) • Collect from mares after foaling when a sufficient amount is present, (200 to 500ml can be milked without compromising antibody passage to the foal) • Should be frozen for saving • Shelf-life of 1 year

  9. Feeding Program… 2 Options • *Once sufficient immune protection has been established! • Nurse mare or goat?! • Manually feed (bottle or bucket) • feed 10% of foal’s weight at day 1 and increase • to 25% from day 10 through weaning

  10. Milk Replacers • commercially available replacers (“Foal Lac”) • homemade recipes should only be used for a • short period of time, when a commercial • replacer is unavailable • fresh cow’s milk (whole) should be avoided • (2X’s fat and only 2/3 sugar content of mare’s • milk, causes loose stools)

  11. Homemade Formulas • 4oz evaporated milk, 4oz • warm water, 1tsp white corn • syrup • 8oz of 2% cow’s milk, 1 tsp • white corn syrup

  12. Orphan Foal Feeding Program

  13. Orphaned Foals • Expected growth rates • General care • Serious medical problems

  14. Expected Growth Rates • Orphaned foals under management • 30 days old • smaller in size • slower growth rate - • 180 days old • no difference in wither height • only a slight difference in weight

  15. Expected Growth Rates Continued • WITH PROPER MANAGEMENT • no long term effects on mature size of foals • WITH IMPROPER MANAGEMENT • growth may be stunted

  16. General Care Information for Owners • MONITOR! MONITOR! MONITOR! • Illnesses in foals are often vague • KNOW NORMAL PARAMETERS! • Dramatic changes in health can occur quickly • Don’t “wait and see” • Any ill foal is an emergency!

  17. Normal Parameters • Body Temp: first 4 days, 99-102 degrees Fahrenheit • HR: first 5 minutes, 70 bpm • Resp. Rate - first 15 minutes, 60-80 br/m • - then 20-40 br/m • First urination - avg. 8.5 hours after birth • - colts earlier than fillies • - First stool: within 24 hours

  18. Normal Parameters, Continued • Righting Reflex: established within 5 minutes • Suckling Reflex: established within 30 minutes • Attempts to Stand: within 1-2 hours • Ability to Stand Unassisted: within 1-3 hours • Time to Nursing: avg. 2 hours (range of 35-420 min)

  19. General Care • Provide dry, clean, • warm environment • During cold weather: • -heat lamp set at 68 degrees • -down vest • When stronger, turn out • into pasture for exercise

  20. General Care, Continued • Rear orphan foal with: • -another orphan foal • -pony/horse/nurse mare or goat • Encourages socialization • Reduces behavioral problems

  21. General Care, Continued • Best overall care: Nurse Mare • - Mare must have good disposition • - DO NOT leave nurse mare and foal unattended until foal is accepted by mare • - May need to tranquilize mare

  22. Serious Medical Problems • Neonatal Maladjustment Syndrome (NMS) • Septicemia • Failure of Passive Transfer • Ruptured Bladder

  23. Neonatal Maladjustment Syndrome • NMS: used to describe a variety of behavioral disturbances • NMS is also called… • “Barkers” • “Dummies” • “Wanderers”

  24. NMS Continued… • Noninfectious • Due to hypoxia? • Due to difficult birth? • Seen within first 24 hours of birth

  25. Signs of NMS • Loss of suckling reflex • May appear blind • Teeth grinding/chomping • Abnormal vocalization, • similar to a barking dog • Anisocoria • Low body temperature • Jerky, stiff movements • Seizures/paddling • Abnormal respiration • Coma, death

  26. Treatment of NMS • Control seizures • Maintain body temp., hydration, electrolytes, • acid-base balance, and blood glucose • Oxygen therapy • Broad spectrum antibiotics • Prognosis: good if not also septic • Recovery 2-7 days

  27. Septicemia • High cause of death in neonates (one-third of all • foal fatalities) • A TRUE EMERGENCY! • Again, foal may appear normal but may • deteriorate within hours

  28. Septicemia, Continued… • Primary routes of infection • Respiratory tract • GI tract • Umbilical cord/placenta • Usually Gram neg. bacteria • E. coli, Klebsiella, Enterobacter, • Actinobacillus, Pseudomonas

  29. Signs of Septicemia • - See previous 10 signs of • NMS • Cyanotic or bright red MM • Hemorrhages in oral MM • Blood shot eyes • High HR and RR • Respiratory Distress • Severe depression • Unable to rise or arouse • Diarrhea • Straining to defecate • Colic

  30. Treatment for Septicemia • Intensive care/close monitoring • Should be taken to a hospital • - Oxygen • IV nutrition • Assisted ventilation • Broad spectrum antibiotics • NSAIDs • - IV fluids

  31. NMS and Septicemia • May appear similar • Do CBC and blood chemistry panel • NMS foal, normal results • Septic results, abnormal results - Treatment is very similar

  32. Conclusion • First 24 hours is most important! • Ensure adequate colostrum intake • KNOW NORMAL PARAMETERS • MONITOR! MONITOR! MONITOR!

  33. References • Equine Clinical Neonatology, Anne M. Koterba, et all, • c1990, Lea & Febiger, U.K., pp. 4-5, 9, 11, 71, 74-81, • 275-290, 302-303, 482, 627, 631-635, 639-641, • 730-731, 735-744, 772-773, 777-778. • http://www.horses-etc.com/Foals.shtml • http://www.ianr.unl.edu/pubs/horse/q1237.htm • Merck Veterinary Manual, Eighth edition, c1998, • Merck & Company, Inc., New Jersey, p. 1595.

  34. Questions & Thank You!