Additionally, we test the blood of all foals at 10 hours of age to determine its IgG level. We have an on-farm test kit that allows us to determine IgG results within about 15 minutes. The goal is to have the IgG be higher than 800mg/dl. If the level is below the desired 800mg/dl, we can administer high-quality, banked colostrum previously frozen from another mare. The foal’s ability to absorb the antibodies from the intestine is best until right at 12 hours old, at which point absorption quickly declines until there is virtually none after the foal reaches 18-24 hours of age. Due to this limited window, if oral administration of antibodies is to be successful, it must be done quickly. The foal’s blood can be retested four hours after the last oral administration or virtually immediately after IV (intravenous) administration of plasma to determine current IgG status.
Newborn foal receiviing plasma to boost antibody protection.
If the window of opportunity for GI absorption is missed or if the foal needs additional antibodies, then IV antibodies in the form of plasma can be given. Most owners of foals at Royal Vista Ranches elect to boost their foal’s antibody protection against Rhodococcus equi (R.equi) by having 1.5 liters of hyper-immune plasma administered within 24 hours of foaling. R.equi can cause pneumonia in foals and the administration of hyper-immune plasma has been shown to reduce the severity and frequency of pneumonia.
In the end, it's always our goal to get foals up, nursing and off to the best start possible. Research and experience have shown that those early hours and days are critical. This is why we take every step and precaution to ensure things get off on right foot, so that foals can be outside enjoying sunshine and fresh air as soon as possible.
Young, healthy foal outside enjoying sunshine.
Thanks for taking the time to learn a little bit more about the foaling process here at Royal Vista Ranches. If you have questions regarding this article or ideas for what you'd like to learn more about regardin breeding, foaling or Royal Vista Ranches, feel free to drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or shoot us a message on our Facebook