Montana Equine Medical & Surgical Center
Welcome to the inaugural issue of our on-line newsletter!
Let us know what you think of this format.
Spring is upon us early this year, and in this issue, you'll find information and recommendations for the Spring vaccination and de-worming season. There is an article about neonatal foal care, and some email-exclusive vouchers at the bottom of this newsletter, so scroll down for more. Thanks for your support!
We all look forward to seeing you and your animals!
The Team at Montana Equine
| |It's Spring, and Time to Vaccinate
With the snow melting (what there was of it) its time to get your critters their Spring tune-up. As you check the tires on your trailer, make sure you remember to schedule your horses' Spring vaccines and worm counts. We recommend vaccinating in mid- to late-April, to maximize protection during the late Summer mosquito population. Cases of West Nile virus often peak in September and October in Montana. This year we will continue to vaccinate with a 7-way vaccine (containing all of the core vaccines except Rabies) limiting the number of times we poke your horse. Rabies is important too; bat and skunk rabies is becoming endemic in our region, and a equine case was recently diagnosed in Montana. Rabies is ALWAYS fatal, so we also recommend annual Rabies vaccination for most horses.
We also advocate for "strategic de-worming", which is both better for your animals, and also less expensive than de-worming the entire herd year after year in Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall. Learn more about vaccinations/deworming
As always, we believe the adage (and psalm) that "less is more", and work with many clients to tailor their vaccination and de-worming programs for every different situation. Call us or your local veterinarian to get your horses protected for the coming season.
Foaling and Neonatal Care: The Basics
by former Montana Equine Intern:
Dr. Megan Thomsen (Halliburton)
Whether you are an experienced breeder or foaling a mare for the first time, the basics of parturition (the process of delivery) and care for neonates (foals in the first 14 days of life) can be overwhelming. This article is intended to help you know what is normal, and what should prompt you to call for veterinary assistance.
Though parturition usually occurs without complication and human assistance is rarely needed, it is crucial to intervene right away if
something is wrong.
Reasons to call a veterinarian:
- Labor lasting longer than 30 minutes
- Abnormal position of foal (tail first, hind feet first, or soles of feet facing up)
- Red fetal membranes appear before the foal in the vulva (called a 'red bag' delivery or premature placental separation)
- Any other concerns - when in doubt, call! (We'd always rather give advice over the phone and avoid a catastrophe than to hear about things too late!)
Three important events should occur during the first three hours after parturition. We call it the 'Foaling 1-2-3 Rule'.
1. The foal should stand by one hour after birth.
2. The foal should nurse by two hours after birth.
3. The mare should pass the entire placenta by three hours after birth.
The single most important thing for a healthy foal is colostrum. Foals get all their antibodies from the mare through colostrum; none are passed via the placenta while in utero. After ingestion of colostrum, antibodies are absorbed straight across the gastrointestinal tract through special channels into the foal's blood. This process is called
'passive transfer' and only occurs during the first 8-12 hours of life.
Failure of passive transfer (FPT) is when a foal does not get enough maternal antibodies through colostrum. If the foal does not get colostrum in the first 12 hours after birth, it does not get any antibodies from the dam. If the mare's colostrum has leaked out prior to the foal nursing (which is itself a reason to call us!), the foal will not get any antibodies.
Ideally, the foal should get a minimum of 2 liters of colostrum. The foal does have a functional immune system at birth, but it often cannot mount an immune response fast enough to combat disease without the pre-formed antibodies from the dam. FPT is associated with several disease processes,including diarrhea, pneumonia, septic (infected) joints, and umbilical infections. One of the easiest ways to test for appropriate levels of antibodies is with a quick blood test called the IgG Snap Test. A small amount of blood is obtained 8-
12 hrs after birth to determine antibody levels. If levels are low, a veterinarian can administer hyperimmune plasma intravenously, which is a blood product that contains high levels of antibodies.
It is also important to have a clean, draft-free environment for the foal to be born into. The umbilical cord may remain attached when the foal is on the ground, but will break at a pre-determined spot approximately 2 inches from the foal's abdomen as the foal tries to rise. The umbilicus should be dipped with a 1:4 dilution of chlorhexidine gluconate, a disinfectant, 3-4 times per day. The umbilical cord should dry up and fall off, leaving a clean skin edge at the skin level, within the first week of life.
Finally, keep in mind that the neonatal foal lives on an all-liquid diet. They need to take in lots of milk, and will typically nurse at least once every 40 minutes. If your foal is listless, won't rise, or does not seek the udder each time it stands, something may be amiss, and you should call your veterinarian. Again, please do not hesitate to call
us, even just to discuss your observations and possible concerns. It is so much easier to prevent a problem than to treat one after it has developed - so please call us with any questions or concerns.
Foaling season can be a real highlight each year, full of wonderful interactions and surprises. We all wish you the very best (and healthiest) Spring!
Read more about Delivery and Foaling
Spring is also time for evaluating your horse's fitness, and making sure any lameness conditions are diagnosed and well-managed.
Here at Montana Equine, we have all the tools and technology to diagnose routine and complicated lameness problems. As always, we will help you arrive at a diagnosis, and provide you with an array of treatment options to maximize your horse's potential.
Call us today to discuss the full range of diagnostic and therapeutic options available to you here at Montana Equine.
| FOALING SERVICES at |
Montana Equine Center
At Montana Equine we offer a foaling service where our trained equine professionals will foal out your pregnant mare and provide routine care for the newborn foal. Having your mare at our veterinary facility allows for prompt intervention should anything go wrong during foaling that may risk the life of your foal, mare or both. Montana Equine employs the only equine internal medicine specialist (Dr. Peter Heidmann) in the state of Montana to ensure the best care for your mare and foal should unplanned events occur (foal diarrhea, failure of passive transfer, toxic mare due to retained placenta, etc.)
If you are interested in foaling out your mare at Montana Equine it would be ideal to have the mare at our facility 7-14 days prior to her predicted foaling date. This will allow her to become acclimated to her new environment and more comfortable with the staff that will be monitoring her throughout her stay. If you would like more information, please call the clinic at 406-285-0123.
Routine Services include:
- Abdominal ultrasound of the expecting mare week one
- 24-hour monitoring
- Milk calcium screening to help predict foaling
- Umbilical cord care (navel dipped in chlorhexidine solution 4 times daily)
- Measurement of antibody in foals blood 12 and/or 24 hours after foaling to determine passive transfer (immune) status
- Newborn foal and postpartum mare examinations by veterinarian
Additional Services include:
- Plasma therapy should there be a partial failure or failure of passive transfer.
- Immediate veterinary services for unplanned events such as dystocia, retained placenta, sick newborn foal, etc.
- Foal heat breeding services for post-partum mare
Read more about Reproductive Medicine Services at Montana Equine
| Foaling and Foal Care|
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