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Five Basic Steps to Foal Care and Maintenance

Scone Equine Hospital - Thursday, October 11, 2018
Five Basic Steps to Foal Care and Maintenance

1. DRENCHING- Internal Parasites

Foals should receive their first drench between 8 to 12 weeks of age, using a benzimidazole (i.e. oxfenbendazole or fenbendazole) based, dual-active (i.e. also contains pyrantel or morantel) drench. This should be repeated every 8 to 12 weeks thereafter, alternating between the benzimidazole dual-active drench and an abamectin-morantel dual active drench, up until 9 months of age.

From 9 months of age onwards the horse should be drenched every 8 to 12 weeks with a ‘mectin’ (i.e. ivermectin or abamectin) based, dual-active (i.e. also contains pyrantel or morantel) drench, up until 2 years of age.

To determine the most effective drench class to be used on your farm, manure worm egg counts should be performed by your veterinarian every 2 to 3 years.

It is important from an individual horse’s perspective to maintain an appropriate internal parasite management program, however from a whole-herd perspective it is also crucial to follow a program similar to the one outlined above to prevent the development of drench resistance.

A program of regular drenching using the most efficient drenches is the single most important aspect of worm control.

2. VACCINATIONS

First foal vaccinations are advisable at the age of 12 weeks.

AGE VACCINATION
   
12 WEEKS   - Equivax 2 in 1 (Tetanus & Strangles)
    - Salmonella
    - Duvaxyn (Equine Herpes Virus)
   
14 WEEKS   - Equivax S (Strangles)
   
16 WEEKS   - Equivax 2 in 1 (Tetanus & Strangles)
    - Salmonella
    - Duvaxyn (Equine Herpes Virus)
   
22 WEEKS   - Duvaxyn (Equine Herpes Virus)
   
6 MONTHS  - EquivH (Hendra Virus)

 

Booster Vaccinations

- 6 monthly: Equivax 2 in 1 (Tetanus and Strangles)

- 12 monthly: Salmonella and Duvaxyn (Herpes) & Hendra

Things to remember when considering vaccinations:

- These diseases can be severe and fatal;

- They are reasonably common;

- Protection following vaccination is generally excellent provided regular boosters are given;

- The cost of the vaccination is very cheap compared to the cost of attempted treatment for these diseases and the value of the horse.

 

3. EXTERNAL PARASITES

The main external parasites are

- Lice

- Biting insects

- Ringworm

Foals should be routinely observed for these parasites during routine handling and day to day observations.

Lice

- Lice infestations can cause itchiness, roughness of coat and loss of condition.

- They are most common in winter when the coat is longer.

- They can be controlled through clipping and then washing with an insecticide such as Gamma Wash or Asuntol.

Biting insects

- Mosquitoes, sand flies and stable flies in the search for blood will bite the foal. This may result in a lump that can become itchy, sore and infected.

- Controlled using insect repellents

Ringworm

- Usually displays a circular pattern that is hairless or has short broken hairs

- Lesions may spread to any part of the body

- All equipment that comes into contact with the fungus can carry and spread it.

- Isolation protocols are necessary to prevent further spread.

- It is potentially a zoonosis

 

4. FOOT/HOOF CARE

Basic foot care should begin soon after the foal is born. (We generally recommend that a farrier attends the foal for an assessment within 10 days of being born. If that foal has angular limb deformities, a farrier may need to visit sooner.)

** Regular trimming by a farrier is essential.**

 

5. DENTISTRY

- Usually not necessary on a foal until the permanent teeth have appeared (their first visit from the dentist should be around 12 months old)

- Exceptions may include those foals with over or under shot jaws.

A thorough general health routine is key to prevention of unnecessary treatment and disease. If you are unsure what is the best fit for your foal, contact your local veterinarian to assist with a health plan that suitable for your foal.