Foals

The first hours of life are critical for a foal’s survival and future health.

The first hours of life are critical for a foal’s survival and future health. Usually a healthy newborn has no problems, but sometimes severe weather can present challenges. Dr. Peter Sheerin, Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital (Lexington, Kentucky) says one of the biggest concerns with newborns is their ability to regulate body temperature.

“Ideally they need to be born into a protected environment with plenty of bedding, minimal drafts, not too cold. People wonder about use of heat lamps, foal blankets, etc. but this should be evaluated on an individual basis. If weather is really cold, they may initially need heat lamps, but then the question is for how long. This would be on a case-by-case basis. There are pros and cons for using blankets. If it’s extremely cold or a drafty barn, a blanket may be beneficial but then we have to make sure the foal is adapting to the blanket and able to get up and down and move normally,” Sheerin says.


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