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Foals and ICU

Anoka Equine is fully equipped to care for critically ill foals in our ICU. Our doctors and technical staff provide 24-hour, 7-days per week emergent and supportive care for our newborn and young patients. Due to the busy foaling season in Minnesota, our hospital is often filled to capacity with mares and foals during the spring and summer months. There is no greater reward for our staff than the satisfaction of foals going home happy and healthy, allowing us to continue to care for them as they mature! 

Newborn Foal 101

In order to recognize when a mare or newborn foal is in need of emergency attention, here are guidelines for "what to expect when your mare is expecting."

Once a mare's water breaks we would like the foal to be born within 20-30 minutes. If a mare's labor is not progressing (as in gradually and consistently pushing the foal out), please call us. IMPORTANT: When a mare starts pushing, you should see two hooves and a nose (diving position), if the foal is positioned correctly for a successful birth. 

Once the foal has been born, we follow the 1, 2, 3 rule: the foal should stand within 1 hour, nurse within 2 hours (nursing at this time is critical as a mare's first milk is rich in vital antibodies and nutrients) and the mare should pass her placenta within 3 hours. During these first few hours the foal should also pass its meconium, a foal's first manure. It is dark in color (almost black), sticky and may be hard. If this is not passed, some foals may benefit from an enema to prevent neonatal colic. It is also possible for a foal to pass meconium in utero, if stressed. If meconium staining is present at birth, or if the foal fails to stand or nurse as described above, please contact us immediately.

Likewise, if a mare has not passed her placenta at 3 hours post foaling she should be seen ASAP so we can assist her. Once the placenta has passed, it should be thoroughly examined, as an abnormal placenta can clue us into potential compromise of the foal. Please save it for us to examine at the time of the New Foal and Mare Examination.


Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Critical Care Services include:

Intravenous (IV) fluid therapy

IV drug therapy

In-house labwork monitoring, including IgG testing

Plasma transfusions

Bottle/Bucket feeding (either milking mares or utilizing milk replacer)

Umbilical resection surgery

Ruptured bladder repair surgery

Orphan foal care, including inducing lactation in nurse mares and facilitating bonding

Foal in Foal Bed with Many Connections_e
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