Soon after a foal is born, it gets its first meal of colostrum, an antibody-rich fluid secreted by the mare’s mammary glands. It’s important for the foal to receive this colostrum within the first 24 hours of birth. After this period, large protein molecules such as antibodies can no longer be absorbed by the foal’s small intestine. This section of the GI tract develops and changes rapidly in the first two weeks after birth.
While many of these bacteria are necessary for proper digestive function, the foal may also come into contact with pathogens that can cause respiratory or digestive tract issues. The change of illness can be mitigated by maintaining the mare’s vaccination schedule before the foal is born, doing a blood test on newborn foals to be sure they have received enough antibodies, and beginning the foal’s necessary vaccinations at the proper time.
So-called “foal heat diarrhea” is seen in the majority of foals when they are about seven to 10 days old. This short-lived diarrhea is now believed to be related to microbial changes in the hindgut that temporarily interfere with the colon’s ability to absorb water. Extra fluid retained in the colon is eliminated with the feces, causing diarrhea that almost always resolves without treatment.
Both before and after the "foal heat diarrhea" has taken place, it is very important to reoccupy the gut with healthy bacteria through the use of prebiotics and probiotics. Prebiotics, such as yeast extract, help to improve the absorption of probiotics. Kebro's EquiPac product is loaded with both prebiotics and probiotics. Why not give it a try today?
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