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Foal Colostrum 101: Avoiding Failure of Passive Transfer

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Spring is right around the corner and with that comes the birth of many newborn baby animals, including one of our favorites…foals! If you are expecting a foal this spring, learning about the importance of colostrum may make all the difference in your foal's life.

Failure of Passive Transfer

Why is colostrum important?

To a newborn foal, colostrum can mean the difference between life and death. Unlike humans , the mare’s placenta does not allow for effective transfer of antibodies (protective proteins that fight off infection) directly from her bloodstream to her foal’s during pregnancy. As a result, foals are born with little or no protection against infectious disease.

It is vital that the foal consumes quality colostrum within the first 12-24 hours of life.  Although the mare will most likely provide her foal with the quality nutrition he needs, it is best to keep colostrum on hand BEFORE it is needed. Click here to learn more about determining colostrum quality.

Failure of Passive Transfer

Foals that do not receive adequate colostrum can suffer from a syndrome called failure of passive transfer (FPT). FPT is estimated to affect up to 25 percent of newborn foals which predisposes them to life-threatening diseases. The best treatment for foals at risk for FPT is equine colostrum or a colostrum supplement (second best) such as Manna Pro Colostrum Supplement. Ideally, the foal should receive two to three feedings of Colostrum.

Reasons for Failure of Passive Transfer

  • The mare does not produce colostrum or produces low-quality colostrum
  • The mare might "wax" early and drip the majority of her colostrum before the foal is born 
  • The mare is aggressive toward the newborn foal
  • The foal might be too weak to stand and nurse

In preparation for these unfortunate events, we recommend having Manna Pro Colostrum Supplement on hand and ready to go. Colostrum Supplement is fortified with vitamins and minerals. It’s easy to mix and it includes high levels of protein. It’s just what the doctor ordered.

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Gabby Gufler

Gabby Gufler

Gabby Gufler graduated from Truman State University in 2013 with a BS in Animal Science & Nutrition and a minor in Equine Science. Gabby currently works on Manna Pro’s marketing team, and enjoys competing regularly with her six horses.

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