Foal

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Recent advances in genetic research have paved the way for more effective identification and screening of genetic diseases in the horse. With these developments come new ethical considerations with respect to breeding practices, testing, and disclosure.

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Close Call - I staggered up to the house at 5:30 in the morning, kicking myself for being stupid. How could I have been so cocky as to breed horses for 20 years and not learn how to milk a mare properly? If the newborn colt didn’t get colostrum soon, I’d be rushing for the first ferry to get him and his mother to a vet clinic in the valley. But how was I going to load him into a trailer with Lucky, when she was terrified of him? My eyelids kept closing as I set the alarm for 7am and fell onto the bed, nursing the slim hope that when I woke I could find some local help. Ninety-five percent of foals are born safely, standing

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If you have a pregnant mare in your barn, plan ahead to collect and freeze some of her colostrum — that all-important first milk — so you have it on hand if a foal is born without access to this essential liquid.

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Every spring, mare owners get excited about choosing a stallion for their mare, but many decisions need to be made before selecting the stud and breeding the mare. “Breeding is not for the faint of heart,” says Lisa Longtin. She owns Merrington Warmbloods in Kindersley, Saskatchewan and has been breeding warmblood horses for the dressage and hunter rings for 25 years. “When things go well, it’s great. But there are so many things that can go wrong.”

types of flexural limb deformity foal, abnormal foal fetal development, foal malnutrition diseases, uc davic center for equine health

Flexural limb deformity occurs in two forms. The first form, also known as contracted tendons, clubfoot, or knuckling, is the inability to extend a limb fully. The condition may be present at birth (congenital) due to improper positioning in the uterus (which can lead to dystocia in the mare), abnormal fetal development, disease or malnutrition in the dam; or acquired as the result of nutrition (abrupt changes in amount or quality of feed leading to rapid growth), polyarthritis, trauma, or disease. It is a common condition in foals, usually occurring anytime from birth to 14 months of age.

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Commonly seen in young foals, this infection can be fatal if left untreated. Parasites in the genus Cryptosporidium are an important source of gastrointestinal disease in humans and animals globally. These highly contagious parasites infect the intestine and cause diarrhea and weight loss.

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Fragile Foal Syndrome (FFS) is a lethal genetic disease of connective tissue which has been reported most frequently. in Warmbloods. However, a recent study has found that the genetic defect responsible is present across a range of other breeds.

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Canadian breeders producing quality foals - North American horse owners may not be aware that Canada is the home of Linwood Ranch, an equine breeding facility that has generated peer reviewed research in recent years on subjects such as equine behaviour, equine welfare, stall design, and the requirements for lying down time for healthy horses. Linwood Ranch is a PMU or “pregnant mare urine” ranch in Manitoba, and is also where active research is conducted on many equine welfare issues affecting all of our horses.

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Managing Nutrition for Safe Growth in Young Horses - For any horse owner, the birth of a foal is always an eagerly awaited event. That baby, the product of the carefully planned mating of two superior parents, can elicit a range of emotions for the owner, including excitement and awe, but often anxiety and worry as well. One of the concerns the owner of a newborn foal may have involves the risk of the foal developing developmental orthopedic disease (DOD), which is a name applied to a group of conditions that can affect the growing foal, including physitis, acquired angular limb deformities, flexural deformities, cervical vertebral malformations, acquired vertebral deformities, and finally, osteochondrosis (OC).

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Warmblood Fragile Foal Syndrome Type 1 (WFFS) is an inherited defect of connective tissue characterized by hyperextensible, abnormally thin, fragile skin and mucous membranes that are subject to open lesions. Affected horses may also have hyperextensible limb joints, floppy ears, accumulation of fluid (hydrops), subcutaneous emphysema, hematomas, and premature birth. The disease is present at birth and affected newborn foals are euthanized shortly after birth due to the poor prognosis of this untreatable condition.

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