Unlike humans, in horses there is no natural transfer of antibodies through the mare’s placenta. A foal aquires these antibodies by nursing colostrum. Colostrum is the first milk the mare produces and is usually sticky and thicker than milk. Not all mares produce enough quality colostrum to ensure that a foal has adequate antibodies to help ward off infections for the first few months of life. A foals gut is only able to absorb the antibodies for the first 24 hours of life, and their ability to absorb them decreases starting 12 hours after birth.
It is critical that a foal has an IgG (Immunoglobulin G) test to assure that it has absorbed enough antibodies. This test is ideally done 12 hours after a foal first nurses. That way if adequate levels were not reached we can supplement the foal with colostrum orally. After 24 hours if the foal has not reached adequate levels an IV plasma transfusion is necessary to protect the foal.
This test can easily be run stall side with results in 10 minutes. The test is run on a small sample of blood.
Test results are the following: