The Horse

APR 2019

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

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TheHorse.com | The Horse April 2019 17 you can have it tested, as well. Collect it before the foal suckles or within the first two hours after birth while it's still at its highest quality, says Wagner. "Usually, it has high antibody amounts in the range of several hundred milligrams per mil- liliter," she says. New digital and optical refractometry tests on blood serum can detect FTPI within seconds, however, says Elsohaby. Of course, that still requires sending the sample to a laboratory to separate serum from the rest of the blood using a centrifuge. But breeders might be able to perform the testing themselves if they allow the whole blood sample to sit for a couple of hours and separate naturally. "Refractometers are simple, rapid, and cost-effective methods for assessing FTPI in foals with moderate to good accuracy," Elsohaby says. "However, a second confir- matory test with higher specificity (fewer false positives) should be used to confirm positive results." With any positive result, even without confirmation, you'll want to intervene to save that foal's life, he says. Solutions: Plasma & Colostrum Banks If a foal has low antibody levels, it's best to get supplemental colostrum from the same barn, says Wagner. "Many experienced and large-scale breeders keep frozen colostrum (freezing the colostrum doesn't destroy its qualities) from their own mares, just in case one of their foals ends up needing it," she says. These breeding operations maintain an emergency colostrum bank by milking and freezing small amounts from mares with sufficient and good-quality colos- trum. Then, if a mare has no colostrum, dies after giving birth, or cannot nurse the foal for medical reasons, they can give the banked colostrum to the newborn within the first 24 hours. This supplement from another mare still provides the essential antibodies to the foal, says Elsohaby. When foals don't receive passive transfer of immunity from their dams within 18 hours, they urgently need those antibodies from elsewhere. A common source is mare plasma delivered through intravenous perfusion, which usually takes 60-90 minutes. In rare circum- stances foals might have reactions such as muscle-twitching, increased heart or respiratory rates, fever, colic, or collapse within 20 minutes of administration. Pharmaceutical companies harvest plasma from immunized mares and pre- pare it for FTPI foals, says Wagner. While these mares are exposed to the most com- mon pathogens, they might lack antibod- ies against those in the foal's environment. Administering colostrum instead of plasma gives the foal immune- strengthening components that plasma doesn't have, such as cytokines, says Wag- ner. "In general, colostrum gives better 'priming' for the foal's immune system," she says. Ask your vet about Concerned about maintaining a strong immune system in foals and young horses? Available only through your veterinarian. Developed by: KPPvet.com, 859-873-2974 • Research-proven. • Supplemented mares show an increased passive transfer of antibodies to foals. • Supplemented foals and young horses maintain a robust immune response. TH 2019-04 Confirming that ade- quate passive transfer has occurred and, if not, replacing it with anoth- er source, is critical." DR. DAVID HOROHOV

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