What should you look out for with a newborn foal? "Within one minute, a foal should be breathing normally. Within five minutes, it should be in sternal recumbency. An attempt to stand can come very quickly, generally a foal will be standing within the first hour.

The foal does not have to drink immediately, but the suckling reflex should be clearly present within five minutes. It is important that the foal drinks its first colostrum within three hours. If this is not yet the case, you can, in consultation with your vet, milk the mare a little and let the foal drink from a bowl. If you put a finger in the mouth and make sure the foal has its nose in the bowl, most foals will drink quite easily. The risk of choking is somewhat smaller when using a bowl than when you use a bottle to administer the colostrum. If you suspect that the foal has received too little colostrum, you could defrost colostrum that you have frozen after the birth of a previous foal and use it to make up for the shortage."

Sometimes, milk comes out of the nose of a foal that is drinking. Arjon: "If this happens occasionally it is not so bad, but if it happens regularly, it can indicate a cleft palate. It is possible to use a quick test to measure if the foal has received enough colostrum, your vet can do this at home by taking a little blood. Because these tests are quite easily available, this is something that is done more and more these days. After about two hours, the foal with produce its first manure, the intestinal mucus. If it takes longer, it can be stimulated by giving an enema. After nine hours the foal should urinate for the first time. Arjon: "Especially with colts it is important to pay attention to this because they have a higher chance of a bladder rupture. This can happen after a violent birth, for example when the foal must be pulled hard to be delivered. Such foals are at first just as alert as any other foal but get a bulging belly and after a while they become more and more sluggish. Sometimes, when the tear is small, they still urinate but less than normal. In most cases they have an urge to urinate but nothing or very little urine comes out."

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