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Equine Health Resource

Foal or Newborn, Postpartum Exam



A post-partum exam is recommended after every normal foaling. It is generally conducted 8-12 hours after foaling, and is a unique opportunity for your vet to help ensure that your mare is well and that your new foal is off to a good start. By this time, the mare and foal have bonded, and the antibody levels should have risen in the foal’s blood from drinking the antibody rich colostrum.

In our practice we examine the mare’s general health, her udder and colostrum, and examine the vulvar area for damage. The placental exam ensures that the entire placenta is accounted for, and that it is normal in size and appearance.

The foal exam consists of a complete physical exam addressing all body systems. Once properly restrained, I listen to the foal’s heart and heart rate, I listen to the lung fields and abdomen on both sides. I take the foal’s temperature, assess their gums, eyes, face, mouth and soft palate. I take my hands and run them down the limbs and look at the limbs and feet. I cover the whole foal with my hands, which, when properly done, helps with the imprinting process. At the end of my exam, I take blood for an IgG test to measure blood antibody levels.

Reasons to UseRelated Observations


This exam helps to identify and potentially solve any problems early. It is an opportunity to educate horse owners at the start of the foal's life, and ensure that the mare is healthy and no problems have arisen that would complicate rebreeding.


This exam is still only a brief window into the life of the newborn foal and post-partum mare. Do not hesitate to call your vet earlier or later if you suspect any problems with your mare or foal.

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Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


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