Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Foals, Twins Born Alive

Code Red - Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

Code Red - Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

  • If one or both foals appear to be having difficulty.

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

  • For a routine post-partum examination of foal, mare and placentae.

Rarely are twin foals born alive and well. In most cases, late term abortion occurs. But if both appear normal at birth, the same considerations apply as for a normal foaling of a singlet. Both foals should be up and nursing by 2 hours.

WHAT TO DO

Monitor both foals to ensure strong suck and that the mare is bonding to each. One or both foals may need to be supplemented with milk replacer, depending upon the amount of milk the mare provides.

Both placentas should be expelled by the mare within 3 hours, or they are considered to be retained which can lead to a life-threatening infection. Even if both foals and the mare appear healthy you should contact your vet.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet will perform a postpartum exam on the twins and the mare. Newborn twins may show signs of dysmaturity (born at term but suffer from abnormalities associated with a premature birth), and are more at risk than singlets for failure of passive transfer and malnutrition.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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