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28 april 2023 Reading time 1 minutes

Being able to act quickly with a motherless foal

Although in most cases the birth goes well, if a foal loses its mother during birth it is important to be able to act quickly. It is vital for the foal that horse owners prepare for the fact that things can sometimes go wrong during birth. A Pavo S.O.S. Kit can then offer a solution.

Veterinarian Isabelle Spreeuwers of veterinary practice Katona from Belgium says: "Most people are not prepared for things to go wrong. After all, birthing usually goes well so people do not expect it. Nevertheless, it is important to learn what to do in advance if the mare dies or does not give milk. It is extremely important that your foal gets the first colostrum as soon as possible; not only for the antibodies but also to ensure that a foal does not become dehydrated. If a mare dies, there is always immediate stress with such a foal so offering milk immediately can then support the foal."

Pavo has S.O.S. Depots in a number of countries where a Pavo S.O.S. Kit containing everything you need in the event of the death of the mare, or should the mare not give milk. Horse owners would do well to check whether these depots are located nearby. If this is not the case, it is advisable to purchase an S.O.S. Kit in advance. The Pavo S.O.S Kit contains: Colostrum, foal milk and a bottle with pacifier. In the Netherlands there are a total of 84 and in Belgium 43 S.O.S. Depots.

Starlings continues: "If a mare dies, it is important to have a veterinarian assist you. You have to make a number of choices in a short time about how you want to raise the foal. Do you do that with a bottle or do you choose a foster mare? At our clinic in Belgium, we always have a few foster mares ready in the foal season who are already giving milk. Having a mare raise a foal does have advantages over giving a bottle. This is mainly due to the upbringing of the mare."

The local veterinarian can often provide horse owners with advice. It differs in each country where you may register a mare or foal for adoption and what possibilities there may be with an adoptive mare through a veterinary clinic.