Foal Vaccinations

Foal vaccinations are an important part of a growing foal’s health plan. Foals are born without any protection from the outside world but obtain their initial immunoglobulins from the mare’s colostrum. Immunoglobulins are the molecules in the body that help fight infection. After birth, foals slowly begin to make their own immunoglobulins in response to bacteria and other foreign materials they encounter.

Foals born from vaccinated mares generally receive more protection from the colostrum and as such begin their foal vaccinations at a later date. This prevents the immunoglobulins absorbed from the mare from interfering with those the foal produces in response to the vaccine. At SVEC we recommend starting foal vaccines at 4 months of age.

Foals born from unvaccinated mares (or those with an unknown vaccine history) do not receive as many immunoglobulins from their dams. As such, the maternal immunity may decrease earlier which means they are unprotected. For this reason we recommend starting vaccines for these foals at 3 months of age.

In either case foals will need a booster of each vaccine 3-6 weeks after the initial one to develop full immunity. Certain vaccines, such as that for influenza, are given at a slightly later date since research shows this improves their immune response.

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