Foal Care


To a foal, everything is new. And how you handle him, feed him and care for him will lay the foundation for the rest of his life. That’s why Merck Animal Health introduced the Foal Care ProgramSM to help ensure a healthy start for your foal.

The key to raising a healthy foal is preparation and prevention. Newborn foals are at risk for a variety of conditions associated with abnormal events during late pregnancy, delivery and/or the first few weeks of life.

Older foals aren’t out of the woods. As they explore their environments and encounter other foals and mares, they can be exposed to a variety of viruses, bacteria and parasites that increase the risk of respiratory disease and diarrhea.

In addition, a well-balanced diet during the first year of life is critical to ensure optimal nutrition and controlled growth.

There is no better resource for specific questions on foal health and nutrition than your veterinarian. Together, you and your veterinarian can create and customize a plan for maximum growth and appropriate preventive health care for your foal.

You’ve waited months (11+ months to be exact) and now your beautiful new filly or colt is about to arrive. Now what?

Your healthy newborn foal should consume 15%-25% of his body weight in milk daily and gain an average of 1-3 pounds per day. Your foal may nurse 70 to 80 times per day.

Once your foal is born, immediate disease protection occurs through the consumption and absorption of his vaccinated dam’s first milk, called colostrum. Over time, the maternal antibodies present in the colostrum decline and your foal needs the added protection that only comes through proper immunization.

Young foals are generally more susceptible to parasites than adult horses. Exposure begins early. The major gastrointestinal parasite of concern in a foal is ascarids.