Foals are born with very few bacteria in their gut. When they suckle for the first time, thousands of healthy bacteria in the colostrum (first milk) colonise the gut and the microflora (healthy bacterial population) starts to become established. However, the foal’s environment is full of bacteria, no matter how clean it appears, and if this healthy microflora is not established quickly, pathogenic (harmful) bacteria can get into the gut, multiply and cause disease, including diarrhoea or in serious cases, sepsis (blood infection and shock due to infection).
Weaning also affects gut health – when the foal’s nutrition changes from milk to hard feed and grass, the gut bacteria may become imbalanced, and digestive disturbance can result. Stress due to weaning can also upset the balance and cause problems.
How can I help my foal’s gut flora?
Giving your foal Coopers® Gut Equalise (after he/she has had their first feed of colostrum) will help to encourage the healthy bacteria to colonise and establish a thriving microflora. Give one syringe on day 0 (after colostrum intake) and then on days 1,6,7 and 8.
You should also consider giving Coopers Gut Equalise at other times when the gut flora may be disturbed such as foal heat, weaning and any diet or management changes.