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I lost my new colt today, he was 6 weeks old. We think it was due to tetnus. If it wasn't tetnus then it was a muscular/skeletal disease. He got so stiff he could barely walk then got where he could no longer stand up. I could not find any cuts or any reason for him to have tetnus. Honestly the vet was not any help, by the time we realized it may be tetnus it was too late. So the question(s) I want to ask is has anyone experienced tetnus or this kind of disease? Does everyone give tetnus shots to their foals when they are born? I'm looking for feedback so hopefully I can prevent this from happening again. It hurts my soul to lose a colt. Thanks in advance

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Wow Mike, sorry to hear about your loss. I can imagine the pain you went through having to put that colt down. Thanks for the reminder about Tetnus.
Yes, always give tetanus vaccine to newborn foals, as well as other vaccines. The umbilical cord is a direct "puncture wound" right to the blood stream. Even if you disinfect the umbilical stump there is still a good chance that bacteria can get in there. Tetanus is found in soil, bedding, you name it.
Horses have small cuts and punctures we never see, so always vaccinate.
I'm not sure but I think when you vaccinate your mare there shoud be tetnus vaccine in the blood passed along to the foal. There is also a "dummy foal" syndrome when the foal doesn't get enough oxygen in the birthing process.
I have never vaccinated a newborn foal but did vaccinate the mare regularly and within a couple months of her giving birth. I have been told by a vet that you shouldn't vaccinate a foal until it's a certain age, their immune systems aren't ready yet and also yes they get their immunity from their mother if she is properly taken care of prior to foaling. With all that said, I did have a neighbor who had a young colt (under 1 yr) which died from tetanus. This foal was not in a clean environment however, I had been to the barn, yuck, and in this case they said he had stepped on a nail if I am remembering correctly and that is how it contracted tetanus.

Sorry to hear about the loss of your baby, how sad.


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