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foal nursing from mare

When a woman is pregnant, the first recommendation a doctor makes is to begin prenatal vitamins. This advice holds true for horses as well. Pregnancy and lactation are the times of peak nutrient demand for any horse. Roughly speaking, when a mare is providing milk for her foal, her calorie and vitamin requirements have doubled, protein needs have tripled, and calcium, phosphorus, and amino acid requirements have quadrupled compared to what she needed when she was not carrying a baby.

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Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) is a neurologic disease caused by a parasite that attacks the brain and spinal cord of horses. The parasite, Sarcocystis neruona, can seriously damage a horse’s central nervous system leading to short- or long-term damage and even death if not caught and treated early. Researchers have determined that horses younger than 5 years of age and older than 13 are more likely to contract EPM, and most cases happen in the spring, summer and fall.