Q: My mare is due to foal in the spring but I have had my fingers burned before, having lost an uninsured foal to colic.
You are right to take the precaution of purchasing equine insurance for your young horse.
Within the field of insurance, underwriters are increasingly looking towards illness prevention and its relevance in their policy terms; blood tests are a good example of this, as they can detect potentially life-threatening conditions.
Vets at the foal intensive care unit at the Royal Veterinary College advise that for most foals it is wise to ask the vet to perform a blood test at about 12-24 hours of age, to make sure the foal has taken enough colostrum from the mare and to check its health.
Equine insurer Amlin Plus offers discounted equine policies for foals with clean veterinary certificates that include positive haematology and IGG results (the latter relating to the foal’s immunity).
What would be covered by the policy?
David Ashby of Amlin Plus said: “A clean veterinary certificate and blood tests that establish passive immunity transfer and a clean infection profile mean we can offer favourable rates on foals as young as 24 hours old.
“Our foal cover also includes specified emergency life-saving surgery costs of up to £5,000 and, if an insured foal is renewed on to a 12-month policy as a yearling, a continued discounted rate is offered.”
Are blood tests important?
Haematology tests in foals can be seen as a preventative measure that increases the chance of the animal being healthy in the future.
Vet and foal-care consultant Sarah Stoneham says routine blood tests are an essential part of a preventative medicine plan in the newborn foal.
“The incentive of a reduced insurance premium reduction if these tests are performed will hopefully encourage people not to cut costs in the current economic climate,” she said.
Amlin Plus, tel: 08456 050233 www.amlinplus.co.uk
This article was first published in Horse & Hound (31 December, ’09)