What is Failure of Passive Transfer in Horses?

Approximately 5-20% of newborn foals are diagnosed with failure of passive transfer and are at risk for developing serious medical conditions. Learn more in this visual guide.
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What is Failure of Passive Transfer?

Foals are born without protective immunity against infectious disease organisms. All foals require “passive transfer” of infection-fighting proteins called antibodies that are found in the mare’s first milk, or colostrum. If a foal does not obtain enough quality colostrum, he will not be protected from viruses and bacteria. This is referred to as failure of passive transfer (FPT) of immunity. Approximately 5-20% of newborn foals are diagnosed with FPT and are at risk for developing serious medical conditions.

Not all foals with FPT develop life-threatening infections, and not all foals achieving passive transfer of immunity are guaranteed to be healthy. Work with your veterinarian to prepare for foaling and ensure your newborn receives quality colostrum.

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The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care is an equine publication providing the latest news and information on the health, care, welfare, and management of all equids.

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