Foal Slippers ? - Curiosity

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TN Belle

Well-Known Member
Dec 2, 2002
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Okay, my interest is peaked after all of these newborn foal pictures. When I saw the picture of "foal slippers" on the "Southern Heart Ranch" website, I was freaked out. I asked one of my local mini farms and she said they are really wierd things and dissapear in a day or two. Kinda spongy to help balance the foal or something. I've never noticed them in everyone's pictures before, I guess being covered up with bedding or grass.

What is it? Does it help in birth versus the sharp hooves? Do all foals of all breeds have them?

I've seen more udders, vulvas, bellies, waxing, milk, wet (new) foals, dry (hours old) foals, and day old foals but have never heard of anyone talking about this. They just really peaked my curiosity. I will hope to get to help this local farm's babies, they are expecting six, two any minute now.
they are usually called golden slippers. this protects the mares uterus while the foal is still inside. once they are born they usually come right off as soon as they start moving around.
I wanted to save Zoolii's, when she was born a few days after we moved to

our new place. -- Thought it'd be a cute momento LOL

I've never had them last a day or two, they seem to come off right away and

in the excitement of birth seem to get lost quickly in the bedding.
First time I ever saw them on a foal was on Timmy and I freaked pretty bad and they were huge. Learned they are sometimes called "milk toes"...rubbery little suckers

I think they are pretty gross and I was told to just leave them alone but I was trying to get them off. Some people say leave them on and others say remove them. Yuk. Hasn't happened to any of my other foals though.
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Funny you mentioned them as for the first time ever Harvey's mom who was a maiden bit them off his two front feet have never seen a mare do that. She didnt eat them or anything just bit them off and within the first day the back ones were gone too. All other foals born here have lost them within the first two days and usually sooner.
All of our foals have been born with them and they usually come off within an hour or two (once they are up walking around). The vet at the OK Club clinic last month said that you need to spray these with iodine or whatever you choose to use on the navel. He said that as long as the "slippers" were on the hoof that germs and bacteria could get into the foals system. I had never heard that before but I will definetely do it in the future.

Lisa - Ozark
Lisa we were told that by our vet too in fact he has us dip feet even if the slipper has come off at the same time we do the belly button. He also believes that germs can enter through the feet while the slippers are still on and shortly after so routinely our babies have red feet. lol
My maiden bit off her baby's off too. I just thought she was being nerotic, she was obsessivly grooming her like a cat with it's kittens.
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Hasn't happened to any of my other foals though.
Marty - did you mean that your other foals did not have slippers? *is confused*

I may have misunderstood you - but all foals are born with them. You may just not have noticed them as by then you were used to them....

And we have not dipped feet on any farm I have foaled out on - not even at the fancy Thoroughbred joint...
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That's funny! My husband asked me the other day what they were for. Just figured they were to help protect the mommy while still pregnant. That way a sharp hoof doesn't tear the bag early. But that was a total guess!
Guess I was right and sounded smart even though I didn't know. :DOH! I'll for sure have to dip the toes. Never heard of that.
I'll start dipping the feet.

I had never heard that before and because of the texture of the tissue, it's likely a good idea.

That's the grteat thing about the forum, thanks for the information
We have never dipped feet. I have also never seen that written in any of the equine veterinary magazines or books.

Can those of you that heard it from your veterinarian get a reference that discusses this concept?
I have never heard of dipping the feet either. But that doesn't mean anything. It means only that some veterinarian has come up with a new concept, and others have adopted it. It could be a "researched" theory, or just a new idea. I do know that all horses are born with those little slippers, and I do know it is to protect the mother while the little booger is still inside. We have only had one problem with them, and that was that they didn't come off one of our foals, got hard, and it was affecting his way of going. He was rocking back on his heels. We had the blacksmith with him, he cut them off, and said it was not uncommon in minis for this to happen, because sometimes, they do not have enough weight to wear them off normally. Now we watch to see that they come off within the first day or so, and do not harden. The one is the only one we have ever had problems with, and they all disappear very quickly.
Our foals usually wear off the Milk Toes within a few hours just by walking around. I think we've only had one where they dried onto the hoof and we had to trim them.

I have heard of the practice of dipping their feet and have done it a few times, but more often than not we don't.

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