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Foal: evaluation - neonate

pequis

Normal behavior

  • Behavioral aberrations in the new-born foal gives early warning of neonatal problems.
  • It is worthwhile noting the time taken to stand, suck, etc.
  • The following are guidelines:
    • Respiration: starts within 30 s, preceded by gasps.
    • Reflexes: pain and sensory awareness present at birth. Righting reflex present within 5 min - foal takes up sternal position.
    • Standing: within 1 h (Thoroughbred); >2 h is abnormal.
    • Sucking: suck reflex develops within 111 min; >3 h is abnormal. Foals suck at intervals of 15-60 min. A normal foal will keep the mares udder looking relatively empty Mammary gland: flaccid. A full bag (udder) Mammary gland: engorgement, running milk, or milk on the foal's face or muzzle suggested that the foal is "off-suck" or not drinking adequately.
    • Urination: neonatal foals void frequently, small volumes of clear colorless urine.
    • Defecation: foals should pass meconium within 12-24 hours after birth followed by soft tan "milk feces".
Print off the Owner factsheet on Foaling - what you need to know and Neonatal problems to give to your clients.

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Shepherd C (2010) Post-parturition examination of the newborn foal and mare. In Pract 32 (3), 97-101 VetMedResource.
  • Munroe G (1999) Subconjunctival hemorrhages in neonatal thoroughbred foals. Vet Rec 144, 279-282 PubMed.
  • Vaala W E & Sertich P L (1994) Management strategies for mares at risk for periparturient complications. Vet Clin North Am Equine Pract 10 (1), 237-265 PubMed.
  • Bernard W V & Reimer J M (1994) Examination of the foal. Vet Clin North Am Equine Pract 10 (1), 37-66 PubMed.
  • Koterba A M & Drummond W H (1985) Nutritional support of the foal during intensive care. Vet Clin North Am Equine Pract (1), 35-40 PubMed.
  • Rossdale P (1985) Sir Frederick Hobday memorial lecture. Part 1 - Practice, teaching and research - a common philosophy. Part 2 - Concepts of critical care in the newborn foal. Equine Vet J 17 (5), 343-353 PubMed.
  • Kosch, P C, Koterba A M, Coons T J & Webb A I (1984) Development in management of the newborn foal in respiratory distress 1 - Evaluation. Equine Vet J 16 (4), 312-318 PubMed.

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