How Can You Tell if Your Foal is Not Feeling Well?

Here are the first signs a foal is not feeling right:-- When the foal first gets up from laying down it will always stretch and I mean always. If it doesnÕt -- there is something wrong.Here are the first signs a foal is not feeling right:-- When the foal first gets up from laying down it will always stretch and I mean always. If it doesnÕt -- there is something wrong.

Story originally posted by: by Dr. David L. Biehl, DVM, Equine Practitionerwww.heartlandvetsupply.com

Here are the first signs a foal is not feeling right:

— When the foal first gets up from laying down it will always stretch and I mean always. If it doesn't — there is something wrong.

— If a foal grinds his teeth it is in discomfort and often it will be gastric ulcers or other abdominal pain.

— A foal's temperature will generally run a degree or two higher than adult horse. 101 F is not unusual especially on a hot day. 102 or more and you have a problem somewhere and you need to find the cause.

I like to use a coated aspirin like Ascriptin to lower temperatures in foals rather than Banamine. Why? Because Banamine covers up a lot of symptoms that may inhibit a good diagnosis and will almost always cause ulcers in young foals. Coated Aspirin is not as strong and it is not as likely to cause ulcers when used properly.

— Any lameness or swelling in a joint of a foal less than 10 days old is an emergency, especially if the foal is running a fever and is feeling a little dumpy. That is a sign of joint-ill and a possible systemic infection. Even if navels are treated at birth, infection can still enter through the navel leading to Joint-ill.

Another question I often get is "How long do I wait after a foal is born before I help the foal nurse?"

I generally say up to 4 hours unless the foal is weak and is not trying anymore. In that case, milk the mare and tube the baby every 2 hours until they figure it out. It may take up to 12 hours for them to finally catch on.

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Dr. Biehl has been an Equine Practioner in Nebraska for 35 years and continues in Equine practice as an Equine Healthcare Consultant for Heartland Veterinary Supply and Pharmacy.

Foal Supplements that may provide comfort can be found here