Foal medicine

In the speciality of foal medicine our clinic offers different services. Below we show you a list of the most relevant ones:

Stabling of mares in the last pregnancy stage for birth monitorisation

When the mare foals, everything has to be done very fast; if complications appear, owner and vet don’t have much time to act. This is because we recommend in some cases to stable the mare in our clinic for birth monitoring purposes. Mares with problems in her previous births; affected by diseases like laminitis or exposed under other risk factors for the pregnancy are special candidates for this service.

Post-foaling care of the mare and the newborn foal (Cite-Test)

Once the foal is born, it has to be evaluated by a vet in the first 24 hours of life. With the Cite Test, we will evaluate if the foal received sufficient of the first milk (colostrum) from the mare in the first 12 hours of life, which is important for its immune system. This test can be performed directly in the stable.
Also the navel and the complete excretion of the meconium have to be controlled. In cases of congenital flexural limb deformities it is also possible to start a corrective treatment at this stage of the foals life. 
The mare should also be checked after foaling and the complete expulsion of the afterbirth (placenta) has to be confirmed.

Intensive care for critically ill foals

If foals become ill right after birth or a short time after; if they show unwillingness to suck or are not able to stand up on their own, we recommend a referral to the clinic as fast as possible. With help of fluid therapy and medical treatments we can stabilize the foals main blood parameters, which we can check several times daily at our own laboratory. We guarantee a 24 hour intensive care of the foals at our clinic.

Conservative and surgical treatment of meconium retention syndrome

The first faeces of the foal (meconium) have to be excreted completely between the first 12 and 16 hours of life. To stimulate the excretion of meconium we recommend to apply an enema to the foal right after birth. If the foal starts showings symptoms as discomfort, straining and colic after the first 24 hours of life, a meconium retention has to be suspected. The treatment consists in an antispasmodic medical treatment and application of enemas. In some cases a surgical intervention is necessary.

Surgical treatment of bladder ruptures

Bladder ruptures in foals are not a common finding; However, due to the increased pressure while the foal crosses the pelvic passage of the mare during the birth, it is possible that the wall of the bladder gets damaged.
The foals show colic symptoms after the first 24-48 hours of life and their belly is usually distended due to the accumulation of urine in the abdomen. The defect in the bladder has to be corrected surgically and the foal is stabilized with help of fluid therapy.

Conservative and surgical treatment of umbilical infections

Routinely we recommend a disinfection of the navel with e.g. alcoholic iodine solutions, by dipping the navel right after birth and at least three times more during the first 24 hours of life. If they are still problems like a wet, swollen and painful navel; the foal has to be presented to a vet under all circumstances.

Treatment of infectious diseases affecting the lung or causing diarrhea

In cases of diseases of the lung or diarrhea we offer a comprehensive ambulant or stationary care with a full range of diagnostic facilities e.g. ultrasound and radiography of thorax and abdomen. At our laboratory, blood and faecal samples can be evaluated and there is also the possibility of performing a bronchoscopy; with a special size bronchoscopes for foals.

Surgical and conservative corrective treatments for angular limb deformities in foals

Foals should be evaluated for possible angular limb deformities and corrected where necessary. In cases of congenital flexural limb deformities the treatment consists in administering a special infusion to the foal in the first days of life. Other angular limb deformities like lateral (outward); or medial (inward) deviation of the limb distal to, or below, the point of the deformity, e.g. the fetlock joint, should be evaluated and corrected by a farrier in collaboration with a vet as soon as possible. If there is still no improvement, a surgical intervention in the first 3 months of life may be necessary. Our clinic offers minimally invasive surgical techniques for these purposes. 

Joint lavages in cases of neonatal septicemia

Neonatal septicemia courses with a bacterial infection of one or more joints. The hock and the stifle joints are the most commonly affected; however, the infection can reach all the other joints. The foals show an obvious lameness with swelling of the affected joints and an elevated body temperature. A systematic antibiotic therapy and repeated joint lavages will be necessary in these cases. In our clinic we have the possibility to perform the joint lavages by arthroscopy on a  minimal invasive basis.

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