Just like human children, foals can deteriorate rapidly if early stages of illness aren’t detected. Taking note of subtle changes or behaviours in your newborn can be vital in knowing what normal and abnormal foal behaviour entails. Below are 21 signs or symptoms that may indicate that it is time to call your veterinarian for further consultation.
1. Milk coming from the nostrils
2. Orange coloured fluid coming from nose or staining the coat
3. Depressed, sleepy and non-responsive
4. Very wet in tail and down hind legs
5. Changes in behaviour such as wandering in circles, lack of bond for the mare
7. Milk staining all over face
8. Abnormally coloured gums or mucous membranes (Red, yellow, pale, blue or grey)
9. Eyes sunken in head
10. Thin velvety hair coat and/or the tips of ears curling back
11. Rapid shallow breathing or respiration (flared nostrils)
12. Swollen, moist, leaking umbilical cord
13. Poor suckle reflex
14. Swollen joints, lameness
15. Bloat, Colic or abdominal distension
16. Unable to stand
17. Abnormal body temperature – Fever or cold extremities
18. Straining to defecate or urinate
The mare can also provide indicators that a foal is becoming ill.
19. Full tight udder
20. Abnormal vulval discharge
21. Placenta noticed to be thickened or discoloured
EARLY recognition of abnormalities is critical as foals can go quickly from normal to ‘crashing’ within a very short period of time. Always phone for advice if uncertain and make a plan with your veterinarian, on how to manage the situation until they can arrive. Good observations, good management, and acting quickly with newborn foals should always put you in the best position for a positive outcome.