Whilst foals sustain a similar range of injuries and suffer similar ailments to adult equines, there are several conditions particular to the young and growing foal that require prompt recognition and specialised treatments.
We care for a large and growing population of foals in Norfolk and north Suffolk which are susceptible to a number of conditions, some examples of which listed below:
Examples of illness commonly affecting foals:
Very young foals
Antibody deficiency – failure to drink sufficient colostrums – treated with plasma transfusions which we carry out at home premises
Joint ill – life threatening joint infections from the blood stream – these require emergency surgical treatment
Angular limb deformities – changes in the angulation of the joints can be corrected by both medical and surgical means if treatment is undertaken before the growth plates close.
Contracted tendons – excessive contraction of the tendons on the back of the legs can affect foals of all ages. Prompt diagnosis and treatment, possibly involving surgery to cut the affected tendon, is essential to a successful treatment outcome.
OCD – joint swelling and variable lameness can result if the joint cartilage does not develop correctly. The hock and stifle are most frequently affected with OCD and surgical treatment to remove the abnormal fragments in the vast majority of cases is very successful.
As a part of our services we offer a young foal check, which is undertaken on the first day. The mare and foal are both examined to check for any signs of ill health. The placenta is examined to make sure it has been completely passed. If necessary an enema is given to the foal to avoid a meconium impaction, a common cause of constipation. We also frequently blood test new born foals to measure antibody levels to ensure the foal has drunk a sufficient amount of colostrum. If the levels are too low then a plasma transfusion can be given to help prevent any life threatening infections.