Like children and geriatrics, foals can become quite ill, quite quickly. Our neonatal ICU facility provides 24/7 nursing care. Neonatal medicine is quite complicated and may require medication changes several times per day, based on the physical examination and laboratory findings. Foals can have many metabolic imbalance to correct. They easily become septic, with bacteria gaining entrance via the GIT, respiratory system, the skin, and the umbilicus. Septic foals develop Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, which can lead to Mutli-Organ Dysfunction.
Critically ill neonatal foals often have multiple IV lines, oxygen delivery, and feeding tubes in place that must be constantly monitored so that they do not get removed by the foal or the mare. Both enteral and parenteral (IV) nutrition can be given to the foal. Due to the thin skin of the foal, it is also critical to remove diarrhea and urine as quickly as possible, which means changes in bedding quite frequently. Medications are administered as required by the individual. To give the foal the best chance for survival, we go the extra mile to care for your newborn foal. This means keeping them sitting on their sternum for better breathing and getting them, when possible, up to nurse every two hours.
We maintain a colostrum and plasma bank to use in foals that need additional antibodies that may not have been in the colostrum, the foal could not nurse, or they have been used up fighting infection.
Fox Run Equine Center remains the only full service hospital in western Pennsylvania that can care for these critically ill foals.