Dysmature foal - temperature regulation and ulcers....
The Reader's Digest version is that Saturday morning I had a mare foal while I was away. I rushed home and was there within a few hours of the foal being discovered (and she'd been found a few hours after birth, I think). She was unable to walk due to extremely contracted tendons, particularly in the back, where she would "knuckle over".
Called the vet while I was speeding home, and we administered tetracycline, which ended up helping. The next day she had a low IGG, so she was given plasma.
The NEXT day, (Monday) she got very chilled overnight. I didn't realize she was having temperature regulation issues, and had been getting up with her all night to get her on the mare, but at 7 am she was very cold, with a temp of 95.2. We got her warmed up, but ever since then I've had to give her a bottle.
I'm feeding her (milking the mare, feeding her from a bottle) approximately every hour between 6 am and midnight, and setting the alarm for every two hours in the intervening time (which means she's getting fed about every 1 1/2 hours between midnight at 6 am).
Yesterday I realized that she was grinding her teeth. Called the vet, who prescribed ranitidine in a liquid form. She's had three doses of that now, but I don't see any improvement. In fact the ulcer pain seems to be interfering with her eating a full amount at each feeding. Once she starts the teeth grinding she is pretty much done nursing at that point.
I asked the vet about giving her Ulcer Guard instead, but she said that it wasn't safe for foals. I *thought* I'd read of foals here on this forum that had gotten it. Any input on that?
Also.... the temp regulation seems to be a biggie right now. We're having much cooler than normal temps here in our part of Oregon, so she's blanketed and there's a heat lamp in the stall. She'll be a week old tomorrow. The concern is that she still has not gotten the temperature regulation sorted out. Any experience with that and how long it takes to get sorted out, or could take? This alarms me, and obviously there's so little to do about it.....
I can't offer any suggestions -- you sound like you are all over every issue -- but my heart goes out to you and the foal and her dam. I am certainly jingling and praying for her to sort it all out. Maybe you could call the manufacturer of Ulcer Gard or check their website for information regarding new foals. Or maybe someone knows of another medication that could be tried. All the best to you -- I'm sure you are stressed to the max -- wishing you the best!
Last edited by TKR; Jun. 26, 2009 at 09:48 PM.
I had a newborn foal on gastroguard/ulcerguard without incident. I also use it for a few days after weaning but they are obviously older then. I wish you the best of luck, I hope it all works out ok. Jingling like crazy!
OH MY, I have been waiting for an update on your little one. I have no advice but wish I did. Sounds like it belongs in a facility of some sort, but did read on your other posts that that was not a possibility.
Thank you everyone. I really appreciate your posts and PMs.
Are Gastro Guard and Ulcer Guard just two different brand names for the same thing?
I tried to get probiotics at the local feed store today, after I called and they said they had them, I drove down there -- only to discover that the nitwit on the phone had no idea what she was talking about and they definitely didn't have what I needed. I'll have to send someone to the real feed store (minimum of an hour round trip) tomorrow to pick some up, as I definitely can't get away for that long myself.
Heard from the vet -- all the bloodwork came back OK. It showed her as a little dehydrated, but we gave her fluid by IV after blood was pulled.
Interestingly I had stepped out of the stall for a minute and went back in and found her nursing for a moment on the mare. She didn't get more than a few sips, but hey! Progress! Then a little while ago I was trying to get something cooked for dinner here and was watching her on the camera, and at least from where she was it LOOKED like she was nursing -- even if she was only trying, I'm super pleased to see that!
I have also seen gastrogaurd used on foals. You also could try papaya juice. You can order it online. I just buy papaya's and make the juice when my mare needs it. I know breeders around here that mix it with ranitidine when syringing young foals. Give about 10 cc's with meds. Also platinum performance has amazing products for sick foals. They have an immune supplement and neonate formula that may help. Hope she improves quickly
I got an e-mail last night from my vet at 11:30 pm to add Maalox to her regimin, and I was able to drive to a truck stop over at the freeway that was open all night and find some. That seems to have helped a LOT. She also got a TINY bit of banamine, and had an awesome day.
The bad news is that the vet called me tonight and said that Friday's bloodwork showed an IGG of.... 278 (or something like that), and that she will need plasma again. I'm petrified that she's going to get sick now -- now that she finally seems to be doing so much better. Vet will be here tomorrow afternoon to give her more plasma. It gives me a stomach ache thinking about it. I just want this filly to be OK.... sigh.....
I'm sure you must be a wreck over this! But you are doing a wonderful job caring for your foal, and it sounds as if she is developing a spark. As bugsnskeeter suggested, be careful feeding - not too much milk at one sitting, and the foal upright, or on her brisket, as you do not want her to aspirate or overeat.
We ran into the ulcer problem with Junior and did initially put him on Gastrogard. His ulcers worsened. Our vet mentioned that there had been a study in Kentucky with Gastrogard and foals. They found that foals actually worsened on it, but responded to Sucralfate. Junior responded almost immediately to the medication change and is still on the Sucralfate.
Gastrogard is approved for foals 4 weeks old and up. While I understand why tetracycline was given, it has been implicated in causing ulcers in equines and it almost always causes GI distress. If this were my foal, I'd get her started on Gastrogard (prescription) or Ulcergard (nonprescription) ASAP. Maalox will treat symptoms if given often enough but will not heal the ulcers.
GASTROGARD Paste for horses is recommended for use in horses and foals 4 weeks of age and older.