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  1. #1
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    Default Foal with pneumonia-final update #387 LAST MEDS FINISHED!

    The foal is almost 6 months old, had snotty nose, cough, a small amount of fluid in lungs, no lung abscesses or lesions.

    Temp is hovering around 101.2-101.5, respiration is ranging from 32-38.

    Foal is eating and drinking well.

    Vet has seen him, placed him on Naxell shots daily until results of tracheal wash are back (today or tomorrow)-then antibiotic will be adjusted accordingly.

    It looks to be a streptococcus rather than rhodococcus bacteria that caused the infection-of course will know for sure when the culture results are returned.

    Would you keep this foal stalled or allow him some monitored turnout in good weather?

    I can understand not leaving him out unmonitored as you would not want him to run, get hot or get winded.

    BUT it seems to me, at least a few hours a day to get out of the stall and stretch his legs and get out of the shavings would be beneficial?

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by LMH; Oct. 30, 2009 at 03:20 PM.



  2. #2
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    I'd keep him out. The last thing his lungs need is for him to be in a stall right now, having seen a number of horses in PA with "sensitive" lungs develop pneumonia as a result of being kept inside.



  3. #3
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    Default

    Wondering if moving this to the Breeding Forum would get more responses?

    I debated between the two forums before I posted.



  4. #4
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    I'd allow very limited, monitored turn out during cooler hours only. Has the temp come down with the antibiotics? Hoping it is not rhodococcus. If he is over 6 months, it probably is not. Please keep us posted.



  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMH View Post
    Wondering if moving this to the Breeding Forum would get more responses?

    I debated between the two forums before I posted.
    Or you could let common sense prevail. Dust and ammonia are not good for the lungs. Put him out with someone who won't encourage running around.

    Good luck. Sorry for the little guy that he is sick.



  6. #6
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    GAP, I have taken care of several foals with pneumonia. I was advised to keep them from overheating. The vet school specialists and my own vet were adamant that that was critical to recovery. One of those foals is now a five year old mare who did exceptionally well in her mare performance test as a 3 year old and has come along beautifully under saddle sine then. She has no repercussions from the pneumonia or from the necessary confinement during part of her recovery. Partial turnout should be fine. But the foal should be observed and if it overheats, it needs to be in under fans during the hottest part of the day. I'd call that common sense.



  7. #7
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    Yes, I'm sure you're the foal pneumonia expert (although I am curious, why so many foals with pneumonia, unless you run a veterinary hospital?), but it's not hot. Why would the foal overheat?? And when I provide turnouts I provide shelter. Again, common sense.



  8. #8
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    Running around/self-exercising can heat them up pretty darn fast. If the foal is ill, maybe a little turnout in a very small paddock where they can't get zipping around for 15 or 20 minutes a couple of times a day. That's what I did when my 5 mo. old had pneumonia...and that's when he came back from 5 days in the hospital.



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by grayarabpony View Post
    but it's not hot. Why would the foal overheat?? And when I provide turnouts I provide shelter. Again, common sense.
    I'm in NC and it's 80* right now. Granted, there's a 30mph wind, but sheltered from the wind, the horses are sweating a bit with partial Winter coats.

    My horses have a whole shaded treeline they could be in. And small sections of pasture that, this time of year, never see sun. They're out in the full sun, grazing.

    LMH is 2 states South of me, so yes, it *could* be hot. Even low 70's with a partial Winter coat if there's no breeze can be quite warm.
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  10. #10
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    I had a foal come down with pneumonia at 29 days old this year. Coughing started.. three days later and she was crashing. She was boarded at the time, so we didn't know how bad it was. We rushed her down to UC Davis... we were afraid she was going to die in the trailer.

    She ended up spending 7 days in NICU. Don't let your foal get hot, or winded, that is key. It ended up being aspiration pneumonia with my filly, so she was weaned early. I kept her in a stall with six box fans on it & good air flow (we made a pipe panel stall in my carport LOL). I also put one of my weanling fillies in there for company. I would let them out for an hour at dusk, always supervised. It's very important to keep everything dust free. I used shavings, but I made sure never to put a new bag in there while the fillies were in the stall because of the dust. I would also lightly spray down the shavings to settle the dust. Hay was also soaked. They kept her on Amikacin & Naxcel for about 10 days I believe. After that, we pulled the cathetor and she was started on Docycyline (sp?) for 14 days.

    It's been about a almost two months since she was at UCD. She's still not completly healed, I don't know if she'll ever be 'normal'. She can run and play with the other foals now. She does tend to get more winded than the others if she does a lot of sprinting, but she recovers quickly. I still hear her coughing several times a day, but it's much more 'shallow' than it used to be. It never happens during excercise either, which is a bit odd. We try to run blood work on her every 10-14 days to make sure we're not losing ground. Now it's staying cool enough where she can be out all day (in an area that has zero dust, the sprinkler is almost always on, it's a bit of a mud pit currently..), however, at night, it's getting quite chilly. I've started blanketing her for the nights, as I can't imagine it's good for her to get too cold either. I've kept her on Immunall for about 75% of the time we've been dealing with this, and seen great results. It just gives that extra boost.

    It's a scary thing, and there were days when I thought we were backsliding. It's still very possible that she could relapse, but we're taking it day-by-day. Her energy level is great, has a great appetite, and acts almost completly normal 100% of the time.

    We're not entirely sure what caused it in my filly, we know that the muscles in her esophogus are extremly weak, but what caused that has got everybody stumped. She was at one of the best Vet hospitals in the United States, and we still don't have an explanation. Up until then, she seemed very healthy...
    Sending jingles!!
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  11. #11
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    Vet was out again today. The foal is certainly no worse and MAY have reduced lung noise-so fingers crossed everything will keep going back to normal.

    He wants him out during the day in 'nice' weather-not too hot and not damp and rainy.

    In during hot or damp weather and definitely in at night-only because he does NOT want him running one step-and that can't be monitored at night.

    He is peacefully grazing in the shade.

    Thank you for the thoughts and input.



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by grayarabpony View Post
    Yes, I'm sure you're the foal pneumonia expert (although I am curious, why so many foals with pneumonia, unless you run a veterinary hospital?), but it's not hot. Why would the foal overheat?? And when I provide turnouts I provide shelter. Again, common sense.
    Well aren't you just too sweet. One foal was rejected and almost killed by her surrogate dam. She aspirated milk while recovering. Two other foals developed rhodococcus while at another facility. Pneumonia was a bi-product of the rhodococcus.

    It is about 87 degrees here today in N FL and the OP is in GA.

    I too have run in sheds. I agree that turnout is almost always better for a youngster. However, when one is running a high fever and in the worst part of an illness I will do all I can to keep them from further stress, including over heating. Sorry that I voiced an opinion that didn't agree 100% with your own.



  13. #13
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    Actually, from what I have researched, foals are frighteningly susceptible to pneumonia-both Rhodococcus and Streptococchus. Poor darlings.

    So I would not be so quick to jump on HAF-and I found her information helpful.

    I started this thread hoping owners WITH experience would post-no reason to criticize someone for helping.

    The foals temp was 101.7 today so is still hovering around 101.2-101.7...which is (in my understanding) the high end of normal...so he is not considered as having a fever. one yay!



  14. #14
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    Best of luck to you with the wee one, LMH. You have caught this quickly and babies are amazingly resilient. My filly that had rhodococcus was very sick when we discovered it, but she recovered beautifully with absolutely clear lungs and no repercussions. She is now a big strapping 2 year old who rules the yearling boys who are out with her. Keep us posted.



  15. #15
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    HAF- Did your aspiration pneumonia foal recover fully?

    Like I said above, I don't know if my beautiful filly will ever be 100% again Although we are dealing with a slightly more complicated problem with the muscles being so weak I think.... why do bad things always happen to the good ones?
    Making Your Ambitions a Reality at Secret Ambition Stables.
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  16. #16
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    DD,

    Ballerina was the one who aspirated. She is absolutely fine, has been under saddle for a couple of years and did very well in her MPT as a 3 year old. She had one lung lobe fully filled when we took her to the vet school at 3 days of age. She also had clostridia, so you can imagine how sick she was.

    I remember that she started coughing again about 3 months after the original illness. I think she was actually clearing her lungs at that time, because for about a week she hacked up stuff, but didn't go off feed, run a temp or seem really sick. From then on, she never looked back and recovered perfectly. Keep the faith. It takes time and care, but they can recover from some pretty scary stuff.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Home Again Farm View Post
    It is about 87 degrees here today in N FL and the OP is in GA.

    I too have run in sheds. I agree that turnout is almost always better for a youngster. However, when one is running a high fever and in the worst part of an illness I will do all I can to keep them from further stress, including over heating.
    Temps were actually forecast to be 75 in GA, and it's in the low 80's here in NC.
    My horses aren't sweating (and foals can handle heat better than adults, due to their small size).

    Of course it's not the kiss of death to keep a foal in. But as LMH said, if this foal is running a fever at all it's slight.

    One of the reasons I'd be wary of turning a horse in and out is that they're more likely to run when turned out. That's why I suggested putting the baby in with a horse that doesn't run, and he can get in some shade. Or handwalk him before turning him out.

    If I did put him in I'd want to put him in with or so that he can see/touch a buddy, since I presume this is a weanling. Otherwise his stress level would be increased.

    I always try to keep a horse out if possible, but it's true that that's not the same as throwing them out in a big field if a horse has a problem. I've seen horses lather up in stalls from separation anxiety too, so it all depends on the horse and the situation.

    If the stalls have excellent air ventilation so much the better (which they don't always).

    Here's a link about Rhodococcus: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/...cts/90-056.htm. The foals who are most suspectible to it are a lot younger than 6 months.

    PS I have boarded with people whose horses HAVE had pneumonia -- and those horses had pneumonia more than once. Lung problems are more of a problem in PA because the barns are closed up more and ammonia levels are high, even with a windy hay loft. One such horse had to be retired from a career in eventing.

    Good luck
    Last edited by grayarabpony; Oct. 7, 2009 at 05:49 PM.



  18. #18
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    GAP I can agree with your thoughts in theory but a weanling with pneumonia is a little bit of a special circumstance.

    May I ask what is your experience in raising foals? In particular one rehab'ing from pneumonia?

    For such a delicate situation, I would really prefer advice from those experienced in this area.

    A mistake could be costly.



  19. #19
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    LMH -- it sounds like your vet is doing all the right things and giving you very good recos on management right now.

    It's always hard on us to keep the little ones in while they're ill (but aren't necessarily showing it and are seemingly perky)...but with a supremely clean, open, well-ventilated stall--and limited turn out time he can't getting running or overdo it until he's completely clear of disease for fear of relapse -- well, I think that's very prudent.

    Good luck.



  20. #20
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    Thanks Susan-my vet is AWESOME and is really treating this progressively. He comes by daily to check on him.

    The feedback is just so helpful-and settling to a very worried mama

    He is currently on daily Naxcel until the culture comes back-then my vet may make changes-we are both hopeful Naxcel will be correct for the bacteria-it is once daily IM...the sad part is it will last at LEAST 10 days.

    My filly showed early signs of the infection so she is also on 5 days of Naxcel to ensure she does not go down the same road.

    I would give ANYTHING for something oral. The shot is 20ccs and stings a little.

    Both are being troopers but so many days, well...

    I have been watching him like a hawk and checking his temp, etc several times a day so I can jump if anything changes.

    He seems MUCH brighter after just 24 hours on the Naxcel-I understand it is very fast acting.

    Hopefully his lungs will start clearing in the next 2 days. If not he will have to add an anti-inflammatory of some sort to assist the lungs.

    My baby is such a trooper-doesn't fight one thing we have to do to him.

    It is tough and heartbreaking BUT the one positive is I am spending loads of quality time with each-hopefully that will counteract any stress from the daily shots.

    What we figure happened is a virus has been passing around. My older gelding caught it and was 'clean' before I brought the babies in-but he relapsed so something was still hiding in there.

    Whatever the original infection is, is very very strong...the babies were both slightly compromised from traveling home and the change of homes-it just nailed my foal harder than the filly-but she was not here as long so we also caught her earlier.

    I was FREAKING OUT yesterday when he told me he would have to do the tracheal wash on the foal-but he was a DARLING for the entire process.

    I feel a little better today seeing the positive results in just one day.

    Neither run at all-the are very passive and just ease along grazing-that is working in our favor as well.

    I will keep updating so this thread can be useful to someone else one day.

    It is very scary and having a resource with information is so helpful.



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