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Overheated foal

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  • Overheated foal

    I have a 2 month old mini foal who was out with her mother today in the paddock. The temperature got up to around 80 but there was shade they could get under. Someone left the gate open and the two of them escaped for about half an hour and were found just walking in the yard. When I got them back in the paddock the foal was making a strange wheezy, barking noise when breathing out. I called the vet who told me sometimes the foals get overheated and get pulmonary edema, and to take her in, hose her off and put the two of them in the stall with a fan on them. Her temperature before hosing was 100.7 and 99.9 after hosing. She seemed to improve over the afternoon and was nursing, though is acting sort of quiet and clingy to her mother. Definitely not feeling her best. Vet says to call if she gets worse. Tonight she seemed the same, so I put her out as I do all the horses at night. Suddenly a big rain storm came up so I brought them both in and toweled her off. She's making that strange breathing sound again, but is walking around and nursing.
    Has anyone had experience with foals who do this? I will call the vet in the morning if she's still not well.

  • #2
    I would post this in the Breeding Forum--LOTS of wisdom there!

    My filly was born on THE hottest day of 2012, June 28th. She was turned out for the first time the following day (just briefly, it was also hot as hell), and quickly got overheated; breathing was rapid and shallow. I ran to get the vet (she was at a Repro facility) when her breathing didn't return to normal; they took her temp, and it was over 102! Under the cold hose she went (poor thing!), and we were able to get her temp back to normal.

    Even though your foal is not a newborn, from what I gather they are still vulnerable to heat, and unable to fully regulate their body temps. Best of luck, and I would *definitely* call the vet out as a precautionary measure (you can't be too careful!)
    "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

    "It's supposed to be hard...the hard is what makes it great!" (Jimmy Dugan, "A League of Their Own")


    • #3
      Assuming that your thermometer is right, those temperatures wouldn't worry me. The abnormal breathing may warrant an exam if it returns/continues.
      Jingles for you and your filly!


      • #4
        Originally posted by tucktaway View Post
        Assuming that your thermometer is right, those temperatures wouldn't worry me. The abnormal breathing may warrant an exam if it returns/continues.
        Jingles for you and your filly!
        Good point. It might be worth getting another thermometer. I had a sick horse and didn't realize how sick until the vet came and took her temp. a couple degrees off from mine.


        • Original Poster

          Thanks for the help. Here's the update. Yesterday the foal's breathing was worse so I had the vet out who ultrasounded her and examined her all over, also taking blood. Her temp was only 101.2 and matched that of my thermometer. (But next time I will have two thermometers just in case). The vet thought she probably had a mild pneumonia caused by who knows what (?). The outdoor temperature had changed and the foal had been born sick requiring hospitalization and though she received colostrum, her mother the mare never was able to produce colostrum of her own. But the blood sample showed she did have a mild infection and is now being treated with antibiotics and a yogurt/prilosec combination for what the vet suspected was a stomach ailment (blood test results again.) Also, she said body clipping would be a good idea as she is very furry.
          Now, two days later, the baby seems great, is happy, bright, eating, pooping, and feeling great! We will continue the medicine twice a day and keep her cooler from now on! Phew!! Hope she stays healthy from now on!


          • #6
            Pneumonia was going to be my guess as the foal can not be overheating with a normal body temp. Glad to hear he is on the mend. I would use gastrogard instead of prilosec however. In a foal that tiny a tube would last a very long time.
            McDowell Racing Stables

            Home Away From Home


            • Original Poster

              Yes, I'm using gastrogard now, and she is doing very well now. I'm still trying to decide about body clipping VS sponging off with alcohol or water. It gets so very hot and humid here I worry about the coming months. Any ideas on that?


              • #8
                I body clip all my foals.
                McDowell Racing Stables

                Home Away From Home