Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Foal or Newborn, Fever, Rectal Temperature Greater than 102.5 Degrees

Code Red - Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

Code Red - Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours

  • If the foal is not nursing or seems depressed, in addition to this sign.
  • If the foal is showing signs of colic pain along with this sign.

Code Orange - Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours

  • If the foal appears otherwise normal, i.e. is active and nursing normally.

Foals under 3-6 months of age, especially newborns, have a higher normal temperature range than adults, 100-102.5 degrees is considered normal. Foals that have vigorously exercised, or have been lying in the hot sun may have rectal temperatures on the warm side.

If a foal has a temperature higher than 102.5 degrees, it generally is an indication of an infection or other potentially serious disease process.

WHAT TO DO

Assess your foal’s general health, paying particular attention to their attitude and appetite, gum color and degree of hydration with skin pinch. Monitor the foal carefully, noting whether they are moving normally, if they are nursing, urinating and passing manure, and the appearance of urine and manure. Since foals are delicate and can deteriorate rapidly, immediately contact your vet with your findings and concerns. Until your vet arrives, ensure that the foal has access to shade and water.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet assesses the general health of the foal, ruling out the common conditions that result in fever. This starts with a physical exam, and may require laboratory and other diagnostic tests.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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