Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Growing Foal, Poor Growth & Condition

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

Code Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

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

    Code Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

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

    Foals or youngsters that appear to be growing poorly may be suffering from malnutrition or any variety of chronic conditions. The foal’s genetic makeup must also be considered. Beyond our understanding of diagnosable congenital conditions, there are less well understood congenital factors that contribute to a foal’s growth and development potential.

    WHAT TO DO

    Observe the foal’s behavior carefully. Assessing the amount of milk the mare is producing can be difficult. How much time does the foal spend nursing? Foals that nurse constantly are probably not getting enough milk from the mare. Supplementation may be helpful. Assess the foal’s general health and, if possible, compare their appearance to other foals in the group. Consider the nutrition of mare and foal and the de-worming program. Contact your vet with your findings and concerns.

    WHAT YOUR VET DOES

    Your vet will perform a physical exam and use routine laboratory work. Beyond that, your vet may carefully assess your management of mare and foal, paying particular attention to mare milk production, nutrition otherwise, parasite control, and the foal’s environment.

    Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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