What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


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


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.

  • 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.
You also might be observing
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your role


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 Not To Do

Do not take a "wait and see" approach on a young foal. They can deteriorate quickly.

your vet's role

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.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • Is the foal active and nursing?
  • Are you sure of your thermometer reading?
  • Did the foal stand and nurse normally after foaling?
  • Do you notice any other problems?

Diagnoses Your Vet May Consider

The cause of the problem. These are conditions or ailments that are the cause of the observations you make.

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Treatments Your Vet May Recommend

A way to resolve the condition or diagnosis. Resolving the underlying cause or treating the signs of disease (symptomatic treatment)

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Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP