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


Foal or Newborn, Heart Rate Elevated


A newborn foal's heart rate can be elevated because of exertion, stress, pain, anemia, infection, poor ventilation, and/or shock.

Foals start out with a heart rate of 60BPM for the first hours of life. Then this increases to 90BPM at 24 hours for several weeks, then slowly decreases.

A heart rate over 150 BPM in a young foal can be seen in a wide range of disorders and is cause for concern when accompanied by other signs of illness or disease.

  • Code Red

    Call Your Vet Immediately, Even Outside Business Hours
    • If you are not sure if your horse needs to be seen immediately or not.
  • Code Green

    Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources
    • If you notice this sign only when the foal is being handled. The foal seems well otherwise.
    • If you are confident that your foal is healthy and thriving other than this sign.
You also might be observing
Very Common
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your role


What To Do

Young foals are very sensitive to stress. Their heart rates will skyrocket when they are handled, and so every effort must be made to minimize stress when evaluating heart rate. Be careful of becoming too alarmed by this finding if the foal seems normal otherwise.

Assess gum color, capillary refill time, and attitude. If you are concerned about a newborn foal for any reason, immediately contact your vet with your findings and concerns.

your vet's role

Your vet evaluates the foal's general health with a complete physical exam. Further diagnostics might be needed will depend on the results of that evaluation.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • Does your foal seem normal otherwise?
  • How is the foal's attitude and appetite?
  • Is the foal showing any signs of abdominal pain (colic)?
  • When was the foal born?
  • Did the foal stand and nurse normally after foaling?
  • Was an IgG antibody test done on the foal after birth?

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