Friday, June 8, 2007

Life Lessons Continues - Scours in the Arabian Foal

A couple of days ago I posted about the Arabian mare, Bey Aana, coming into heat and the foal experiencing the tell-tale diarrhea that can accompany that event. Life Lessons Interrupts Show Clipping Foal Heat in the Arabian Mare

I began a course of treatment with Bio-Sponge to alleviate the intestinal disturbance and monitored the colt for improvement. With signs of improvement in the colt's stool consistency, I hoped we were out of the woods. But since diarrhea can be so devastating to foals I continued to monitor the colt carefully.

By yesterday afternoon, it was obvious that while the Bio-Sponge was relieving the diarrhea in Aana's colt, the horse just was not feeling well. Despite the lessening severity of the diarrhea, the colt was getting more and more listless. By last evening the colt was only getting up to nurse. The young horse was haphazard in his attempts to nurse and sleeping the rest of the time.

I went out to the barn and checked his capillary refill (this is done by pressing firmly with the thumb on the upper gum and observing the rate at which the blood flow returns to the area. Instant refill denotes proper hydration, anything less than immediate refill indicates the degree of dehydration.) Fortunately, his capillary refill was good and the colt was not dehydrated. I also took his temperature and it was 101.2 degrees which would be high for an adult horse but only low grade for a foal.

Even though his temperature was not alarming and his capillary refill was not good, I was concerned about this foal. I put a blanket on him because he seemed to be cold and went into the house to monitor him on the computer.Things can turn so quickly with them at this age and his listlessness was disconcerting.

I stayed up until about 3:30 am watching him on the cam. By that time the colt had increased the amount of time he was nursing and he seemed to be feeling a little better. I posted on his thread on Mare Stare asking for eyes to help observe the colt's behavior so I would have complete information to give the vet when he came the next day. Then I went to bed to get a few hours of sleep.

In the morning I called the vet and then gave the colt a quarter of a tube of Probios as directed by the vet. Jack would come to check the colt as soon as possible.

Once the vet arrived he checked the colts IgG scores. Diarrhea can pull IgG scores down to dangerous levels. The colts were well over 1000. Capillary refill was also good. His navel looked good as well. The colt still has a low grade temp even though he was acting like he felt better. The little varmint even tried to kick the vet over the blood draw. The colt still has diarrhea but it's much better with the Bio_Sponge.But the vet said foals like this can go up and down pretty quickly so he would need to be monitored closely. Just because he seemed to be improving, didn't mean he would stay that way. Jack also mentioned that he routinely gives foals Probios twice a day throughout the foal heat and the first regular heat cycle to help alleviate the symptoms of gastric distress possible during those times. (After this many foals, you'd think I would have heard this by now. I'd been told to administer half a tube at birth and the other half at seven days, which I had done with this colt.)

So for the time being, I'll be continuing the Bio-Sponge and giving him Probios twice a day. Monitoring his temp and capillary refill and keeping track of how much he's nursing and his behavior.

I posted on Mare Stare that " continued prayers and eyes would be appreciated. Jack says we won't be out of the woods probably until the mare is out of heat and just because he's better right now doesn't mean he won't take a bad turn.

It would have been nice to have more specific news but that's horses for ya. I guess it is what it is. "

I administered more Bio-Sponge and Probios this evening. Washed the poor little guy's bottom and slathered Desitin on the burns left by the ravaging diarrhea. Now I watch and wait.

So for the time being, guess I'm holding my breath, crossing my fingers and hoping for the best with a few dozen prayers thrown in for good measure. This is one of the scary parts of breeding horses, caring for fragile foals.

Bey Aana and her foal are on live webcam

For information on my other horses see my website Rising Rainbow Arabians

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