New Horse Course on Targeting Foal Disease Available

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Neonate losses are a significant problem for the equine industry. In one study in an equine-dense area, 68% of foal deaths occurred within the first month of life, with 41% occurring during the first week of life alone. Causes ranged from infections and musculoskeletal injuries to pneumonia and gastrointestinal disorders.

In the latest Horse Course video installment, Tracy Sturgill, DVM, PhD, and David Horohov, DVM, PhD, of the University of Kentucky’s Gluck Equine Research Center, and Doug Byars, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, of Byars Equine Advisory LLC in Georgetown, Ky., discussed the varied causes of foal mortality, current recommendations for preventing disease, and breaking research information on foal vaccination and immunity.

Sturgill described a study in which she examined the causes of foal deaths in Central Kentucky in 2004 and 2004. Septicemia–the presence of bacteria or bacterial toxins in the bloodstream–topped the list of causes of foal deaths, with Escherichia coli (E. coli) as the top single culprit causing this condition. Musculoskeletal injuries, pneumonia, and gastrointestinal disorders (including ulcers and colitis) followed septicemia as top causes of foal mortality.

"Infectious disease plays a major role in neonatal mortality," Sturgill said. "Prevention may be our best choice for decreasing the neonatal losses that we see

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