Managing Umbilical Remnant Complications in Foals

Researchers found that surgical correction of a patent urachus or infected umbilical remnants often has a good outcome.

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As feisty as they might be, foals remain relatively delicate in their first few weeks to months of life. Umbilical (“belly button”) issues occur frequently and can essentially clip an otherwise healthy foal’s wings, requiring intense veterinary care.

Laia Reig, BVM (Hons), an equine medicine and surgery intern at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine’s Marion DuPont Scott Equine Medical Center, in Leesburg, Virginia, said umbilical infection and patent urachus (urine leakage through the umbilicus) commonly affect foals, with both conditions typically requiring surgery.

Although the surgical procedures to correct umbilical issues have been well-described, there was little information regarding postsurgical events, complications, and outcomes. To offer a clearer picture of “what to expect after expecting,” Reig and colleagues reviewed medical records from 82 foals with umbilical issues. She presented their results at the 2017 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Nov. 17-21 in San Antonio, Texas

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Written by:

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she’s worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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