Foals and Meconium Impaction

Passing the meconium is, to me, the second-biggest hurdle a foal must overcome after birth–the first, obviously, is making the transition from the protected life within the uterus to life outside the uterus (breathing, standing, nursing).
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With foaling season rapidly approaching, many people are checking their foaling kits, and preparing for the big delivery. You’ve got your thermometer, stethoscope, umbilical tape, disinfectant to dip the umbilicus, and lots of towels. The foal is delivered and thankfully, no problems–he’s up and nursing in no time. A few hours later, you go back out to check on the new addition and the foal is lying down and not comfortable. He keeps straining and he’s stopped nursing.

This scenario is all too familiar for neonatal foals. Passing the meconium is, to me, the second-biggest hurdle a foal must overcome after birth–the first, obviously, is making the transition from the protected life within the uterus to life outside the uterus (breathing, standing, nursing).

Here are some of the most common questions I get asked about meconium:

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Written by:

Christina S. Cable, DVM, Dipl. ACVS, owns Early Winter Equine in Lansing, New York. The practice focuses on primary care of mares and foals and performance horse problems.

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