Foal Pneumonia

Your three-month-old foal has made it through the birthing process and the vulnerable neonatal period and now seems to be carefree–your little one just has to grow up to fulfill his destiny as a performance
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Your three-month-old foal has made it through the birthing process and the vulnerable neonatal period and now seems to be carefree–your little one just has to grow up to fulfill his destiny as a performance horse. Although tonight he was a little quiet in the stall, he was eating well and seemed to have just a little yellow discharge from his nostrils–nothing to worry about, right? The next morning, the foal obviously is not well; he is standing in the corner struggling for every breath . . . .


Pneumonia, as most people know, means disease involving the lungs. The actual definition is inflammation of the lungs, which could be due to a multitude of factors, bacterial pneumonia, viral pneumonia, etc. But what does pneumonia look like in the foal? What are the warning signs and/or clues that your foal is in the early stages of pneumonia? When do you call your veterinarian? In this article, we will discuss pneumonia in the young foal and will focus on the obvious and sometimes subtle signs of pneumonia. We will concentrate on the most common bacterial causes of pneumonia

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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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