Intensive Care for Foals Available at UC Davis

mare and foal

Intensive Care for Foals Available at UC Davis

Foaling season is upon us. Should any complications arise, the Lucy G. Whittier Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the UC Davis veterinary hospital can assist. Our highly trained team, led by board-certified critical care and internal medicine specialists and specialty-trained clinicians, can handle the most complicated cases, providing 24/7 coverage. The NICU is equipped with customized stalls to support sick foals, allowing intensive management under the watchful eye of the mare in an adjoining stall.

Sick newborns are very critical and if not treated early, can have severe complications and high mortality. The NICU’s team is experienced in successfully handling post-birth complications that require the high-level intensive care a sick foal needs. The hospital’s intensive care technicians provide around-the-clock monitoring, oxygen, IV fluids, IV antibiotics and nutritional support. Foals are also supported for their mental and behavioral well-being, with help to achieve what mother nature intended, the ultimate goal being a close bond between mare and foal.

Critical conditions the NICU treats include:
•    Colic
•    Diarrhea
•    Dummy foal syndrome
•    Failure of passive transfer
•    NI (Neonatal Isoerythrolysis)
•    Orthopedic problems (e.g., contracted legs, crooked legs)
•    Prematurity
•    Ruptured bladder
•    Sepsis
•    Septic joints
•    Kidney or liver failure

Post-foaling procedures performed by the NICU include:
•    Providing physical therapy for foals with leg deformities
•    Evaluating the mare’s reproductive tract with the Equine Reproduction Service
•    Retained placentas in the mare
•    Milking mares to feed foals if necessary

The NICU has three specially designed mare/foal stalls, with ample overflow space into the nearby ICU barn.

For more information on intensive care for foals at UC Davis, please contact the Large Animal Clinic at 530-752-0290.

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