Foals respond strongly to changes in their bodies, which is why even minor symptoms (tiredness, failure to suckle, absence of urination, constipation, diarrhoea, hypothermia or fever) must be taken seriously.
Young foals who fall ill often require intensive care, which demands a lot of staff. In addition to staff and students completing their clinical stage, junior students serve as foal sitters with the responsibility of feeding, lifting up and providing other primary care for foals.
In addition to antibodies, even healthy one-day-old foals should be checked for inflammatory markers, as the symptoms of certain diseases may initially be very mild. Foals suffering from antibody deficiency alone receive plasma from donations made to the hospital’s blood bank and are subsequently discharged, while sicker foals often stay in the hospital for a few days to a week. The most common problems caused by infections include inflammations of the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts, and arthritis. MRI and CT imaging can be used to determine the site of infection.
Foals are usually accompanied by the mother mare, which may have postpartum problems, such as afterbirth retention. The foal and the mare are kept together at least within a visual and contact distance during treatment, even if the foal requires intensive care.