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Dan C., DVM
Dan C., DVM, Horse Veterinarian
Category: Horse Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 1180
Experience:  Solo Equine Practitioner/Mobile Practice Owner for 16 years.
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Had a colt born night before last, actually 2! I believe they

Customer Question

Had a colt born night before last, actually 2! I believe they were twins. I didn't discover them until yesterday pm and by then one was eaten by coyotes and the other had been claimed by a 2nd mare that has yet to foal. I believe I got the foalon the correct mare and into a pen. Saw the colt nurse so I thought all would've been ok. This morning the colt couldn't stand so I made up some colostrum replacer and had to force feed the colt. After an hour or so it was standing so I was going to help it either nurse or feed it milk replacer but it had yellow/green fluid running out its mouth and nostril and fell down heavily. There is a chance it is lethal white ( maybe they both were). This mare and stud gave me an outstanding grulla 6 yrs ago and one other LW since. Both are paint out crops. Should I try and force feed it again. I didn't see it poop but I think the small piles I saw came from the colt.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Horse Veterinary
Expert:  Dan C., DVM replied 1 year ago.
Good Morning, Alan:I’m sorry to hear about this foal’s condition. Based on what you have described, I will honestly say that the outlook for this foal does not look promising, as it has several strikes against it already, and it is not off to a good start. Firstly, the possibility that he may have been twins, and the possibility of a lethal white are both difficult conditions and lower the chances for a foal’s survival. It is very rare that either of a set of twins survives, although I can also happily say that I do have some in my practice that are now normal adults! (I’m really not a pessimist!) One immediate and grave concern is the discharge that you have seen coming from the mouth and nose. Based on your description of the color and consitency, it is most likely that this colt already has a lung infection, and is most likely without any immune system, even with the colostrum replacer that you administered. Do you know if the mare that you now have the colt on is producing colostrum? As you probably know, colostrum is a thick, yellow fluid, and is full of the antibodies that a foal needs to survive, as when first born there is no active immune system. You should be able to tell if the mare is producing colostrum if she will allow you to hand milk her to see what the udder contents looks like. If it appears to be normal milk, he may very well be on the wrong mare. To answer your immediate question about force-feeding it another time, it certainly wouldn’t hurt, as long as you can avoid any inhalation of the colostrum. The best-case scenario would be to milk out the mare that is producing colostrum and use that, instead of a colostrum replacer. I will often cut off the end of a large 60cc syringe and smooth the cut edges by either sanding or slightly melting it with flame. This prevents any irritation and possible scratching to the mare’s udder, as well as helps in forming a consistent seal between the udder and the syringe.Ideally, what this colt needs is immediate hospitalization. An IV containing antibody-rich serum would help to give this foal a fighting chance. Also, with the infection that seems to be present, the colt should also be placed on IV antibiotics, along with aggressive supportive care. Are you near a Veterinary Teaching Hospital or some other type of Veterinary Equine facility? If so, I would strongly recommend getting the foal into a hospital ASAP. Without aggressive care and treatment, the chances for this foal surviving are grave. I certainly am not trying to scare or alarm you, but I have seen too many of these types of foals die, that may have had a chance if they had been hospitalized in time. Minutes count in this type of situation.I’ll end here, so you can get this message. If you have any further questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to ask.I wish you the best,-Dan C., DVM.