very poorly foal, any ideas or thoughts?

charlie76

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We have a just weaned foal in the yard who is very unwell, he has had the vet many times and is going in tomorrow as he has stumped the vets.
Foal rapidly lost weight and muscle a couple of weeks ago and has since seemed to have lost sight in one eye, its totally clouded over and no reaction to movement.
His coat is dull and he has scabs all over him which have suddenly appeared.
He is very weak as you can imagine and shows colic symptoms sporadically through the day. His guts are also making a lot if noise.

The vets thought he may have a serious worm burden so he was tested, wasn't that bad but wormed under vets advice anyway.

He has also tested negative for lawsonia.

He has been on baytrill for ten days in case of infection and the vet gave us gastroguard to see if that helped, none of which have.
He has been blood tested and all have come back normal. We have also had his intestines scanned to check for abnormal fluid levels but all seems fine.

Today we had bloods done to check for any liver damage but again all seems fine.

We are at a loss as to what it could be.

He eats his hard feed and picks at hay and grass.

Membranes are all a normal colour.

Tonight we gave him a small amount of bute paste so he could be happier and he seemed brighter after so he is obviously hurting some where.

Hopefully they will no more tomorrow but thought I'd see if anyone has had similar.

Thanks
 
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charlie76

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He's seven months. He seemed fine, hes a small foal, much smaller than the other two weanlings. He was weaned three weeks ago.
 

marotelle

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Hi,I am interrested about a foal having a compromised immune system,what are the symptoms?
I have a four and half month old foal,his mother had little milk but this improved after a couple of weeks,he was given plasma and bottle fed for the first ten days,the mare is on good pasture ,receives added hay and some blue chip.The foal,although small at birth has picked up,he suffered from ring worm but recovered well,this was followed by a never ending cold and cough,the vet took some bloods but told me it was viral and antibiotics were not necessary.He is wormed and I have added a bit of foal creep feed to get him used to eating grain,I don't intend to wean him before he is at least six to seven months,but his mother might have a say in this ,as she has a limited sense of humour....For the time being he is in great shape,but my vet suggests giving him some vitamins E.I am worried I am doing too much,most of my foals just get grass and hay and only get solids if the weather turns v nasty,they live out with the possibility of sheltering in a walk in barn where they have their hay...They are wormed,vaccinated and have their feet seen to,but otherwise I try to handle them little before they are three years old.Do you think I should bring this one in at night?It is getting quite cold,I have never rugged a foal in my life and worry that in doing this I might create a weakling!.!? My daughter tells me I am heartless and should give him special care? Please,please put my mind at rest and tell me I am not mad and am doing the right thing by him!!
 

paddy555

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Hi,I am interrested about a foal having a compromised immune system,what are the symptoms?
I have a four and half month old foal,his mother had little milk but this improved after a couple of weeks,he was given plasma and bottle fed for the first ten days,the mare is on good pasture ,receives added hay and some blue chip.The foal,although small at birth has picked up,he suffered from ring worm but recovered well,this was followed by a never ending cold and cough,the vet took some bloods but told me it was viral and antibiotics were not necessary.He is wormed and I have added a bit of foal creep feed to get him used to eating grain,I don't intend to wean him before he is at least six to seven months,but his mother might have a say in this ,as she has a limited sense of humour....For the time being he is in great shape,but my vet suggests giving him some vitamins E.I am worried I am doing too much,most of my foals just get grass and hay and only get solids if the weather turns v nasty,they live out with the possibility of sheltering in a walk in barn where they have their hay...They are wormed,vaccinated and have their feet seen to,but otherwise I try to handle them little before they are three years old.Do you think I should bring this one in at night?It is getting quite cold,I have never rugged a foal in my life and worry that in doing this I might create a weakling!.!? My daughter tells me I am heartless and should give him special care? Please,please put my mind at rest and tell me I am not mad and am doing the right thing by him!!
i simply don't understand your reluctance to give him special care. If he was mine at 4.5 months he would be getting a lot of special care especially in view of his past history. If it is cold I would be getting him in and if he had to be rugged so be it. Far more important to nurture a healthy animal that worry about handling them and doing too much. Far from worrying about creating a weakling I think that is exactly what you are going to do if he gets cold and wet. It will only need one little thing for one so young to go downhill quickly.
 

Merry Equimas

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i simply don't understand your reluctance to give him special care. If he was mine at 4.5 months he would be getting a lot of special care especially in view of his past history. If it is cold I would be getting him in and if he had to be rugged so be it. Far more important to nurture a healthy animal that worry about handling them and doing too much. Far from worrying about creating a weakling I think that is exactly what you are going to do if he gets cold and wet. It will only need one little thing for one so young to go downhill quickly.
Quite!

Marotelle id say im sorry if this offends, but frankly im not. That is the most pathetic excuse ever to not look after your foal...
 
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GirlFriday

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If you want to keep the foal and have the mare I'd put it back on the mother adap. She'll probably be able to start lactating again at this early stage and foal will be calmer and receiving antibodies from her. If the vets are at something of a loss you may not be able to do a lot more than keep it happy and increase immune function generally which the mother's presence and milk will do.
 

charlie76

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Thank you for this, I will tell the vet.
Our foal, for what its worth, is in at night and out in the day with a friend unless wet, then he stays in with company, he is in a huge stable so plenty of room. He is also well rugged both at night and during the day.
 

Merry Equimas

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We still have the mare, do you think we should put her back with him?
Can't hurt to try, if she will take him back. At this point i don't think there will be any antibodies being passed on, but the milk will hopefully help him thrive a little better if he is struggling with weight. Also might lower any stress levels, cause that can cause them to drop weight and be "ill"

I think some just need longer on the mare than others. Mine for example could happily come away from the mare and shes only 3 months - shes big and strong and very independant and spends only a few mins a day near her for "bitty"
 

charlie76

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I'll try it, she's a sweet mare so should be OK.
The other two foals and enormous in comparison, he has always looked rather weedy.
 

Merry Equimas

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Let us know how it goes! Do do it as though introducing two new horses though - the mare may be happy to have him back, or may be defensive cause shes "over" him.
 

charlie76

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Will do! We have to, unfortunately, take him past her too turn him out and they call to each other so she still is interested in him.
 

Merry Equimas

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Will do! We have to, unfortunately, take him past her too turn him out and they call to each other so she still is interested in him.
Ahh see it could all be stress then which can cause a weak immune system. I assume leaving mum is very stressful to a foal if they were very attached, and most people say its best to totally separate with no contact within ear shot/sight so that they forget them easier.
 

marotelle

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Quite!

Marotelle id say im sorry if this offends, but frankly im not. That is the most pathetic excuse ever to not look after your foal...
You do not offend at all,that was the reason I posted in the first place,as for not looking after it ,you could not be furthest from the truth.This foal and its mother are brought in twice a day and fed separately so that I can check how much the little one gets to eat.Having in the past had a problem with a yearling who stuffed himself on his mother's feed, I am now reluctant to allow a youngster free access to grain.The mares and foals are out in the field but have The opportunity to come in to find warmth and shelter in a large barn where they can eat as much hay as they wish,there is always a large bale open for them and the gates to and from the field are kept open for them day and night....l wean the foals around six months, they go to a differant field well away from their dams and are still looked after in he same way ,except that unlike their dams ,they are not kept in individual boxes as I believe they are better allowed to play together and live as a herd.I will keep the little one apart and rugged ,but still have doubts that Iam doing him a favour,for the time being he is still with his dam and I intend to leave him with her until she kicks him out,he is used to be on his own when I feed him as she will not allow him in the same box when she is eating.
Anyway Equi,thank you for your input,I shall strive to find more helpful advice such what would be the best feed, vitamins to boost the little fellow and keep him sane ,happy and healthy.

Anyway thank you for
 

SEL

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He's not short of vitamin E now he's off mum is he? No idea whether vet could pick that up in bloods but it's easy to supplement. Pretty sure I read an article that it can cause problems in foals, but no time to hunt for it before work. Keeping fingers crossed - hard when they're so titchy & obviously not well.
 

TheMule

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He sounds very unwell- I'd want him at equine hospital pronto. It could be neoplastic, sadly my yearling had intestinal tumours which there is no way of detecting on any test, she just got more and more ill until they opened her up and found them
 

eggs

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He sounds very unwell- I'd want him at equine hospital pronto. It could be neoplastic, sadly my yearling had intestinal tumours which there is no way of detecting on any test, she just got more and more ill until they opened her up and found them
I had a similar situation with one of my fillies only unfortunately we found her dead in the field one day and the tumours were only discovered on postmortem.
 

paddy555

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op,
I had a problem with my foal earlier this year. He ended up in hospital. He wasn't thriving, wouldn't eat etc. There was no firm diagosis. Checked for Lawsonia etc. The conclusion was probably a bacterium but I could test forever and would never find which.
Anyway the treatment they gave him worked which was antibiotics. He came home and went backwards. I went back the questioned them. They had been giving him sucralfate. I took some home and he has never looked back. Picked up very quickly as he had at the hospital. It heals the gut. I carried on with it for around 5 weeks. Although the antibiotics dealt with the problem the sucralfate was probably the thing that saved him and got him thriving again.
It is a prescription medicine. Vet said even if it didn't work it would do no harm and I could use it indefinitely. It could be worth a try?
 

paddy555

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You do not offend at all,that was the reason I posted in the first place,as for not looking after it ,you could not be furthest from the truth.This foal and its mother are brought in twice a day and fed separately so that I can check how much the little one gets to eat.Having in the past had a problem with a yearling who stuffed himself on his mother's feed, I am now reluctant to allow a youngster free access to grain.The mares and foals are out in the field but have The opportunity to come in to find warmth and shelter in a large barn where they can eat as much hay as they wish,there is always a large bale open for them and the gates to and from the field are kept open for them day and night....l wean the foals around six months, they go to a differant field well away from their dams and are still looked after in he same way ,except that unlike their dams ,they are not kept in individual boxes as I believe they are better allowed to play together and live as a herd.I will keep the little one apart and rugged ,but still have doubts that Iam doing him a favour,for the time being he is still with his dam and I intend to leave him with her until she kicks him out,he is used to be on his own when I feed him as she will not allow him in the same box when she is eating.
Anyway Equi,thank you for your input,I shall strive to find more helpful advice such what would be the best feed, vitamins to boost the little fellow and keep him sane ,happy and healthy.

Anyway thank you for
re your final para, I give mine micronised linseed, copra and soaked alfalfa pellets to provide protein. No grain or any of those type of feeds. I give salt and a supplement (equimins) I also give him natural vit E oil twice a day. This is the youngster I referred to on my last post who ended up in hospital This diet has really boosted him but not made him fat in any way.
 

JanetGeorge

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I would take a small bet that it's Listeria monocytogenes. I had 3 cases in 2yo's a couple of years ago - but it's more common in younger horses. For test results to be clear, you have to be lucky - timing of the test is critical (one of mine tested positive - the others negative - though symptoms were very similar. ) Thankfully they all made a good recovery.

I didn't have noticeable eye problems but the symptoms are variable - see http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/generalized_conditions/listeriosis/overview_of_listeriosis.html
 

marotelle

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Thank you Paddy555,I will add micronised linseed although he already gets linseed oil,I have tried giving alfalfa pellets,but none of my horses like them.For the time being he enjoys Cavalor's Podolac or foal creep pellets ,probably because they contain milk pellets!I live in Belgium and Copra is difficult to find.He has a salt lick but a bit E oil will do him a world of good,once weaned I will add some sure grow to his feed and see how we go from there.
 

charlie76

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Thanks guys, he is going in tomorrow. He was much brighter this morning and he is back with mum, she was very good with him but looks a bit down again tonight.
The bite definitely helped him but vet said take him in tomorrow. I'll keep you updated x
 
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