How to Recognize Critical Illness in Foals

موقع أيام نيوز

Few things in nature are more inspiring than new foals frolicking around their mothers on a crisp spring morning. The fact that a foal can be up and running within a few short hours after birth is but one in a long series of miracles. Conception is miraculous in itself. Development in utero or in the womb begins with the formation of all of the organ systems and is followed by their maturation. During the entire process the foal is completely dependent on the mothers blood supply for eating breathing and eliminating metabolic waste products. Many of the organ systems function differently in utero than they do after birth. Parturition or birthing initiates changes in the foals heart lungs liver and urinary bladder which must occur almost instantly. These changes are essential for adaptation to life on the outside.



Fortunately things proceed normally almost all of the time. Foals have survived the cold cruel world much longer than there have been foalwatch teams to worry about them. That being said how do we know when things are not right? What are the signs? What can and should be done? In order to understand how things can go wrong it is important to review the normal physiological processes taking place around the time of birth. 
Normal Transition from Prenatal Life to Neonatal Life


When the foal is still in utero he does not breathe or eat. Oxygen and nutrients in the mares blood are transferred directly to the blood supply of the developing fetus through an elaborate system of membranes called the placenta which is attached to the foal through his belly button or umbilicus via the umbilical cord. Waste products from the foals blood are then transferred back across the placenta to the mares blood to be eliminated. Shunts in the fetal foals circulatory system serve as little detours which direct blood away from the lungs and liver as these organs are not needed until the beginning of life on the outside. Immediately after birth since the foal can no longer rely on his mother for oxygen nutrients and waste elimination these shunts must change to allow normal function of all body systems.


Cardiovascular and respiratory heart blood vessels and lungs changes occur first and the blood is instantly directed to flow through the lungs so they can inflate absorb oxygen and expel carbon dioxide. Other changes involving the liver urinary bladder intestinal