Every year, septicemias takes a heavy toll of foals. Foals are exposed to any amount of illnesses, plenty of which can lead on to septicemia. The weak point of all foals is the leftover stump of the umbilical cord.
Care ought to be taken to keep the umbilical cord intact for some time after birth. When the cord is cut off too quickly , it robs the foal of a good amount of blood. The most suitable option is to allow the cord to break off in natural course. The area should be sterilized as soon as that happens. The most typical disinfectant used for this purpose is iodine compound. This easy act of disinfecting the umbilical cord stump with this disinfectant is sufficient precaution for keeping the foal safe from illnesses that may lead to septicemias, and thus, it should not be delayed or skipped. Even when you are unable to get to the foal for hours after its birth, the very first thing you should do is set about disinfecting its umbilical cord stump.
Typical infection causing bacteria include Salmonella abotivoquina, Salmonella typhimrium, Escherichia coli, Streptococcus pyogenes, Clostridium perfringens and Actinobacillus equuili. Clostridium perfringens can cause inflammation of the foal’s intestines.
You also should keep a look out for some conditions that could render the foal subject to septicemia if they exist in either the mare or the foal or both. It is common to see these conditions abundant in foals that become a victim of septicemia. These conditions include:
- Induced parturition (work)
- Premature birth
- Unsanitary birth conditions
- Delayed suck reflex
- Inadequate colostral antibodies
- Poor ventilation.
Septicemia announces itself in 1 or 2 early symptoms, which include:
- Decreased appetite
- Mild dehydration
- Weak suck reflex
- General weakness
- (occasionally) fever.
As foaling season approaches there’ll be a lot of foal births that occur before temperatures increase. While many of these foals may not carry risk for septicemia, they do stand exposed to other conditions like pneumonia. Sadly, septicemia may be the end result of such contagions. The presence of bacteria may comprise another risk, particularly in a barn that is poorly ventilated. Foals are always vulnerable, but more so if born just before warmer spring temperatures set in. A close watch should be maintained on foals that appear to be at risk.
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