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Anemia in Newborn Foals

Treatment

 

If this condition is diagnosed when the foal is less than 24 hours old, it should be prevented from nursing its mother.  Nutrition should be given in the form of milk replacer via a nasogastric tube. A majority of the mother’s antibodies are gone from her milk after 24 hours, so if this condition is noticed after this time point, the foal does not need to be prevented from nursing any longer.

 

Other treatment will include IV fluids to help support the foal’s circulatory system and kidney function, supplemental oxygen if needed, and systemic antibiotics to prevent the foal from secondary bacterial infections. If the foal’s anemia is severe, a blood transfusion may be required.

 

Living and Management

 

If neonatal isoerythyolysis is caught early enough and the foal is not severely compromised at the initiation of treatment, the prognosis is much more favorable than with a foal who has been severely affected days before treatment is started.  Supportive care will be required for a period of time, as the foal slowly begins to produce healthy red blood cells to replace the ones it has lost.

 

Prevention

 

Prevention of neonatal isoerythyolysis is far more successful than treatment. If you know your mare has ever had a blood transfusion, or has previously had a foal with NI, do not allow any of her subsequent foals to nurse her within 24 to 48 hours of birth. Some breeds such as Arabians and Thoroughbreds are more genetically prone to carrying the Aa and Qa blood types.  If you are planning to breed either of these, it is sometimes recommended to find stallions that are negative to these blood types for your breeding program.

 

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