New foal tummy aches

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Jul 12, 2005
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Has anybody else experienced a foal that starts out slow with nursing, then gets tummyaches?

Our foal was born four weeks early but well developed. Unfortunately, we found him on the other side of the fence, not knowing how long he had been away from mom. He had a slow start nursing, so we milked the colustrum and bottled fed him. The next day he was so lethargic. Vet came out again and gave him DMSO, antibiotics and Ranitidine for his tummy. Next day he latched on and began nursing. That night/next morning he acted like he had colic or a bad tummyache. We gave him two enemas one hour apart and he dislodged some yellow goopy poop. He then started nursing again, running around like a normal foal. The next day again he began having a tummyahe, rolling from side to side. He poops and pees okay now. Vet came back out and gave another IV of DMSO and he is like a new foal. He is only six days old but we are so emotionally attached to him. He has now consistently for two days kept his mom's milk bag soft and pliable, meaning he is nursing. PLease someone tell me he will be fine. I'm a new mini mom with no foaling experience. Lori
Is he still on the ranitidine? One of my colts had a stressful birth and a hard start. Acted like yours. We kept him on 300 mg of ranitidine for 30 days, then took him off. He regressed, so we put him on another 30 day treatment. After the second session of ranitidine he was fine.

Good luck and hope he feels better soon.

Robin C
We've had tummyaches on foals this year, though not quite that young. Ours were at 1 month with one filly, and 2 weeks with a later colt. I think here it's something to do with the weather, wet conditions & such--we've never had foal colics other years.

If your little boy was slow to start nursing, and then tanked up, yes, I can see that could easily give him a tummy ache--then of course it starts all over again when he isn't feeling too well, isn't nursing for a bit, then perks up again and starts in on the milk again... If he's been nursing for 2 days now with no further problems, I'd say yes, there's every chance that he's going to be just fine.

The only thing I question is giving him the DMSO? Only because once upon a time our vet--we had an equine specialist at that time--told us that DMSO was NOT for young foals.

Do continue to keep a close watch on him, but hopefully his little system is now sorted out & and he'll be okay. Keep in mind that the foals born that early do tend to sleep a lot. We have a colt that was born 3 weeks early, and for awhile there he seemed to sleep an awful lot. Same with our last colt, born just a week ago. He came 4 weeks early--he's very strong, but it's so hot and humid and wet here, and there are times when he doesn't look too perky, and I think he's sleeping a lot--too much--then next thing he's up & running around & looking very bright & I tell myself that it's normal for him to be sleeping a lot for a week or two, til he gets caught up with when he should have been born.

The are worrisome little tykes!!
Oh, good! Thanks for all the advice. He was giving DMSO because the placenta was found on the concrete barn floor in the middle of the stalls, not knowing if he was dropped and because he was so lethargic and not eating. Vet thought he might have some swelling in his brain. It is awfully hot here in Florida and humid and rainy and icky. We have a fan in his stall window so he and mom stay cool during the hotter part of the day with sponge baths to cool him. He is on the Raniditine still. I love the little guy!

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