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Equine Practice
Practical guide to fluid therapy in neonatal foals
  1. Anna Hollis

    Anna Hollis graduated from the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) in 2004. After a spell in mixed practice, she returned to the RVC, where she completed an internship followed by a research scholarship in equine medicine and critical care. She is currently a resident in large animal internal medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, USA.

  2. Kevin Corley

    Kevin Corley graduated from Edinburgh in 1993. After 13 years in academia in the UK and USA, he now works in private practice as an internal medicine and critical care specialist at Anglesey Lodge Equine Hospital in Ireland. He is an RCVS specialist in equine internal medicine.


SUCCESSFUL fluid therapy in the neonatal foal depends on rapid identification and treatment of hypovolaemia, in conjunction with careful monitoring. Clinical signs may be very subtle in the foal, possibly as a result of it being the weakest herd member of a prey species, and thus there being an evolutionary advantage in not showing disease. Added to this, neonatal foals do not always mount a protective physiological response to disease states such as hypovolaemia. This presents a unique challenge as clinical signs may be subtle and deterioration rapid, but also means that dramatic improvements in the animal's status may be achieved in a short space of time. This article describes how to recognise and treat hypovolaemia and dehydration using a variety of fluids, and outlines potential complications that might arise.

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