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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