Sep 22, 2011
I have had foals get foal heat diarrhea, but why are all my foals getting diarrhea around 2-3 weeks of age?
It has been documented that over 70% of foals will have one diarrheal episode prior to weaning other than the typical foal heat diarrhea. Rotavirus is a major cause of infectious diarrhea in foals and has been documented to cause 50% or more of foal diarrhea cases in some areas. Rotavirus is transmitted through fecal-oral route and usually results in damage to the small intestinal absorption capabilities resulting in severe, watery diarrhea. Although death from rotavirus is very low (<1%), up to 50% of susceptible foals can get rotavirus. Most foals that develop diarrhea will not require medical intervention. However, many can get dehydrated and require fluids and veterinary care.
Many foal owners will call and notify us that their foal has diarrhea. We instruct them to watch the foal closely, administer appropriate prescribed medications, and call if the condition worsens. In a few cases the foal will be unable to maintain his hydration and need to be admitted to the hospital for intravenous fluids, gastrointestinal protectants, and observation. Typically these foals that are admitted will be with us in the hospital for 5-7 days while the foal stabilizes and begins to maintain its hydration.
If you would like to read more on equine rotavirus please click here.