Foal Heat Diarrhoea
What is Foal Heat Diarrhoea?
Foal Heat Diarrhoea is the name given for the short periods of diarrhoea often seen in foals aged 5 to 14 days old who are otherwise fit and healthy. It is seen in 80-95% of normal foals, with no breed pre-disposition.
What causes Foal Heat Diarrhoea?
Originally it was called ‘Heat Diarrhoea’ as if often occurs at the same time as the dam’s first return to oestrus, and was thought to be caused by a change in hormones in the mother’s milk. However, new studies have failed to make an association between foal heat in the mare and the onset of diarrhoea in foals. Furthermore, it is often seen in orphan foals and those fed on milk replacer!
The most recent theory suggests it’s a natural change in the foal’s natural gut flora that causes the diarrhoea, particularly as the foal begins to ingest other feeds.