Valutazione e trattamento iniziale delle coliche neipuledri Academic Article uri icon


  • There are numerous causes of colic in foals; however, the principles of assessment and managent are similar for most causes. The history can be helpful in formulating and focusing the differential diagnosis. Rupture of the urinary bladder is a more likely cause of colic in a foal with progressive abdominal distention that is less than one week of age than in a foal that is one month of age. A farm history of current or past enteritis indicates that a medical cause of cause of colic is more likely than a surgical cause; however, distinguishing between medical and surgical causes is challenging. An onset of clinical signs at or just after birth indicates the possibility of a congenital problem. Colic caused by retained meconium must be considered because of the high prevalence of the condition. Concurrent congenital defects (e.g., cleft palate or ventricular septal defect) that affect pronosis should not be overlooked. As with adult horses, a thorough physical examination should be performed. Certain aspects of the physical examination of foals differ from that of adults, and physical findings in foals vary with age. This article considers the methods used to assess foals with colic and highlights the age-related differences between young horses and adults. The principles of initial treatment of foals with colic are also discussed. Because the clinical condition of foals (particularly neonates) can deteriorate rapidly initial assessment may entail therapeutic intervention to stabilize the patient before a diagnosis is confirmed. Therapeutic intervention may include intravenous or enteral administration of fluids and electrolytes, provision of caloric requirements, prevention or treatment of hypogammaglobulinemia, prevention of infection, and alleviation of pain. The treatment and supportive care of a foal with diarrhea differ from those of a foal with acute abdominal pain associated with other causes. In cases of diarrhea, nonspecific treatments can be implemented before a causative diagnosis is established.

author list (cited authors)

  • Cohen, N. D., & Chaffin, M. K.

publication date

  • March 1996