Causes of and farm management factors associated with disease and death in foals

N. D. Cohen From the Department of Large Animal Medicine & Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4475.

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 VMD, MPH, PhD

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Summary

A prospective study was conducted to describe the causes of and farm management factors associated with disease and death in a population of foals in Texas. Data from 2,468 foals at 167 farms were provided by veterinarians for all 12 months during 1991. Among 2,468 foals, 116 deaths were reported (4.7%). Pneumonia was the most commonly reported cause of death, followed by septicemia. When considered as a group, musculoskeletal disorders (traumatic, infectious, or deforming problems) represented the most common cause of all reported deaths. Daily risk of death was greatest during the first 7 days of life, and decreased with age. Risk and frequency of causes of death varied by age. Crude incident morbidity during the year was 27.4% (677/2,468). Respiratory disease was the most common cause of incident disease in the study population, followed by diarrhea. Risk of disease was greatest among ≤ 7 days old, and decreased with age. Crude rate of incident of diarrhea was significantly lower among farms where foals were born on pasture, compared with that at farms where foals were born in stalls. The practice of assessing passive immunity was significantly associated with decreased morbidity from septicemia and pneumonia.

Summary

A prospective study was conducted to describe the causes of and farm management factors associated with disease and death in a population of foals in Texas. Data from 2,468 foals at 167 farms were provided by veterinarians for all 12 months during 1991. Among 2,468 foals, 116 deaths were reported (4.7%). Pneumonia was the most commonly reported cause of death, followed by septicemia. When considered as a group, musculoskeletal disorders (traumatic, infectious, or deforming problems) represented the most common cause of all reported deaths. Daily risk of death was greatest during the first 7 days of life, and decreased with age. Risk and frequency of causes of death varied by age. Crude incident morbidity during the year was 27.4% (677/2,468). Respiratory disease was the most common cause of incident disease in the study population, followed by diarrhea. Risk of disease was greatest among ≤ 7 days old, and decreased with age. Crude rate of incident of diarrhea was significantly lower among farms where foals were born on pasture, compared with that at farms where foals were born in stalls. The practice of assessing passive immunity was significantly associated with decreased morbidity from septicemia and pneumonia.

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