Don't forget the foal: the nursing requirements of hospitalised foals when the mare is the primary patient

Suzannah Harniman
Tuesday, April 2, 2019

In the post-partum period, there are a range of factors that could result in the hospitalisation of the mare. To minimise the long-term impact that the hospitalisation period has on the physical and behavioural development of the foal veterinary practices should have a protocol in place to care for a foal even though the mare is the primary patient. When patients are admitted detailed information should be gathered from the owner about both the mare and the foal. This provides valuable information necessary to plan appropriate nursing care. Important factors that need to be considered when planning care include the nutritional needs of the foal, the development of the selective bond between the mare and the foal and the handling of them as patients.Where possible the owner should be encouraged to participate in the care of their mare and the foal during the hospitalisation period. This will help the owner feel more involved in the provision of care and have a better understanding of the mare and foal's care requirements post discharge. This is a technique used in human paediatric nursing and is known as parent participation in care.

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