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Blood Values for Neonatal Foals

In a recent “How To” session presented at the 2015 AAEP, Dr. Michelle Barton presented her thoughts on how to interpret common blood values between neonatal foals and adult horses. Her findings were published in the AAEP 2015 proceedings and reviewed the distinct features of common hematologic and serum biochemistry parameters in foals relative to mature horses. A very concise table in the article outlined some common unique differences in foals relative to adult horses and here are a few examples:


: Packed Cell Volume (PCV) – lower in the first few months


: White Blood Cells (WBC) – variable, tend to be the same or slightly greater


: Total Serum Protein (TP) – lower for the first 4-6 weeks


: Glucose – same or greater during the first month


: Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP) – greater during first year


These are a few examples of some of the differences that need to be considered. “Failure to recognize these differences can lead to erroneous interpretation.” While the author acknowledges that it is important to use the age-related values from the lab that is performing the analysis, sometimes this information is not always available. It is then that these generalizations can be applied to the foal’s values, aiding in correct evaluation of a foal’s medical condition.


Scientific Article: Barton, MH “How to Interpret Common Hematologic and Serum Biochemisty Differences Between Neonatal Foals and Mature Horses”. AAEP Proceedings, vol. 61, 2015, pp. 1250-29.



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