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Pneumonia is a bacterial infection of the lungs. It is most commonly seen in foals and rarely in adult horses.


Symptoms may include:

1. Coughing

2. Fast, shallow breathing

3. A high temperature (39 - 41°C or 103 - 106°F)

4. A nasal discharge

5. Abnormal lung sounds

6. Loss of appetite

7. Depression

If you think your foal or horse has pneumonia, call the vet immediately.


Pneumonia can be caused by several types of bacteria which are either inhaled or enter the body of a newborn foal through the naval. The bacteria lead to localised abscesses forming or inflammation of a large areas of the lungs. Pneumonia can develop after a viral infection, after a stressful period or after inhalation of food or liquid.


Treatment depends on the severity of the condition. It can include:

1. A long course of antibiotics

2. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

3. Mucolytic and bronchodilator drugs

4. Fluids administered intravenously

5. Oxygen given via a face mask.

Throughout treatment the horse should be kept in a well ventilated stable with a deep, clean bed. Ensure clean drinking water is available at all times and feed on soft, palatable food.

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