Parenteral nutrition in neonatal foals: Clinical description, complications and outcome in 53 foals (1995-2005)

Christine J. Myers, K G Magdesian, Philip H Kass, John E Madigan, Dianne M. Rhodes, Stanley L Marks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


This retrospective study describes the use of and complications associated with parenteral nutrition (PN) administration to 53 equine neonates at the University of California Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. Medical records were examined and information obtained on signalment, physical examination, clinical diagnosis, outcome, total hospitalization time, insulin administration, microbiology culture results, other complications (i.e. thrombophlebitis) and necropsy findings. Complete blood count and serum biochemistry analytes, venous blood gas, serum electrolyte and glucose concentrations, and blood lactate concentration results were compared before and during PN administration in all foals. Seventeen foals (32%) developed hypertriglyceridemia (>200 mg/dL). Triglyceride concentrations >200 mg/dL were significantly (P = 0.049) associated with non-survival. Forty-seven foals (89%) developed hyperglycemia (blood glucose >120 mg/dL) and eight (15%) developed catheter-related complications (thrombosis or local sepsis). Packed cell volume, total protein, creatinine, blood urea nitrogen, and sorbitol dehydrogenase concentrations decreased while foals were on PN, while serum chloride concentration increased. This study highlighted that hypertriglyceridemia during the acute phase of neonatal illness may be detrimental to outcome, and that the safety of lipid-containing solutions in foals warrants further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-144
Number of pages8
JournalVeterinary Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • Critical care
  • Equine neonate
  • Foal
  • Glucose metabolism
  • Hypertrygliceridemia
  • Lipid metabolism
  • Neonatal
  • Nutrition
  • Parenteral nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • veterinary(all)


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