Foals’ haematological values change constantly during their first year of life. The use of updated age-based reference intervals (RIs) is imperative for providing accurate diagnosis and optimum care for sick foals. The authors' objective was to provide updated RIs for 13 haematological values in 2, 7, 14, 30, 90, 180 and 365-day-old foals and to investigate the changes over time in each measured value. Venous blood was collected at those ages from clinically healthy foals. Thirteen haematological values were analysed. The 95% RIs were reported using a bootstrapping method. Differences over time were examined using Friedman test. RIs for each of the measured values were calculated. Results showed noticeable trends in changes over time in several values. Nevertheless, white blood cell counts significantly increased between day 2 and day 90 (P=0.011) while lymphocyte counts increased from day 2 up to day 180 (P=0.033). The mean corpuscular haemoglobin and mean corpuscular volume (P=0.011) significantly decreased between day 2 and day 90. Normal haematological values in foals not only differ from those in adult horses but also change throughout the first year of life; thus, it is critical that clinicians use age-based RIs when treating sick foals.
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Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Ethics approval This study was approved by Western University of Health Sciences IACUC office.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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