Neonatal Intensive Care

The Mid-Atlantic Equine Medical Center's neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) operates from January to July, and is reserved for critically ill neonates and their dams. Over the past 15 years the NICU has established itself as the premier private practice NICU in the Northeast. The unit sees upwards of 80 neonates annually, and is staffed with a 24-hour doctor and nursing staff dedicated solely to the medical and nursing care of the critically ill foal. The unit's stalls are outfitted with radiant heat beds, oxygen ports, constant rate fluid infusion pumps, and fully stocked mobile NICU pharmacy carts.
Neonates are managed intensively during the most critical hours of their young lives.  During their first days and weeks of life, foals are highly susceptible to a variety of illnesses including bacterial septicemia, birth associated oxygen deprivation, and prematurity. With the appropriate care, foals afflicted with these conditions and others can survive and develop without any residual effects.
The NICU at the Mid Atlantic Equine Medical Center is the only private practice NICU with a supporting consulting staff of board certified specialists in various disciplines including surgery, theriogenology, cardiology, dermatology, and ophthalmology.  Doctors led by chief neonatologist Dr. Rodney Belgrave and his staff are present around the clock to provide your critically ill neonate with compassionate intensive care.
The unit also houses and monitors high-risk late term pregnancy mares, and assists in the delivery and immediate assessment and treatment of the at risk newborn.  The unit has served as the birthplace for many future equine athletes born to high risk mares. From stakes performers to elite jumpers, the care provided by our dedicated, specially trained nursing staff is second to none.
Our facilities are equipped with specialized divided stalls to allow for constant intravenous fluid administration and intranasal oxygen support while maintaining the bond between the mare and foal.
While hospitalized your foal will have access to highly specialized diagnostics such as:
  • One and three meter long endoscopes allow assessment of the upper and lower airways, the esophagus and stomach.
  • High-resolution stall-side ultrasonography with 3 dimensional capabilities can be used to assess the thorax, abdomen, umbilical, and musculoskeletal structures.
  • High-quality radiographs of the thorax, abdomen, and musculoskeletal system can be helpful in the diagnosis of disease or malformation.
  • High-quality imaging of the limbs can be obtained.
  • Radioactive isotopes are used to look for areas of damage or inflammation within bony structures of the body.
24-hour complete in-house veterinary laboratory services.
Oxygen therapy
  • We can provide supplemental oxygen via a nasal cannula that foals can wear while still being loose in the stall with the mare.
Arterial blood gas analysis
  • Point of care monitoring system that enables us to measure the amount of oxygen in the foal's bloodstream as well as electrolytes and glucose.
Cardiology services
  • Electrocardiograms (EKGs) and echocardiography can be performed to determine the cause of any abnormal heart rhythms or murmurs.