• Open Access

Prognostic Variables for Survival of Neonatal Foals Under Intensive Care


Department of Clinical Studies, Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada, N1G2W1


The costly nature of intensive care for neonatal foals prompted a study of predictive variables for survival in a referral hospital. Applying stepforward logistic regression to parameters that differed significantly (P < 0.10) between survivors (S) and nonsurvivors (NS) in a retrospective study (n = 56), two variables retained statistical significance (anion gap (AG, P= 0.0047) and venous PO2 (PvO2, P= 0.0342)], thus forming the basis for a predictive equation for survival: the Pn (probability of NS) = eA/(l + eA) where A =–1.46 – 0.107 (PVO2) + 0.213 (AG). The predictive equation was evaluated prospectively in foals (n = 48), irrespective of diagnosis, that underwent intensive care. Sepsis was the most common medical problem identified in both groups of foals (51/104). In the prospective study, a Pn ≤ 0.5 predicted S (positive test) and Pn > 0.5 predicted NS (negative test). The sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV), and negative predictive value (NPV) of the predictive equation were 100%, 40%, 62%, and 100%, respectively. All foals with Pn > 0.4 (n = 14) did not survive. Erroneous predictions were consistently false positives (predicted S, outcome NS). The predictive equation for survival may aid in identification of high risk neonates, i.e., unlikely to survive. The prognostic merits of anion gap and PvO2 imply that tissue oxygen debt was a significant problem for these critically ill foals (Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine 1992; 6:89–95)