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Any experts on endophyte toxicity online today?

Discuss normal, abnormal and immediate post-foaling issues.

Moderator: Jos

Any experts on endophyte toxicity online today?

Postby RobynB » Sun Jul 06, 2014 4:34 pm

I have a 12 hand Section A Welsh mare bred to a 14 hand cob. She's a maiden mare, 7 years old. She is currently at 356 days - AI with ultrasound, so we know exactly when she ovulated, and we did follow-up ultrasounds at 17, 30, 45 and 60 days. She has been looking ready to foal for a month now. Not very bagged up, but otherwise looks very ready. She's very healthy and not showing any signs of distress. I am feeding her soaked grass hay with supplements. My vet last examined her about 60 days ago. I called him last week to say she was at 350 days and he said to give it one more week, then he'd come out to check her if no foal yet. Tomorrow will be the one week. Meanwhile, this weekend, I asked at the feed store because I was worried there might be some fescue in the "orchard grass" I've been buying from them. They informed me that the grass hay I've been getting is mostly fescue, but is supposed to be endophyte-free. They could not tell me anything else today as the hay grower is closed. I will have the vet out tomorrow, but meanwhile I'm trying not to get upset. I know she's still in the safe range but she's definitely going a long time, and her bag is only partially developed. Would she have not bagged up at all if she had the toxicity, or could she have a partial bag? Because she's a maiden, I wasn't worried about the small bag, but now I am. I can't find anything online as to tests for the mare to see if she has endophyte toxicity - are there any, or do you just give her domperidone and pray, or what? Can anyone tell me anything else to look for (like symptoms)? I'm hoping she's just taking her time, but I'm getting worried, and hearing that the "orchard grass" I've been feeding is actually fescue completely freaked me out.
RobynB
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Re: Any experts on endophyte toxicity online today?

Postby Jos » Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:59 pm

It's really difficult to give definitive answers regarding Fescue endophyte toxicity affecting late pregnancy, as although it clearly exists, the question always has to be "is there really an issue or is the mare simply having a normal but long gestation?".

You can have your hay tested, which if there is a higher level of endophyte present will certainly give you a direction in which to proceed. Your agricultural extension office should be able to assist you in this regard.

Starting a mare on Domperidone does seem a simple solution, but it's not that easy, as Domperidone itself can produce a new slew of issues. Probably the biggest issue is that mares treated with Domperidone will typically not produce colostrum, so one has to have IgG supplementation on hand.

Furthermore, maiden mares are notorious for not developing an udder prior to foaling - or at least waiting until the very last minute (and in some cases after foaling). This doesn't help predicting whether endophytes are an issue or not (or come to that when the mare may foal!).

As you are still within the "normal" gestational range, you probably can see about getting your hay tested, and then take it from there, but your vet may also be able to give you some additional suggestions when they monitor the mare.

Good luck, and let us know how it turns out!
We're always happy to try and help, but don't forget to check the articles section
of the website too, which has a search engine to help you look for answers!
:)
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Jos
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Re: Any experts on endophyte toxicity online today?

Postby RobynB » Tue Jul 08, 2014 4:38 pm

Thanks, Jos. The feed store called the hay supplier Monday morning and was told that the hay is grown from "certified endophyte-free" seed, and that they are unaware of any issues with anyone else feeding the hay. Vet came out yesterday and did an exam. Baby seems fine, might be heading into position for delivery but a ways to go still as of yesterday. Mama is very healthy, vet said if I hadn't said "fescue" he would have no concerns at all yet. He is doing some research but told me to hang in there another week and hopefully she'll just foal normally. If I hadn't heard "fescue" I wouldn't be that worried either. It's just sitting at the back of my mind, but I'm trying to ignore it. Will post again when I know more either way.

Thanks again!
RobynB
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Joined: Sun Jul 06, 2014 4:29 pm


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