I originally posted this at the end of one of the other files and since I've not heard anything may I start a new file? Ideas and opinons requested on my problem. I have a mare who has produced 3 foals(same sire). The 2nd and 3rd foals died shortly after birth. Her second foal was found dead in the stall with no warning of problem, was posted and vet said infection via umbilical cord even tho we had taken the usual precautions. The 3rd foal was monitored closely and when temp began to rise was transported to vet hospital where she rec'd care but ultimately died as well. Her post was more extensive and produced the following results: umbilicus swab - corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis lung section - "There is patchy to coalescing alveolar septal thickening by inflitration of mononuclear cells and neutrophils with hyalinization of alveolar membranes. There is scattered alveolar hemorrhage and some alveolar spaces contain neutrophils and macrophages. There is edema and hemorrhage in interlobular spaces and the subpleura. Diagnosis: Acute exudative interestitial pneumonia. Comments: The lesions are not specific but suggest a septiciemic or viral etiology." The recommendation was to sell the mare. I am loath to do that. Any comments are greatly appreciated. Thanks.
Perhaps the following will help. However I suspect that the mare her self is carrying and shedding a bacteria or virus to her foals. This although fairly rare, does happen from time to time. A relatively easy way to determine this, in this case is to have the mare's blood tested for elevated titers to the specific organisms that are suspect. Since Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis is harbored in the soil. Finding that the mare and foal have both been exposed would not be to unusual. It is however unlikely that exposure to that particular bacterium would result in what you have described.
I have personally dealt with many cases of Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis over the years. I have never, to the best of my knowledge seen it in a new born foal. That certainly is not to say, it could not happen.
I hope this is of some help.
The following is referance material, author unknown.
Dryland Distemper Horses in arid regions of the Western states are most at risk for this disease.
We can blame this disease on a very talented bacteria called Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis, which can cause a lot of problems in different animals. Dryland distemper is also known as pigeon fever. The chest and underbelly become swollen, then abscesses form in these areas within one to four weeks. The duration of the disease varies from weeks to months, depending on the severity of the abscesses.
Most abscesses occur under the skin of the chest or along the underbelly, but can also form in the arm pits and sheath, near mammary glands and on the legs. The bacteria is also capable of entering the bloodstream and forming internal abscesses inside the chest and abdomen. If these internal abscesses rupture, it is usually fatal. Luckily, this rarely happens. While reoccurrence is possible, most horses get the disease only once.
The bacteria that causes dryland distemper also causes caseous lymphagitis in sheep and goats and ulcerative lymphagitis in cattle and horses. It has also been found in deer and in the ticks that feed on deer. For these reasons, dryland distemper has appeared in areas where infected sheep and goats are present. It is uncertain how contagious it is or how it is transmitted, but biting flies and insects are suspected.
Dryland distemper occurs in arid regions of the western United States, with California having a high percentage of the cases. The disease can occur anytime during the year, but most cases occur during the fall and early winter months. At this time, there are no effective vaccines to prevent this disease, and only moderately effective antibiotics to treat it once the horse contracts the disease.
Posted on Tuesday, September 25, 2001 - 01:18 pm:
A situation such as this is difficult to diagnose as you don't really have a definitive cause of death (i.e. no identified pathogen) on both foals, hence it is really impossible to say that the deaths were definitively linked.
Some other questions you might like to evaluate:
Where are you located? The situation in Kentucky this spring resulted in the deaths of foals some of which showed signs of pneumonia - more information about that is available on this site by "clicking"here.
What was the condition of the placenta at foaling? Was there any indication of placentitis (seen as discolouration of the allantochorion)? If so this could suggest a cervical incompetency with an ascending placentitis of bacterial origin late in pregnancy which could be transferred to the foal in utero.
How old were the foals when they died? If sickness and/or death did not occur until after 48 hours post-foaling, that generally indicates that the pathogen was obtained from the external environment, whereas death prior to that point indicates something obtained in utero.
What were the foal's IgG levels? Was passive transfer successful? Foals are born without any immunity to infection and that immunity must initially be obtained via the mare's colostrum within the first 24 hours. Sometimes that transfer fails and then you have a foal that is susceptible to any form of infection.
Depending upon the answers to some of the above, one possible solution that may prove of assistance would be to put the mare on systemic antibiotics periodically during pregnancy - and obviously the antibiotic should be one to which the organism is sensitive.
**. I have a mare who has produced 3 foals(same sire). The 2nd and 3rd foals died shortly after birth. Her second foal was found dead in the stall with no warning of problem, was posted and vet said infection via umbilical cord even tho we had taken the usual precautions. The 3rd foal was monitored closely and when temp began to rise was transported to vet hospital where she rec'd care but ultimately died as well. **
I'm not a vet, but have as of late read a good bit of literature as I had some tragic death of one wonderful coming two year old. I now am paranoid about birth problems and so I wandered from article to article, reading and gathering information. And while you may never read my post because it is now Feb 18, 2002, someone else may read it and it might lead them to some explanation. What makes me wonder is that there were 3 foals in a row having died and all three were by the same stallion. Had both the mare and stallion ever had a blood type comparison done? I don't know how likely it is that 3 foals in a row could inherit the sire's blook type, but if they could and the parents' blood is incompatible, then the foal will die as the mare's milk is producing antibodies against her own foal and the foal shoul not receive any of the dam's colostrum. Your case, however, looks more like something is not right with the unborn fetus environment. I wonder if you had the mare thoroughly checked and treated if necessary following each birth for any possible infection. Early placentitis, I understand, more often than not causes abortion rather than carrying the foal to terms. I find it hard to believe that the vets didn't find a name for the condition or the actual cause. It appears to me that while you could certainly keep the mare, you may either not breed her again or have a very thorough investigation done by reproductive expersts. This may not be worth you money, time, and other investment, but finding out what has caused these 3 tragedies might be of great value to you and others. I am always taken aback when research animal hospitals aren't interested in your case beyond the call of duty.
We had a mare test positve for rh factor thus causing the foals to die shortly after birth.You can do this blood test pre foaling and may be the answer to your problem.This problem occurs in some mating but not all.giving the baby colostrum from our colostrum bank and milking the mare every two hours as we also fed the baby every two hours with milk replacer.The mare and foal were reunited after 48 hours and all turned out well the foal is now a 3 year old and doing fine Tumbleweed
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