Thankfully, I have only ever seen this once. The foal died a few hours later, despite the vet being (unexpectedly) present as the mare started to foal. We did everything possible, but to no avail. The mare has since had a healthy foal and is nearly due with another.
Basically, the end of the placenta doesn't open to allow the foal out, but comes away with the foal inside, appearing as a red bag, with a "star" on the end.
My question is, what causes this? The year I saw it, one other stud had five cases. I've heard too much protien in the diet can cause it, but as the mare in question was fed the same as all our mares are, I can only wonder if there are other factors.
This question has been bothering me for a couple of years, now, and I wondered if anyone has more information for me.
Rooty (Unregistered Guest) Unregistered guest
Posted on Wednesday, August 17, 2005 - 01:00 pm:
We have had 2 of them. The first wasn't a classic red bag, but was a premature separation of the placenta. The foal had broken through the placenta (but was still in the sac), however at some point early in the delivery the placenta detached and was at the foal's shoulders. It was delivered at the same time as the foal. Luckily I was there and got the sac opened and the foal breathing and delivered promptly. She's 3 now. The vet felt that it was because the mare was a maiden, and at least according to him, while it's not a common occurence for maidens, that's when it tends to happen most often if it's going to happen. The second time was a classic red bag delivery, again luckily someone was there and got everything open and the foal delivered and breathing. In this case the mare hemorraged and died within 24 hours and the vet felt that the red bad delivery and the hemorrage were related events. This was her 5th foal that we knew about, but her earlier history was sketchy, so her exact age and number of foals weren't known for certain. The foal survived and is a happy, healthy yearling now. I have heard about a relationship between retained placentas and I think it was selenium deficiency, but am not sure about detached placentas.
As I can definitely rule out the other two, it seems Placcenitis may have been the cause. She appeared normal and healthy at all times through the pregnancy, but I do remember she was way larger than normal close to term. The foal was enormous and we got it breathing, but it appeared a bit dummy. Plus the mare had been sedated heavily to allow help with the birth as she was frantic and spinning around up and down etc. Not her usual foaling behaviour at all. So the foal was given plasma and seemed to be improving, then just died. All up a very bad day.
Thanks very much for that information.
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