when a mare is in stage II of foaling, with no progress and the foal becomes at risk....what can be done immediately to help the mare dilate her cervix so she can deliver the foal? I just heard a nightmare of a story whereby the foal was mutilated, and the bottom line, the mare was euthenized. No IV was started nor drugs given... What can be done therefore to help facilitate the delivery....in the absence of a knowledgable vet?
Posted on Tuesday, October 17, 2000 - 06:52 am:
Problems associated with foaling are not connected with a failure of the cervix to relax, but rather with a malpresentation of the foal.
In a normal foaling, one of the foals front legs appears first, then the other front leg, and then the tip of the nose, followed by the rest of the foal. A malpresentation may be a simple one such as having a front leg back (although that too can be a major problem), or it may be a very serious problem, such as a transverse presentation, where the foal's back it facing the vagina, and it is lying crosswise in the uterus.
It is necessary to reposition the foal, and usually this is a job for a veterinarian, or an extremely experienced foaling technician only. It is necessary to put on a sterile obstetrical sleeve, lubricate one's arm, and enter the mare's vagina and uterus, identify what one is feeling (which can be very difficult), and then reposition it correctly. Not a job for an amateur!
If one suspects a problem presentation, call the vet immediately! and try and keep the mare walking until they arrive, rather than letting her lie down and continue to strain, which will merely tire the mare, and maybe make the foal's position worse. Sometimes it can be of help to stand the mare facing downhill on a very steep hill. This allows the foal to slide back into the mare somewhat in between contractions.
Sometimes nothing can be done, and the foal has to be removed in pieces from the mare. This is called a "fetotomy" and is very unpleasant for all concerned.
If one is lucky enough to have a surgical facility close, or a highly trained veterinarian, a Caesarian may be attempted, but often by that point the mare's life is in danger, and the foal is dead anyway. Because of the size of the animal, a Caesarian is not a simple operation either, and has many potential hazards.
This is why ALL foalings should be attended! Often a simple repositioning early in labour can make everything OK, whereas if it were left, you have a major problem!
Posted on Saturday, April 28, 2001 - 10:45 pm:
Hi Jos... I bought a 5 year old mare and owned her for almost two years and then I took her to a repo center where they wanted to use her for embroy transfers...when they ultra sounded her they found a calcified fetus in her left horn.In the time I had her, I did not breed her but found out that she was bred at the farm I bought her from.She never produced a foal for them and never came back in season. Once she was flushed several times and everything was put back in order, she was bred and she caught the first breeding out...She delivered a live healthy foal and on her second heat post foaling she was bred again and once again she is back in foal and is due in middle of June. She has started to make bag and it concerns me although the mare is healthy and the foal is active..I am still concerned...
what I would like to know is...what would have made her calcify with the first foal?? this is an issue that really interests me and I would like to know more.Hope to hear back from you. thank you again, for your time.
Posted on Thursday, May 10, 2001 - 04:23 pm:
Usually what happens in a situation such as this is that there was a twin pregnancy, but the second twin died early in the pregnancy and rather than having been expelled, was retained and probably enclosed to some extent by the endometrium. What this actually indicates is that this mare had a very "clean" uterus as bacteria, if present, would have caused decay.
Technically the fetus was probably what is referred to as a mummified fetus.
My mare recently gave birth to a tiny weak filly foal and a mummified second fetus. I have been told that the toxic enviroment in which the filly was in will be bad new for her future both as a racing proposition and for the general health and bones of this filly. I would appreciate any help on this topic. She is 3 days old and not out of the woods yet.
Posted on Wednesday, November 02, 2005 - 05:08 pm:
I have no answers for you, but will send you a cyber <<<hug>>>.
I do have a friend that has had a couple sets of twins over the years where although both have survived in each case at least one if not both of the foals didn't quite live up to their potential.
Hopefully she'll survive..but don't give up on her yet...it's amazing what a horse can do when they don't know they aren't supposed to be able to do it!!
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