MissMotherNature

Foaling Gone Wrong

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I had a mare foal Saturday morning. Mare is leased out and I was not present. When they found the mare she was still down and the baby was out but appeared to have been breach and the foal was not alive. They said the mare seemed stressed and they felt something was not right so they called the vet to get out there. They mare got up and as soon as she stood up she hit the ground and died.

The vet didn't make it out until this had already occurred. The vet felt that she had likely ruptured a artery in her uterus.

I was asked to share this from the health forum. Many out there do not take breeding very seriously and do not really understand the chance that something could go wrong. When things do go wrong they usually go wrong fast and before a vet can even get there as in this case for my mare. Vet got there 30 minutes from being called but the mare was already gone and in her case with a uterine artery ruptured there was nothing that could have done to prevent or help her after it had happened.

So anyone out there just wanting to breed their favorite mare to get a foal please really think things out well. Make sure when you make the decision for that mare to conceive a foal you are willing to risk her life. Foaling does not always end in cute little noses and wobbly legged foals sometimes instead you are calling for someone to haul away a little foal, mare or in my case a mare AND foal. For me breeding my personal mares is just not worth it, I care about them to much.

(sorry for all punctuation and grammar errors I do not have time to go over it)

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:notworthy: i cant thank you enough for sharing this gut wrenching story in hopes to hopefully save someone else from this pain. you, your mare and poor little foal are in my thoughts and prayers. :huggy::angel3:

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Mmn, I'm sorry for your loss. Truly.

Would it be possible for more people who have had the unfortunate outcomes of breeding to share their stories? I used to be of the mind set of "that doesn't happen, that's only to scare you, or that's a 1:100 chance it won't be me!' And I would like others who have the same mindset to really realize that breeding is no game.

Again mmn I am so sorry for your loss. I really do hope that others learn from this.

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As a breeder I feel for you and your loss, my deepest sympathies.

Yes a lot of time people dont post when things go wrong but simple fact is they can and do. I lost a foal to a red bag birth last year, also something that happens so fast that no time or chance to call a vet or if a vet could make it out it would and was too late. I'd say though that the majority of foalings do go well and uneventful but Breeding is a high risk and not to be taken lightly or unprepared.

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Thank you Burgundy she will be missed.

Sly I agree with you. I have had several uneventful foalings but then again a few that didn't turn out textbook. I just think that many take breeding to lightly. I worked at a breeding farm last year and saw first hand what happens when foaling goes wrong. We had a few that didn't turn out right and that was with a vet at every foaling. For seeming so strong horses can be so fragile at times.

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Statistically about 98% of mares foal without problems or only minor ones that they either "fix" themselves or can be fixed with a bit of help. The other 2%....when horses get in trouble foaling they get into big trouble fast. The result is often a dead foal and sometimes a dead mare.

With over 30 years of breeding I've been fortunate and had only a few problems. Two red bags, one of which lived for several days but also had blood type problems with mares colostrum (4th breeding to same stallion) and died before we could do an exchange transfusion. The other red bag occured during the night without warning and the foal obviously didn't survive. The other problem foaling I had was a bad foal position and I was incredibly lucky....saw the mare down in the pasture from the house and noted odd behavior. Ran out to check on her and she was obviously foaling...ok....just waited and when membranes appeared all looked good...except no front feet, just a nose. Broke membranes and peeled off my sweatshirt to get my arm as far as possible and was able to rearrange the baby enough to get him delivered. Mare of course was contaminated and on antibiotics afterward...cleaned up well and went on to have further foals in her future without problems. That foal did fine, except that for the first 6 months or so of his life he probably thought his name was "D a mm it".

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There is no doubt in my mind that Breeding, foaling and the like is best left of Professional Horseman who have years of correct "Hands On" knowledge. To many times I have encountered novices trying to obtain knowledge in breeding by,"hit and miss" and ultimately the Horses that we Love so very much suffer because of their inexperience.

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Wow! I'm sorry to hear about the foals lost. A few years back me and my sisters bought our first horses. They were ex-PMU mares Belgian/QH, all bred to a Belgian/QH stallion. We knew nothing about foaling and when one of the foals got scours we tried to treat him like we would our calves. It didn't work and we lost him at one month old. My family tends to be the kind of people that say, "We can do ourselves!" And we don't call the vet out unless we have to. :rolleye0014: I really want to break out of that thinking.

Last year I had my beautiful filly bred to a paint stallion. I wanted another riding horse and loved the girl's attitude. I was just getting all excited about it and then on the last day of deer hunting season some hunters shot her. It was after dark, on posted land, and they shot out of a truck (all of those being illegal), I won't get my foal this year. So it's not just keeping the mare and foal safe during and after birth. I will be looking into putting up more signs on our land and maybe getting an orange blanket for my riding horse.

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I am sorry you went through this, I am glad you shared.. I dont believe in breeding just cause one can.. in fact anyone including my mother will tell you i am a firm believer that breeding is not even an option. I actually talked my Mom into saving up for a baby versus getting a mare and stud.. she loved having babies when her and her roomie bred TB's.. but she has come to see there is more risk than reward.. and has opted in a few years she is getting herself a foal.

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I've been breeding for 15 years and the more knowledge I gain, the scarier it gets!

I had one bad year...and not with just one mare. All **** broke loose here last spring. I would share my stories...but I think it would probably be too graphic for some, and I refuse to leave out details because I believe people should KNOW what can happen before they breed.

I knew. I attended courses on Equine Reproduction and I researched.

I took the risks, and I still wasn't prepared for the horror I witnessed last spring. I still feel guilty about the way my mare died. Everyone says it wasn't my fault...but 'I' chose to breed her. All of my mares remained open last spring and I'm still debating whether or not I'll leave them open again this year.

Research. Research until you can't research anymore...and then research some more. Go in it knowing you could lose that mare you love so much before you make your decision.

And if you still choose to go ahead with it? I cross my fingers for you & truly wish you the best of luck!

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Sorry Miss!

One of my friends bred a mare several times trying to get a baby out of her. They only bred her once a year (well, bred several times during heat cycle, but only one heat cycle a year), so it took 3 years but she was finally confirmed in foal. Foal was born healthy. At 2 weeks old, the mare was eating grain and the foal was behind her walking around. Mare kicked out at foal and sent half of the foal's cannon bone out of the front of her hock. Very, VERY sad.

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Hate to hear about that Miss...

I saw this topic and was kinda afraid to read it because I was already paranoid...My mare is in foal too... It was an accidental breeding although she had a foal before by the same stallion and everything went fine... Still scares me tho.

When I had horses before I had a stallion and mares..just was too afraid to risk breeding.. so many things can happen even after the birth. When I was young we lost a shetland foal to a mule not being aware the mule would strangle it. Guess the foal ventured too close to the neighbors fence and he got her.

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I was like that too, I really have tried to gain all the knowledge possible because my mare is in foal we have 9 days to go. I have 2 vets lined up, I am boarding with a wonderful bo who has over 30 years experience with horses. She also worked at a virginia breeding farm for 10 years helping with the foals and colts and experienced alot of births. I still worry. Sweetie has had a foal 3 years ago same stallion(mine and he is now gelded) without any problems. Thank god my girl got big hips, she is everything to me. We will be keeping this foal regardless though the bo says if i sell she will buy the baby.

This will be the last one, I can't handle the stress.

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Some years back one of our boarders mares went

into labor. It was early on a warm Friday night which made us

all excited because my, at the time, 10 year old daughter

wanted to experience a foal being born but they

always seemed to do it in the middle of the night on a school

night so she would always miss it. So I sat her up a chair

right outside the mares stall. My daughter was

SOOO excited to witness this. I reminded the owner several times

to make sure that she checks with her vet to see

who is on call nights and to let them know

when she is close. When I called to tell her that her mares

water broke I asked if she wanted me to call the vet

for her to let them know to be on stand by. She says

no my mare has had many foals and never needed

a vet. So me being the stable owner I felt that it was

important that a vet knew we were foaling I went ahead

and put a call into my vet. Unfortunately he was out

of state and they didn't have anyone on stand by.

Anyways the owner arrives about 10 min after the mares

water brakes and we sit quietly and prepare for the miracle of

life. The mare is getting up and down with her discomfort. About

10 to 15 more min go by and I start to notice that this

mare is starting to get up and lay down almost in a violent

fashion. I ask the owner if this was normal for this

mare and she reassured me that it is. We are about a half hour

into this now and I start getting nervous for this mare and baby.

45 min and still nothing. I go into check her for any sign of feet, bag anything? The mare is still getting up and down violently. I tell the owner that she needs to phone her vet she says I don't have

his number!!! Now were over an hour into this and I'm distraught at

this point. This poor mare was in so much pain. I still don't see the owner calling for anyone. I then see the red bag hanging

and still no feet or face. I tell my daughter to go in the house

I knew this wasn't going to end well. I got my gloves out and had hubby bring her a **** phone book

to find a vet. While she is trying to locate a vet I'm almost armpit

deep trying to turn this baby. I could feel what turned out to

be the foals chest. She was transverse. I tried to grab front legs but there was no way. The horse was exhausted

and clearly in shock. She was unable to reach a vet. I tell her call the Emergency vet that's about 45 min away and I will hook up and

get her there. The owner simply says oh she won't

load. I at this point scream at her that she is going

to lose the mare if we don't haul her. The owner

then says "wont it be bad for the baby to travel"? R u kidding me!!!!??

Needless to say the filly died and it took 8 thousand dollars to

save the mare. I was devastated and pissed. It takes more than

money to breed successfully. Do your research!! Apparently the lack of knowledge and sorry, but the absolutle cluelessness ended up costing the owner well over 18000 with

the vet bills and a $10,000 dollar stud fee. $10,000??????? oh my holy ****. Come to find out it was a kid clu foal. Would have been

one of his last foals since he died an timely death. My daughter still to this day is to scared to watch in fear of this happening again.

Sorry long post it just gets my blood boiling when I think about it.

Edited by JustinBoots

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I am so Sorry for all the losses on here, it is so SAD. I have a 10 yr old Registered Arabian Mare and everyone keeps asking me if I am going to breed her. I will NOT, I do not know near enough to even think about it. And I love my girl so much I could not imagine losing her nevermind a baby. I am not against people breeding when they know what they are doing, and not just doing it for the money. And things happen that are out of one's control.

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I had a similar issue this year. I bought a mare in October already in foal. I had been after this mare for a year. She had a very difficult delivery due to a huge colt that was stuck. I gave her banamine and left the stall so she could bond. He nursed, pooped, and all the normal things for a colt. Then at 6 hours post foaling, she started acting like she was in labor again. Got her loaded and hauled into the vet clinic to be checked...she stepped out of the trailer and fell over dead. Torn uterine artery was the diagnosis.

The colt is fine and thriving. At a week old a nurse mare was located, her foal was stillborn.

Now I am preparing for my buckskin I bought in foal to foal. She is maiden.

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I know this is an old post, but it peaked my interest and I had to share my story, too.

I bred my first horse, Goldie (my HC namesake), twice. In 2004 her first foal was born full-term but was stillborn. She had a rough labor. She ended up with nerve damage from having such a hard labor/delivery. She had a perfect pregnancy and we did everything we were supposed to. It just didn't make sense. The vet said she might never fully recover from the nerve damage. Amazingly enough, I followed the vet's recommendations for exercising her and within 6 months she was fully healed. She was depressed after losing her foal and had a hard time when she went to vet soon after she foaled when she saw a silhouette of a mare and foal on the wall (she kept nickering to the foal silhouette). She always loved the foals around the farm. She had to have a levage (sp?) done at the vet clinic to get the rest of the placenta flushed out.

I tried one more time to get a healthy foal out of Goldie (with a different stud). Again, a perfect pregnancy. This time, she had a quick easy delivery (full-term again)) and had what appeared to be a healthy filly. Her filly Harmony was adorable and sweet and Goldie loved her. Goldie was not letting Harmony nurse right away, though, so we had to help with that. However, the day Harmony was born it was unseasonably hot in northern Minnesota and Harmony got heat stroke and we had to trailerGoldie and her to the vet when Harmony was acting lethargic.. The vet was not able to save her. :( She passed away on her own at 6 days old at the vet clinic when no emergency treatments were able to make a difference. We were about to have to make the hard decision to put her to sleep that day, so it was almost a blessing that she made that decision on her own so there were no "what ifs" if we had to make that hard decision. Goldie was thankfully healthy after that pregnancy, but I decided after two strikes against Goldie with her foals, that there must be something wrong with Goldie that made her unable to give birth to a healthy foal. I still feel like Harmony was possibly a dummy foal, but my vet did not think so.

Anyway, even though Goldie did not get her healthy foal who survived, we did have a happy ending finally two years after Harmony was born and passed away. I bought a 10 month pregnant mare and a month later, she had a healthy filly. She had the foal out in the pasture with Goldie (the mares got along really well) and Goldie was like the adoptive mom of the filly (I named her "Remedy" for obvious reason). Remedy seemed more attached to Goldie than to her own mom. She was always with Goldie except when she needed the milk bar, lol. Goldie loved Remedy so much and vice versa! And I was so happy to finally get a happy ending for me after all my years of planning to raise a foal...

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The thing to bear in mind is that normal equine hard labor lasts about 20 minutes.

So when things go wrong - they really do go wrong very quickly indeed. And as mares can, to a degree, control the onset of hard labor, it's not just a "murphy's law" thing that they'll wait until you aren't watching. Humans are predators and their instinct is not to foal with a predator around. So, if you're going to breed, please set up a foaling camera - the only thing you need is a cheap CCTV camera from Walmart (these are also great for keeping an eye on horses that are being hauled). It can make all the difference.

And, for the love of Epona, get a full repro exam done on your mare first...and listen to what the vet said. I know somebody who had a lovely TB mare - really nice animal, but she had the hips of a gelding and very little depth behind the girth. The vet said not to breed her, the owner ignored him. Thankfully, both mare and foal survived a very difficult delivery, but the foal was stunted and ended up more than a hand shorter than both parents. She got lucky - she could easily have lost both of them. I'm no breeding expert, but when somebody told me the mare had been bred I was like "By what idiot" - you couldn't tell this horse was a mare at all without looking at her genitals. She just wasn't built to foal. Gorgeous mare, good performance record, beautiful temperament, worth breeding by every measure but that one.

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