Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Reflections of Foaling Season 2006 - The Twins Part 9

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8

I can’t believe I actually thought I was going to sleep that night. After the twin Arabian foals had consumed my life for almost a week now, 24-7, there was no way I could turn off my radar. As much as I needed the sleep I laid in that darn bed tossing and turning worrying about them. Even though the docs had called me that evening to tell me they were all doing fine, I just couldn’t let down. I missed them. I worried about them. I spent yet another sleepless night over them.

By morning I finally fell asleep only to have the phone wake me. It was the hospital and my first thoughts were panic. However, it was good news. The IGG scores on both foals were now well over 1500, almost double what they had been on the first test. And even more surprising, the filly’s and the colt’s were the same. This infection had not compromised her body’s ability to absorb the precious antibodies provided by the mare’s colostrum. So the blood transfusion was off. Surprise was no longer a good candidate for it. Her body didn’t need the extra help.

Each foal had been weighed again. They had both gained a pound over night. The docs had not expected them to gain anything the first day because of the stress of moving, all the tests etc. So gaining a pound was considered to be a bonus. Overall the report was well and good except that Vee had a little diarrhea they were concerned about. I figured it was just the change in feed and that she’s adjust quickly.

Surprise still had a slight temperature but nothing alarming. Her umbilicus actually shrunk down a little but they were still planning on another ultra-sound that afternoon. The only other problem they foresaw was that they were all getting so attached they weren’t sure they were ever going to want to release them.

The twins were doing so well, and it had been a beautiful Sunday morning, they had even put them out into a small paddock for a while. The twins loved it but the mare became very stressed and so they took them back inside. Vee was not happy with her babies going off in different directions. Her babies were pretty pleased with themselves that they could torture mom so. It was not a good combination. Their brief taste of freedom only lasted ten minutes. And I MISSED it!!

I was still trying to figure out exactly what the docs at Pilchuck had in store for her. I asked a boatload of questions. From what I could tell the plan, as long as Surprise was responding to the meds, was to keep her on the two different antibiotics for a month. Then they would take her off the antibiotics, ultrasound the umbilicus again and watch and wait. They expected her illness to return and they would repeat the course of treatment. They would repeat this process over and over until she was big enough to withstand the surgery. When that would be was unknown, it would depend on her growth and health.

There was the possibility that the leaking umbilicus would heal up on its own and not require a resection. The docs considered that to be a highly unlikely outcome. The odds were against us.

The other “little” hitch to this plan was they wanted her to stay in intensive care the entire time. There was no way I could afford that expense. I was going to have to be her intensive care unit. I told them the twins would stay there until they were sure her condition was stabilized, and then the twins would have to come home.

The docs explained the risks of bringing her home as well as the huge responsibility her care would be. Aside from the medications, dressing changes, and caring for the port, there was monitoring food intake and output, behavior, temperature etc. I reminded them I had been monitoring all of those things in the first place. That is why the filly had arrived at the hospital in the good condition she had. I definitely felt I had proven I could function quite successfully as her intensive care unit. All I needed was the supplies and good instructions. This was the only way I would be able to have the money to do the surgery at a later date.

At this point Dr Gillette went to bat for me. He told all of us that he really hadn’t expected either foal to survive. The condition they were in right after their birth, he expected the filly to be dead by morning and the colt to follow soon after. With the kind of diligence he had seen in their care, he was positive that I was up to the task of caring for the twins at home. He would commit to backing me up for whatever medical care might be necessary.

By the next morning (Sunday), Surprise had gained 2 pound and her brother 3. The swelling in her umbilicus had shrunk even further. The liver enzymes were lower but still not normal. She was even brighter than she had been the day before and no longer showing outward signs of being sick at all. So it was decided, if everything continued to improve, the twins would come home Tuesday morning after rounds.

This picture of the twins is at about 3 months of age. I did't take that many pics of them as new babies and have run out of new pics for you to see of them then.

To be continued...
Part 10

You can see the Scandalous Trouble and Scandalous Surprise live on their webcam through Mare Stare . This is a hosting site for webcams of mare owners. They have a calendar telling when mares are due to foal and then lots of individual webcams. If you've never experienced a mare foal like EveryRider then Mare Stare is the perfect place to be. The people are great, the cams stay up great (if mine is down it's unsually MY fault!)

I, also want to thank DressageMom and
Prophotbylori for being regular readers of my blog> I've really appreciated their feedback and support. Check out their blogs. Both do a great job.


  1. I love this pic with the baby's head resting on your legs. Well done on your diligence, it is very rewarding when it pays off.

    I am constantly saying to myself, I really must love these horses to put myself through the torture I do each day to take care of them all by myself LOL. And I do. That is why it is so hard to let any of them go. My husband says it would be easier to adopt a child than to buy a horse from me!!

    Wish you were closer, I have a feeling we would share a lot of the same views and stories.

    Looking forward to tomorrow's episode and that your hand is getting better.

  2. Did you notice that Trouble is untying my shoes? They're both really good at that trick.

    My hand is getting better by the day but still don't seem to be able to work with the horses yet. I'm suffering from withdrawal. I get really crabby when I don't get enough horse time.

  3. I have tired to use Mare Stare, but have yet to find a web cam shot that is working. Yours doesn't work either! Maybe it's me... or my computer.

  4. Well, sometimes you can't view the cams because of Activex. Go to Mare Stare on this Troubleshooting Cams page. There are directions there on how to solve he Activex issues. I had those things at the start to.

  5. My trouble shooting link doesn't work. I've made a correction. Try this. Troubleshooting Cams

  6. what a great picture!

    Twins! oh my, I just read this one post about them, now I have to go back and read the entire story.

    It certainly sounds like you had a workout last foaling season.

    I hope you get more time w/ your horses, especially in the saddle. DT's from lack of riding are NO FUN.