Wednesday, March 14, 2007

First Arabian Horse Breeder's Foaling of the Season - Dystocia! Part 2

The first part of this story beings here.

Act One

Arriving at the Arabian horse's (mare's) stall, I assessed the situation. The bulge of fluid had dropped down lower and was hanging halfway to the Arabian horse's hocks. It was clear this was dystocia (difficult birth).

By this time Dave had arrived to help. He haltered the mare (Arabian horse) while I rolled up my sleeve and put on a palpation glove (grateful I had remembered to cut all of my fingernails), grabbed the KY jelly (the none warming type for you Mare Starers who might be wondering see comedy on foal watch ) and reached inside the mare to find the foal. Unlike my unsuccessful attempt to do this last year with the Arabian twins' foaling, my arm slipped in easily. I was able to find the foal's nose, relieved that at least the horse was turned in the correct direction. I had difficulty locating the foal's (horses) feet, however, not a good sign. The Arabian foal (horse) was not in the correct position.

Feeling around I finally located the horse's first hoof. I could feel the rough texture of the gelatinous pad of the hoof bottom facing up. The (horse) foal's foot was behind and under the location of the (horse) foal's head. In the normal position the (horse) foal's feet would be emerging in front of the head with both legs under the foal's chin.

I called the vet to let him know the (horse) foal was facing the rear of the mare but upside down. He asked me to flex the first joint (fetlock) of the (horses) foal's leg to confirm the position. It definitely flexed towards the sky, The (horse) foal was upside down. The (horses) foal's nose was trying to enter the birth canal but with the (horses) foal's legs out of position behind its head they were wedged against the Arabian mare's (horses) pubic bone preventing the (horse) foal from entering the birth canal. It was going to be necessary to manually reposition the (horse) foal.

Dave was having problems controlling the Arabian (horse) mare who wouldn't lay down or stand still. Thankfully, the vet had just turned onto our street. Upon his arrival, I took over holding the (horse) mare and tried to get the (horse) Arabian mare to lay down while Jack got ready to turn the (horse) foal. Unable to convince the (horse)Arabian mare to lay down, I put her nose into the corner using the walls as a barrier to help keep her still while the vet attempted to reposition the (horse) foal.

Reaching through the birth canal into the (horses) Arabian mare's uterus, the vet located the the (horses) foal's head and both legs. Putting his arm under one of the (horses) foal's legs and grabbing onto the other leg firmly, he used leverage against the first leg to help turn the (horse) foal. He turned the (horse)foal enough to get the (horses)foal's leg into a position that he could pull it out.

Once he had the leg protruding from the (horse) mare he instructed Dave to hold it in place while Jack reached in and located the other (horses)foal's leg. Once he was able to manipulate the second (horses) foal's leg into a safe position, he pulled it out as well.
With both of the (horses) foal's legs now protruding from the (horse) Arabian mare, the men lined up the (horses) foal's legs with one leg slightly behind the other.(This puts the (horses) foal's shoulders at an angle making it easier to pass through the [horses] Arabian mare's pelvic bone.) Then Jack guided the (horses) foal's head into position resting on the legs.
At this point, the (horse) was not turned at about a 45 degree angle from where it should be, facing sideways to the right side of the mare. With the (horse) foal in this position both men began to pull with the mare's (horses) contractions, continuing to rotate the foal in the process.

The (horses) Arabian mare's contractions were very weak. It took several contractions to get the (horse) foal out even with the men assisting the (horse) Arabian mare. When (horse) foal's hips passed through the (horses) mare's pelvic bone and the last resistance within the mare, both men adjusted their positions to catch the falling (horse) foal breaking it's fall to the ground.

Finally, we had the (horse) Arabian foal safely on the ground. The little varmint (horse) popped its head up immediately and began whinnying. The tired mare (Arabian horse) turned quickly, walking over to the newborn horse nuzzling it.Dave asked what it (sex) was and we all laughed at his priorities. Jack lifted its tail and told Dave he didn't get what he ordered. It was a colt. So round one of the foaling experience was over. The vet left. Dave went to bed and MiKael, I did what I always do, I cleaned up the mess. Round two was yet to come.

To be continued....

Part 3


  1. oh my!

    what a story. Sometimes bringing foals into this world isnt easy or some births never go as planned......

    what a beauty, your foal is cute.

    teeny tiny blanket too, adorable.

  2. Hi MiKael

    I found that so interesting. I didnt know that they are turned so that they come out sideways. Your description will definitely help me if I ever have this problem. My B&W mare, Cat, had a similar problem with her last colt. She has HUGE babies anyway and his one leg and nose were protruding but the other leg was bent at the knee. The mare was struggling, getting up and laying down about half a dozen times when I decied I would need to intervene. All I could really do was pull the protruding leg as she had her contractions because there was no way I could sraighten the other leg with so much of the baby already out. After about three contractions out he popped. What a relief!!

    He looks like he is a sqirmer in that blanket LOL, I bet you are straightening it all the time!

    Do you have a name for him yet?

    Cold and miserable, rainy here today. Hope you are warming up, if not stay warm and dry.