Sunday, May 3, 2009

Foaling and Showing Rolled into One - Day 3 cont

The first thing I did when I awoke was head to the computer to check my mare. Even though our near freezing temperatures over night bought us a little time I didn't want to push this issue with Dare retaining her placenta. It always makes me nervous when we're getting anywhere near the six hour mark.

The only problem with checking the computer was the cam was again down. Frustrated with this whole scenario of the cam not being available when I needed it most I was beginning to wonder if this cam thing had even been worth it this pregnancy. About then I glanced over at my cable modem only to realize that this time IT was the culprit, not the wireless cam.

It wasn't just my modem that was down, cable for the tv was down as well. That meant it wasn't going to be anytime soon that the cam would be up and running again. So I grabbed the oxytocin and headed to the barn to do a visual inspection on my mare.

When I arrived Dare was standing there looking at me just like she had been when foaling. This time the foal was nursing on her off side and that towel was still hanging at the same height it had been two hours before. There was no getting around it the mare would have to have the oxytocin to shed the placenta.

My horses have been trained to stand still for just about anything. I do all blanketing, lots of grooming, even clipping, worming and picking their feet without the use of a halter. I hate trying to give injections by myself with a rope dangling over my shoulder anyway, but now I had a foal to get tangled too so I decided to try giving Dare her oxytocin without the aid of a halter.

The mare did look at me a bit funny when I swabbed the area with alcohol but she didn't move a muscle when I put the needle into her neck. Dare just stood there quietly as I pushed down the plunger. She did move a leg right at the very end but when I told her "Whoa!" she went back to standing. Times like this is when I really appreciate this mare. I feel guilty enough poking needles into my horses without having to deal with a horse that fights them.

Now I'd just have to wait and see if the hormone would work. If it didn't kick right into action, it would probably require a larger dose to bring about enough contractions to expel her placenta.

Oxytocin given in this manner is only good for about twenty minutes. If the desired result has not been accomplished by then, it's necessary to give another dose and it's actually more effective to give the second dose before the first has totally worn off. I think I had a total of 4 doses to administer before I would need to call my vet. I was hoping for Dare's sake only one dose would be needed.

It didn't take but a couple of minutes and the mare began showing signs of discomfort. I felt sad as I watched her lifting up her hind legs and stomping, knowing the mare was already exhausted yet now she had to endure more contractions. I guess it's that memory of my own birthing experiences that make me feel so empathetic to my mares. As I watched Dare struggling with each contraction, I'm pretty sure I winced in sympathy.

I was relieved to see that soon the towel tied to the umbilical cord - was beginning to lower. Inside of five minutes I had to adjust the knot to a higher elevation so it didn't touch the ground. I wanted to keep that weight in play in this process and get that darn placenta out as soon as possible.

As I worked on raising the towel, tying it in the now emerging placenta, I could see that about half of it was now outside the mare's body. We were making good progress. If it continued like this, Dare wouldn't need another dose of oxytocin.

Another five minutes and the other half was out. The slimy thing hit the ground. with a plop. I immediately picked it up taking it outside for inspection. If there was any evidence it hadn't all been dispelled, I'd need to call the vet as soon as possible. Since the temperatures were beginning to rise along with the sun, the risk of my mare experiencing complications from retained tissue were escalating.

I always lay the placenta flat pulling each horn out so I can see the correct shape of the uterus. That way I can distinguish it's all there. Then I like to turn it inside out and lay it out again so I can check the side that was connected to the uterine wall. I inspect for any abnormal patches that tell tissue might have been left behind.

I also check to see the tissue is still firm. A healthy placenta tells me about the breeding health of my mare. Weak spots can indicate bruising caused by the foal. Mares with bruises in their uterus have difficulty settling a pregnancy. They can also develop scar tissue from the bruising that can cause permanent issues. The sooner I know there might be a problem, the less likely I am to spend money trying to breed unbreedable mares. This is something I learned the year Scandalous foaled Legs.

My close up inspection revealed that everything was just fine. The foal was up and nursing just fine. For the first time in a week, I could quit worrying about Dare and really think about the horse show. I might actually get to watch a class or two before it was time to ride my championship class. It was time to head for the horse show.

To be continued..........

The End

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  1. Wheew...I'm tired just listening to your schedule! I can't imagine how exhausted you were!
    I hope you are getting an opportunity to rest enough to keep up with yourself now :)
    He really is handsome

  2. Glad it all came "out" well in the end, such a cute little foal!

  3. "She did move a leg right at the very end but when I told her "Whoa!" she went back to standing."

    and this is why I say to so many alone will always fail sooner or later, but training holds.

    I am sure, with your many years of experience that you have watched hard to inject horses dance around on the end of a lead but your well trained mare held still.

    Of course she is not needle phobic but it might not have been totally unreasonable for her to want to move off anyway between having a new baby, being exhausted and a little discomfort from the needle.

    Good job on the training MiKael!

  4. I read with bated breath. Thank goodness Dare is clean and safe.
    What have we named the little darling?

  5. Glad to hear everything is okay! And, as Jeanette said, that sounds like a pretty daunting schedule. By the way, my friend let me know about some deals on some Absorbine products that I figured you might want to know of: $5 off coupon. Always good to find a deal with the economy and all. Take care.