Friday, March 16, 2007

First Arabian Horse Breeder's Foaling of the Season - Dystocia! Part 4

Patricia, this picture is especially for you!

Act Three

While waiting for the oxytocin, I decided to work on teaching this young Arabian horse (colt) how to use his mile long legs. Having had a few experiences with dummy foal syndrome it was clear that I was dealing with some aspects of that as well. The foal was bright and energetic so that was a good sign. But he was slow to respond to stimulus to rise. He was sucking on inappropriate things, he was having problems regualtion his body temperature and occassionally he had some twitching.

I learned with my very first foal that I could run my fingers down the spine (thumb on one side and rest of fingers on the other) pressing firmly. This would stimulate a newborn horse to get up. This colt is the first horse I've had born here that didn't respond well to this stimulus. That made teaching the horse to stand a challenge. Without the (horses) foal's own impulsion getting foals on their feet is practically impossible.

I had already put a blanket on the Arabian (horse) colt because he was shiviring so badly. The great thing about the blanket is it doubles as a handle. A firmly gripped handful in the middle of the back is great for helping to steady a foal and help them find their center of gravity. If you hold the (horses) newborn foals in your arms to steady them, they (horses) lean on you instead of finding their center of gravity. It takes those horses that much longer to figure out standing on their own.

I spent a considerable amount of time trying to stimulate the (horse) colt to stand. I added tickling him, scratching the top of his tail and anything annoying I could think of to make the horse want to get away from me. Annoyed enough the horse would try to get up. I then used the momentum to pull the horse to his feet by grasping blanket handle. Then I'd hold the horse by only that "handle" until the (horse) foal got his legs in the right place to support himself. The (horse) colt figured out very quickly where that right position was. Before long the young Arabian horse was standing on his own. The Arabian (horse) foal fell a couple of times and had to be helped up but once on his feet, the young Arabian horse locked into the correct position.

The next thing I knew the Arabian (horse) colt was trying to run. I wanted to teach the horse to nurse. The horse wanted to buck and play. We setteled on a compromise. The horse bucked and played all the way over to the Arabian (horse) mare. Then we tried the nursing thing.

The young horse did the usual suck the flank, the leg, grab the tail, suck my arm, everything around and near but never on the udder. I let him suck on my thumb a lot and used that to lure the colt in the right direction. I did a lot of deep breathing to help with my lack of patience. We both got through it ok. I didn't kill him for being a stupid colt and he didn't kick me for being a bossy, pushy thing. When the young Arabian horse finally did find the udder, he sucked on the side of that instead of the nipple but eventually we got it figured out.
The young horse did finally latch onto the nipple but it was hard to keep him interested since the mare's milk hadn't come in and there didn't seem to be a lot of colostrum. But there was a little and the taste of the sticky, sweet colosturm was enough that the horse didn't totally give up trying. He'd "fall" off the nipple, shake his head, stomp his foot and then grab it again. I petted on him telling him what a good boy he was and the young Arabian horse seemed to enjoy that too.

By the time we got this nursing thing really figured out, the vet's assistant showed up with the oxytocin. The Arabian (horse) mare was started on shots of oxytocin, 4cc every 30 minutes. The first shot I did by myself. By the second, I had to tie her up and barely got done. By the third injection I needed help and had to awaken Dave to get it done. Within a half hour of the last injection, the mare finally laid down due to contractions. Within 30 minutes the placenta was out. That was a huge relief. The thing we still needed was for the Arabian (horses) mare's milk to come in.

The young Arabian horse still was having problems figuring out how to get his legs working to get up, but he was rock solid once the horse got there. I couldn't knock him down if I wanted to.

The mare had been laying down for a while now with the strong contractions induced by the oxytocin and for a while the foal laid with her. The young horse must have goteen hungry because he began struggling to get to his feet. I helped the horse up and he went straight over to his mother. The horse began jumping on the (horse) mare trying to get her up so he could nurse. The Arabian (horse) mare finally gave in and got up. The youong (horse) colt went right over to nurse and I could hear the slurping that said her milk was really in. The horse slipped off the nipple for minute and looked over at me with foam milk running out both sides of his mouth and a content look on his face. One of many Kodak moments missed...........

The colt was born at 8:30 in the morning. This magic moment was at 4 in the afternoon. Finally after a long night and a gruelling delivery, all was right with our world. The colt's IgG scores came back last night. They were through the roof despite what looked to be not enough colostrum. It must have been power packed with antibodies. Gratefully, everything is going great. He's a little monster. If you haven't watched him play on camera, you're missing a great treat. When he's up, he is going non-stop and he is an incredible character, not to mention a darn nice Arabian horse.

I apologize for keeping everyone hanging. The search engines don't like really long posts I'm told, so I've been trying to stay in the guidelines. Besides, you wouldn't want me to run out of things to say, would you? Don't laugh, could happen....


  1. Happy Saint Patrick's Day! The colt looks really adorable - glad he's doing so well.

  2. LOL MiKael we are only teasing you, that is what keeps us coming back for more. You always write well informed stories that I for one can learn from.

    I remember when I first saw this baby when I went onto the cam he was running round and round his momma non stop! I got tired watching him LOL. So glad all is well.

    How many foals are you expecting this year, I know you told me but I can't remember (sign of old age)

    Stay warm


  3. Oh yes I wanted to say the nursing picture is Fabulous, we will make a great photographer of you yet! If you ever have any questions on the subject just ask away.


  4. Thanks so much for the photo!!!!

    No, Lori, she could finish her stories and I would still come back.