Foaling and Newborn Questions & Comments



  • sarinnesarinne Member
    edited April 24
    I'm not going to question how many litters of dogs you bred or how many puppies per litter you produced, but inevitably there will something you have to help one or two of the puppies along with in my over twenty year experience. From hard to latch on puppies to those that simply fail to thrive. I think what we've seen in all of the seasons of Foal Patrol mimics almost all mammal pregnancies and births, with the exception that these mares and foals are getting the utmost care and attention from professionals like a good dog breeder would for their pups. In the wild, it's a different story. My goodness think of all the women that died in childbirth just 100 years ago, and the advancements in medicine. I would not call Foal Patrol hard luck, but reality.
  • Alpine Sky and Colt are back from Rood and Riddles and back home at Old Tavern Farms. Thank-You Lord for answering the Prayers of their owners and followers.
  • racingfanracingfan Member
    Sadly foal patrol has reported that Alpine Sky 20 has died stating that every effort was exhausted, but there was no longer a viable option to save his life.
  • Wow, that is 2 from this year... How very sad for the owners and caretakers...
  • I know, a sad year over all for the Foal Patrol participants as Ashados filly is still having sweat Bandages on both front Legs as well as treatment for a hind hoof abscess which is being very hard to heal.
    Only somewhat normal foaling this year was Emotional Kitten though she gave us a good scare when she had severe Cramping and was hyperventilating but thankfully she was fine after the Pain meds kicked in and she and her colt have been doing fine. My condolences for both Indian Creek and Old Tavern Farm.
    One Hopeful event for Old Tavern Farm is Momento D'Oro is the last mare to foal this year, and she is in foal to Empire Maker so the circle of life goes on.
  • ZenyenZenyen Member
    edited May 4
    Scrolling through the 2020 foals thread, it seems there was an uptick this year in complicated goslings/rough starts.

    Foal Patrol seems to be an accurate microcosm of a rough year.
  • Zenyen The two foals lost were do to Colic surgery needed within the first few weeks of life, and then colicking again just days of the surgery and both had scarred intestines with no hope for a pain free and normal life.

    The 1st foal born (Magic World 20) was so big they had to basically pull him out by 5 people on Staff. He needed a special shoe to correct his windswept hind leg and has recovered nicely.

    2nd foal (New Money Honey 20) was taken by C-Section when her maiden Mom showed troubles once heavy labor began, That filly died due to Colic surgery complications after the second required surgery showed scar tissue throughout the intestines.

    3rd foal born (Ashado 20) has had continual issues with leg pain in both front legs and has had issues in both Hind legs but not at the same time. This Filly has yet to stand and walk pain free from birth and currently has sweat bandages on both front legs to help with Upright Pasterns, and a hoof pack on her right hind leg to treat an abscess which has not healed quickly at all so far.

    4th foal born (Vaulcluse 20) has had the least needed treatment but had contracted tendon on a hind leg and needed a special cast put on for the 1st week of her life, she has recovered fine and is a very nice looking foal.

    5th foal born (Alpine Sky 20) This foal in my own observations was not normal from the start. I know colts tend to be a bit slow at everything but this foal just laid there, and had a very hard time standing without Human help for almost 24 hours. Again just my own observation but he seemed thin and weak and after just 10 days was sent to Rood and Riddle having stomach pain and colic. He was returned to the Farm 10 days later and only 2 days after that died when he colicked again and surgery was not an option.

    6th and final Foal (Emotional Kitten 20) has been the only foal this season not needing any treatment or corrective care. He is a very nice looking Colt BUT his Dam had severe Cramping and tried to go into shock but thankfully the pain Meds kicked in and she was fine after about 20 minutes after birthing. This pair has been the only Normal foaling this season.
  • sarinnesarinne Member
    Zenyen said:

    Scrolling through the 2020 foals thread, it seems there was an uptick this year in complicated goslings/rough starts.

    Foal Patrol seems to be an accurate microcosm of a rough year.

    @Zenyen, I agree completely. Life. Breeding. Stuff happens.
  • racingfanracingfan Member
    Zenyen said:

    Scrolling through the 2020 foals thread, it seems there was an uptick this year in complicated goslings/rough starts.

    Foal Patrol seems to be an accurate microcosm of a rough year.

    @Zenyen, thats a fairly accurate summary of this year but as @sarinne says these things happen and in many ways it very good that the general public learns that its not all fluffy foals and pretty mares. As any horse or animal breeder knows these things happen and to be honest although the loss of the two foals and a mare c- in a small group of mares was hard, none of the other foal/mare issues were/are particularily dramatic, unsual or uncommon but may appear so to the layman
  • edited May 8
    Emotional Kitten20 now sports sweat wraps on both front legs for Pastern issues. I may be untrained in the processes done to TB foals but I just wonder if you have to Force a foals legs to grow right by sweats and special shoes etc what is causing all these things to be needed so often. Foals this year (not only on Foal Patrol) have been very large and causing harsh and hard labor. Major pulling by staff to get a foal out before complications. From Draft Horse Mares to Miniature Horses I have seen very large size foals and a need for intervention to get the foals out alive.
  • racingfanracingfan Member
    @AllZensonTrack, I think there may be a number of issues going on here which are subtly interconnected. In this subset of foals with Magical World 20 leading the way, the foals appear larger and as you say this is appearing in other groups. This may be related to the mares going significantly over time as inducing mares is not advisable due to the high risk involved.

    Surprisinly there are very few scientific studies which address the causes of prlonged gestation in equines and its causes and effects. What combination of factors leads to this result is therefore difficult to ascertain here, but with anything you leave to grow the bigger it generally becomes!

    This leads to your other observation regarding conformational abnormalities. If the foal is large, and uterus size finite then you will commonly see what are known as angular limb deformities or ALD, simply because the growing foal has to fit into the available space and usually its the legs(but not always) that get contorted to fit resulting in the ALD. This was certainly the case of Magical World20 and his windswept leg. Fortunately as we have seen, these foals have been relatively easy to correct with minimal and non invasive proceedures such as wrapping the legs to relax them or corrective shoeing.

    Correcting ALD is done as early as possible in the foals lives as this is when the best results are achieved and most have a very succesful outcome requiring no further treatment. Apart from the obvious welfare issue to assure soundness in later life, there is also an economic aspect as a number of these foals will be sold as yearlings and will command a better price than one percieved to have less than perfect conformation
  • edited May 9
    Thanks Racingfan.
    Any thoughts on what else will cause the large birth size as most of the Draft Mares(Gypsy Vanners) actually foaled early but had foals the same size as a normal term foal would be. Watched one Miniature mare go way beyond her speculated Due date had a filly half the height of her Dam at birth while a 2nd mare on that farm shocked them big time by foaling 30 days early from the due date. The foal was fine and except for looking like a 11 month gestation size foal with little fur on muzzle and limbs, was a successful birth. I'm kind of wondering if our weird winters and having green grass in the pastures almost year long may have something to do with it too. I'm just glad that all mares have foaled and though sadly we lost two from intestinal issues we have so many other healthy foals. It is interesting to see all that can be done to correct those little limbs to assure a sound horse down the road.
  • racingfanracingfan Member
    It is known that larger mares tend to deliver larger foals and that a mare’s first foal may be somewhat smaller than her later foals. A study conducted in Brazil looked at a number of maternal, paternal, and placental characteristics that might be related to foal size, newborn vitality, and status at 30 days of age in 18 Mangalarga Paulista and 20 Brazilian Sport Horses.

    For each foal researchers recorded the sire’s height, weight, and thoracic perimeter, as well as dam’s height, weight, post-partum thoracic perimeter, age, length of gestation, and parity (whether the foal was the mare’s first, second, and so on). Umbilical cord length and placental weight were also recorded. Data for foals included height, weight, and thoracic perimeter at birth and at 7 and 30 days of age; Apgar score (a measure of overall neurologic and physiologic status) at 3 and 60 minutes after birth; time to stand and nurse; and time before passing meconium.

    Analysis of data showed that bigger, older, and multifoaled mares had larger foals than smaller, younger mares foaling for the first time. The foals from larger mares were taller and heavier and had greater thoracic perimeters at birth and also at 7 and 30 days of age. Older and multifoaled mares also produced heavier placentas, which is possibly related to the better ability of these mares to allow the uterus to expand during pregnancy. Fetal nutrition is provided by the placenta, and a small or poorly developed placenta may be less able to deliver nutrients and support fetal growth.

    There were no significant relationships between sire characteristics and neonatal foal characteristics for the horses in this study.

    In foals, higher Apgar scores were correlated with standing and nursing soon after birth. Heavier placentas were also correlated with foals that stood and nursed quickly. Foals born after unusually long gestation periods had lower Apgar scores and took longer to stand and nurse.

    In this study, maternal thoracic perimeter was one of the most important factors in foal weight and size. If all other factors are equal, then choosing a large-barreled mare that has had several foals might be a better option than using a smaller mare for breeding if a large foal is considered desirable.

    However there really is not that much literature on the subject and as such its difficult to draw definitive conclusions. An Australian study on thoroughbred birth weight used foaling data from 348 Thoroughbred foals born on a commercial stud and analysed the data to investigate interrelationships among mare age, gestation length, foal sex, placental weight, and foal birth weight. Over the range of gestation lengths observed, gestation length was not significantly associated with foal birth weight. The study concluded that, in populations represented by the study population, either placental weights up to 6.5 kg are rate-limiting for foal birth weight or placental weight increases with foal birth weight up to this threshold. However, further increases in placental weight are not associated with additional increases in foal birth weight. Age is not directly related to foal birth weight and gestation length is not strongly associated with foal birth weight.
  • Wow, thanks for posting all that. It was an interesting read and study. I don't see any study done on the effects of richer Higher protein feeds fed and my experience with dog breeding with a breed often needing C-sections to have live pups and healthy Mom if pups grew to big in the womb. In dogs they found that the higher protein diet fed while in whelp caused the growth of the pups to increase their size causing a much higher rate of dystocia and requiring a C-section. I still wonder if the large foals this year in Maiden Mare especially is because today's Horse feed is higher in proteins, and add on to that, the fact in a Normal winter pattern in the USA the Green Kentucky Blue grass dies to dead brown and low Protein value Grass and slowly returns to its lush rich protein value green grass mid spring, early Summer when foals are starting to be weaned. For several years now the winters here have been very very mild and the Grass has not died down at all which means the Nutrition Values are more like early Summer year round. Thus the Mares are eating higher protein grass throughout their gestation and causing larger foals to develop in utero. Just something for thoughts as a horse eating a large amount of fresh green grasses in Spring was a major cause of Colic when I had my Ponies and horses. The stable actually monitored how long you turned your horse out to graze and made you bring them in after just 15 minutes in early Spring to avoid Colic. By Mid Spring Early summer the grass was at it's normal Values and the Horses and ponies could graze all day and night without any problems.
  • racingfanracingfan Member
    Heres a little more information about why spring grass can result in colic and other issues. New spring grass is typically high in particular nutrients called fructans which a horse’s digestive tract is unaccustomed to after a long winter on hay and which can be hard on the hindgut. As a result, the equine digestive system needs to be slowly conditioned to handle hours of grazing green pasture grass.

    “Fructans” in grass are fructose chain molecules, which are a type of sugar. This sugar is a byproduct of photosynthesis and is used to aid plant growth. On sunny days, fructose is produced in large quantities and stored within the blade of grass. When it cools off at night, these fructans are then utilized as fuel for growth.

    Fructans are higher in the seasons when the weather is cool: Such as spring and autumn. They are still present during hot summers, but not usually at levels that can be dangerous.

    They are higher in stressed pastures than in lush grass. They are higher when night-time temperatures are low because grasses do not grow at low temperatures so the excess remains stored in the stems.

    Fructans are low in new spring grass (first 3-6 inches), but higher in mature grass (8-10 inches). They are also lower in the morning when days are sunny and nights warm, but higher in the afternoon/evening on a sunny day but also lower in rainy, wet weather.

    How Do Fructans Affect Horses? Because fructans are a non-structural carbohydrate, horses cannot digest them. Therefore, fructans must be broken down by the microorganisms in the equine hindgut first so that they can be absorbed. Because they are a type of sugar, horses love to eat grasses that are high in fructans.

    Horses that are unaccustomed to grass turnout, that have been on hay all winter, or that are already prone to colic and laminitis can have their digestive tracts upset easily by high levels of fructans. Here’s how it works:

    The types of microorganisms in a horse’s hindgut vary according to the types of food it eats. When a horse is suddenly put out on pasture after a winter of hay, the microorganisms aren’t equipped to digest the high levels of fructans, and the bacteria die. When the good bacteria dies off, the acidity of the hindgut is raised (lactic acid is produced) and harmful pathogens are released. The lactic acid and pathogens are absorbed into the bloodstream and are known causes of laminitis.

    When the acidity level of the hindgut increases quickly as it is prone to do when fructans are high, the horse can also colic typically a gassy colic.

    The key is to build up time on grass slowly. For all horses that have subsisted on hay all winter, pasture time should be increased incrementally over a period of weeks. Horses with a higher tolerance may be able to start out with a longer time initially, while horses particularly prone to issues may need to start at less.

    Alternatively, if you have a horse that lives out 24-7 it is prudent to bring it in off grass for part of the day when grass is newly growing and fructan levels are high. Because fructan levels reach their highest in the afternoon on sunny days, it’s best to turnout in the morning or late at night.

    Fructans levels are higher in pastures that are overgrazed or where grass is too mature. Rotate pastures to give them a break, and keep them mowed to 4-8 inches.

    Hopefully @AllZensonTrack this will give you a bit more background to the relationship betwen spring grass and colic
  • sarinnesarinne Member
    Thanks for that info, @racingfan, very illuminating. iME, in relation to this topic, bitches that are fed a diet high in carbohydrates (and not protein) produce (grow) larger puppies (especially in smaller litters). That seems to coincide with what you are saying about the spring grass and colic, particularly in freshly foaled mares. However I will say I had an Irish setter bitch that had a singleton and a litter of two (and that's all sadly). She was fed and cared for appropriately during gestation and the singleton was a monster sized puppy for an Irish setter at 22 oz. The twins were both 19 oz each. So you also have to equate growing room in a dog's uterus (unlike a mare) when looking at from this perspective, as that bitch's granddam, dam and her daughter had normal sized litters for irish that weighed 14 to 17 oz. Thankfully Nami was an easy whelper and got those big babies out with only a minimal of difficulty. Speaking of placentas, remarkably in dogs when they have very large sized litters (I'm talking of my girls having 14, 13 and 15 respectively -- granddaughters of Nami, go figure), at any rate, there are often puppies that fail to thrive just because of poor implantation sites because they are so smashed in there. I am curious if studies have ever been made in mares and foals about healthy foals due to simply the site of the placenta (since you mentioned the weight of the placenta). Obviously placenta previa and placenta accreda are special circumstances. I've delivered huge litters where puppies didn't make it past embryo simply because they didn't have a place in the uterus to implant.

    Okay enough of me, just some questions I had about mares in addition to what you already addressed. Thank you for your time. :)
  • racingfanracingfan Member
    I am not sure it so easy to compare bitches and mares since due poor nutrient transport through the six layers of the placenta which separates fetal and maternal circulation, only one fetus can normally be supported, so implantation site is not normally a factor.

    Early in gestation, between roughly day 12 and 15, the equine embryo is round and moves freely throughout the lumen of both uterine horns in response to uterine contractions. At approximately day 16 of gestation, a combination of an enlarged embryo and increased uterine tone leads to the embryo becoming fixed in one spot within the uterus. This process, appropriately enough, is called fixation. As far as I know remember, the equine placenta is classified as diffuse as it involves the entire surface of the chorioallantois except for a small area adjacent to the cervix called the "cervical star", where attachment cannot occur.
  • Again I must Thank @racingfan for all the awesome learning tools, I always had to board my horses so never really knew just WHY we were to time our horses on the spring grass pasture.
    @sarinne- When raising GSD the connection with Protein levels definitely had results of more C-sections due to dystocia. In my Cardigan Welsh Corgis it was very very obvious as the food fed was the same brand just higher Protein levels not Carbs. But we are talking 15+ years ago. :)
  • A few Foal Patrol foals from 2019 Being offered at the Keeneland Sept Yearling sales

    Hip 0386 Tapit X Silver Colors The colt that stayed Chestnut and is of Winning Colors lineage will be offered at Keeneland sales in Session 2

    Hip 1307 Malibu Moon X Comme Chez Soi The last years Foal Patrol mare's filly will be offered at Keeneland sales in Session 5

    Hip 2027 Ghostzapper X Viva Sheila Filly was RNA at her last sale as a weanling she will be offered at Keeneland sales Session 7
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