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LULU'S STORY or PROBLEMS, PROBLEMS !

An encouraging anecdote from Carol Lines

There seemed to be so many reports of foaling problems in 2010 that I thought I would give you a tale of survival.  Incidentally we don’t seem to have any more problems than other breeds.

The months went by and I spent Christmas tramping across the deep snow to check my horses.  Fortunately someone else does haylage and breaks the ice.  The weather got better and in January I started “under the tail” checks.  I haven’t found anyone else who does this on a regular basis so early on.  It only takes a moment to lift a tail and any problems will show early on.

At 283 days I lifted her tail and found thick blobs of pus oozing from her vulva. PANIC PANIC!!  Phoned the Vet clinic and they put out a call for one of their Stud Vets.  We brought Lulu in and prepared a stable – Lulu was not best pleased.

     If any of you read “Foal Watch” in the 2010 Club Handbook you’ll know that Lulu likes to keep me waiting and she didn’t foal until 358 days.  But she also streamed colostrum for 2 days, so much that it crystallised like sugar frosting on her legs. My Vet said when she has foaled collect a couple of drops of milk to test and if necessary we’ve got frozen colostrum in a freezer – phone if you are at all worried at anytime. Ineravon Beowulf (Bear to his friends) was born at 11.30pm and he was a bit slow getting up.  His attitude seemed to be: I’ll try a bit now and if it’s too hard I’ll just go back to sleep.  I phoned the Vet in the small hours and then felt guilty because as I spoke on the phone he stood up and suckled.  

     I carefully thawed out the colostrum in a jug of warm water and tried unsuccessfully to get him to suckle.  Then I tried with a large syringe, but he wouldn’t swallow so it dribbled out of his mouth.  Then Gordon, my yard owner, who breeds a few point to point foals, suggested getting him to suck a finger.  This worked a treat - as the foal sucked his finger I slowly depressed the plunger.  We gave him a few ounces at a time until after 2 hours he’d had all of it.  IGG tests taken on Monday showed that his blood was fine.   Bet you thought that was the last of the problem!   Oh no.

    The Vet arrived and found a lot of pus in the vagina, but the cervix was closed.  Next she needed to see if the foal was alive, was he dead or asleep?  Eventually there was a little movement – phew.  She explained that this was a vaginal infection, which may have led to placentitis.  In these cases the placenta becomes thin and may not produce enough hormone to maintain the pregnancy.  If there is no abortion, the foetuses of placentitis mares may   develop quicker, so that they give birth to a normal foal early before the placenta fails..  So two weeks of Regumate and antibiotics , plus taking her temperature every day. Lulu was given a small field by herself close to the Yard and stabled at night so everyone could keep an eye on her.  A week after the antibiotics were finished, more pus. So back on antibiotics until she foaled.

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Let me introduce Lulu aka Cholderton Fortuna.  In 2006 she was successfully covered by Oakenbank Grenadier but later reabsorbed. So in 2007 she went to Grenadier again, but by AI and subsequently produced the desired filly who is now a two year old.  In 2008 she failed to take by AI to an Event stallion, so perhaps she is one of those that will not get in foal with foal-at-foot.  In 2009 we made the long journey to North Wales and she was covered by Wyevale Wot A Charmer.  This was not without a hitch, as she has almost silent seasons.  But boys know when the time is right and she was covered once.

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She was scanned not in foal but this turned out to be incorrect. She would not accept the stallion when she was next expected to be in season so a PG jab was booked.  But I asked for another scan first and YES she was in foal.  She probably ovulated late meaning that the embryo was still too small to see at what was expected to be a 16 day scan.

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  A few hours sleep for me, then at 7 am I drove to the clinic with the 2 drops of milk.  Even though it was a Sunday my Vet was already on duty, scanning a mare.  She doesn’t live at the clinic so must get hardly any sleep in the stud season.  The milk was tested – no colostrum.  I left with a bottle of frozen colostrum, baby bottle and teat.  He needed all of the colostrum if we were to avoid giving plasma by IV.

Bear had tried but had passed only a small amount of meconium.   So the Vet gave him an  enema on the Monday morning but it didn’t work.  She came back in the afternoon with a different type of enema that uses enzymes to break down the blockage.  Bear had to lie down with his bottom in the air for 15 minutes.

     So yes, lots of problems, but he SURVIVED and its all worth it.

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All pictures show

Lulu and Bear at Equifest

21st August 2010