Unexpected foal

A somewhat long story. I bought a Tb mare in December who was actively racing.
Turned out she had an entrapped epiglottis and she had surgery in February.
It reentrapped. She was scheduled for another procedure March 24. Because of this we were not doing much with her.
March 23, she wouldn’t come to the gate to come in for breakfast. Because she had had a baby. With her turnout sheet on. In the field. The baby was early and fell in the creek. Hours later when the vet made it her temp was still 91. She weighed 44#
We dried her. She kept fighting. She was trying to be alive when she should not be. We ended up going to OSU. The mare retained some placenta and had had placintitis.
I called the old owner. They had tried to breed her. Said her cover date was March 23. There was a discrepancy about whether they bred her again. Originally said yes. Then no.
After almost two weeks at osu they are back here and well to say the least this is a lot to deal with. The mare isn’t the best mom, gets irritated at baby nursing sometimes. Has been on trazadone for anxiety.
Mostly, could use some positive thoughts and success stories if you have any.


Pain with nursing might be an issue. So try things that help with milk let down. I had Guinness suggested to me. There are hormone shots that might help. Mostly, just keep working with them until they figure it out.

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Try thoroughly cleaning her udder and inbetween her teats. We used Banamine on a maiden mare and a massage therapist to help her through some pain of a full udder and new foal. You could try some Rescue Remedy or other homeopathic relaxation remedies to help. Good luck - so sorry about all the problems but glad the little foal made it! Can you get papers?

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What a heartbreak. As my favourate and now retired vet once told me, “Sometimes, they surprise you, and live”. Good luck.

We missed twins on ultrasound. The mare got sick around Christmas, colic. Leaked milk. Produced one dead foal, mummified, everything infected. The other one, which was basically a live abortion at term, was “the small one”, and was alive. I don’t know how. Ears were down, like lop ears, a sure sign of dismaturity. She immediately was septic, of course. But got up, and sucked. Joint ill, septic joints evident. My vet at the time suggested putting her down. But she kept getting up, and sucking, and nickering to me each time I came to the stall. She went onto antibiotics, injected twice a day, pain killers, anti inflammatory drugs. She kept getting up, getting around the stall, sucking milk, and talking to me, as I came in with her injections. Vet said she’s going to die, we should put her down now. I said, “We can put her down tomorrow”. This went on. Foal was cheery, not normal, but positive about life. Though her joints were infected, her lungs and gut remained healthy. She’s 14 years old now. She’s a pasture ornament only. She has arthritic issues, hocks, knees, and who knows what else. Her deformities should be in a textbook. But is always cheerful, happy with her friends and family, canters around with the herd, always easy to handle. Bosses around other horses below her socially. Just a pet. I can always put her down tomorrow. So far, she’s a toughie, and a survivor.

The moral of the story is, things don’t always go the way you or your vet think they might. Sometimes, they surprise you, and live.


Oh, think how sad you would be if the foal died in the ditch. I saw this happen with a surprise foal 40 years ago in my first riding life. Born perfect fell into a ditch died before anyone saw it. Everyone felt awful. I am so glad you saved the foal.

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wow, what a story and emotional roller coaster.

In 2016 I had a maiden mare with undiagnosed placentitis foal a premature filly (day 318). She was red bag, dummy foal, and like Nancy’s, had lop ears. She couldn’t stand unassisted, very lax and windswept, and had lung, bladder and eye problems among other things. The state vet hospital estimated she had a 15% chance of survival, but that filly fought for it. We had several ups and downs and she spent the first several weeks at the university ICU and required a lot of care when she eventually came home to stay.

She’s 5yo this year, lightly started under saddle, and fancy – other than being smaller than her genes would suggest, and a bit of a slow-to-mature type, she’s lovely. Due to her early care regimen, she’s like an orphan foal socially, complete with lack of personal boundaries.
From talking to others (vets and breeders), I’ve been told several times that fillies are fighters and will often pull through when odds look dismal.

So, sending you lots of Jingles from NC, and wish you and your brave filly all the best luck there is.


No advice to offer, but jingles for little filly and your mare. I hope she continues to fight.

Wow! 44 pounds is so tiny! Wishing her the best! Keep fighting girl!
I had a customer’s mare come to me with placentitis. She foaled two days later at 312 days. The foal had so many problems. Every day it seemed something new. She had an IV in for 1 1/2 months. Splints. All sorts of issues. BUT she made it. She probably shouldn’t have, but she never gave up. She was always up and eating, leaping, fighting. She made it and has zero issues from her rough start.
Please keep us posted. Pics would also be appreciated! :smiley:

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@littlecasino Giiormous Jingles for your mare & filly!

& my hat is off to all of you who posted these touching/heartbreaking & yet encouraging stories.
I need to print this thread for a friend who is considering breeding her 15yo maiden to a stud because stud’s owner wants the crossbred foal to sell.
She will have to bring mare to him to be bred, then bring mare home & take full care through the pregnancy - she works fulltime, has horses at home (though she has had foals at her place, does not breed).
For all her trouble she will earn part of the sales price.
We - horseowning friends - tried to talk her out of this - saying stud guy has nothing to lose.

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I’m feeling a bit more optimistic, mare is not nearly as anxious today as yesterday. Allowing the filly to nurse better. She still is nowhere near being mom of the year, but maybe won’t end up on Dr.Phil,maybe. Though she may be on an episode of Maury for who the dad is.
We redid her bandages when my vet came out so her leg doesn’t bow as much. She sounds like she is in better shape than many of your survivor stories so keep jingling that she stays that way.

I have a filly 8 days younger and triple her size. I think without the two of them maybe Things with the little wouldn’t seem so dire.