At the end of my rope ~ could use any insight

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Tapestry Minis

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Hi everyone,

I will try and make this short but this has been going on for two years and I'm just not sure what to do from here.

We have lost all of our babies for two years straight. We have a few mares that are proven and an unproven stallion. The last two years he has settled them all on one heat and all carry fine until 280-303 days then loose the foal to a still birth. Some have birthed the babies fine and others have had dystocias where the babies have had to be pulled out. None have shown any sign of a twisted cord or infection (per the vet). They even did a "gross necropsy" on one of the dystocia babies and found nothing physically wrong both externally or internally.

We've done blood tests on all the mares and the stallion. All back being negative for Rhino and EVA. All regular shots that were given during previous pregnancies including WNV and Rhino with no ill effects. Also the time frame between shots and the time of the abortion were way past any time frame for reaction. These mares have always produced when bred to other stallions. We've collected the stallion once and it came up with a bacterium, collected him again to find out where it was coming from to know how to treat him and the test came up all clear.

We are waiting for culture results back on the mares to make sure they are not harboring anything but have a hard time believing it is them as they are proven and he is not. I am just at loss of what to do. We've lost 5 fillies total and just am having a hard time believing there is nothing we can do if all these tests are coming up clear. Are there tests we are missing or not thinking about?

If anyone out there can offer any suggestions or experiences, I'm open to all. Thank you!
 

Tapestry Minis

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OH sorry I forgot to add that. None of these horses are on pasture they are all on dry lot. We feed twice a day with quality timothy hay/alfalfa hay mix and SafeChoice.
 

targetsmom

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Oh, gosh, I am so sorry and I really feel your pain. We are in a somewhat similar situation, as we are still waiting for our first live mini foal. In 2006 we bred 2 mares to 2 different stallions and only one settled, and she lost the foal (unknown to all) and had a false pregnancy. We bred one for 2008 and she aborted at around 250 days 2 weeks ago with a horrible dystocia AND retained placenta. We are lucky the mare survived. Since that happened at a hospital, they ran all kinds of tests, and could only say it was not anything infectious. Foal looked perfectly normal. We bought a bred, proven, mare who is due in late May and we are getting very paranoid about her. From our experience, and what we read on the forum, I am beginning to wonder why mini foals don't cost at least $50,000!!!
 

Minimor

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To test if the abortions were caused by rhino one would need to test the fetus, not the mare--but since you had a necropsy done on the one, if it had died due to rhino the lesions should have been found during the necropsy. Also, I think it would be very unlikely to have rhino abortions 2 years in a row.

Fungal infections will cause abortions between 7 and 10 months. I don't know if the testing you had done on your stallion earlier would have included testing for fungal infection? If not, that might be something to test for. If the stallion was infected at the time you started breeding with him he could have spread something (whether fungal or bacterial) to all of the mares--that could explain why proven producers are suddenly not able to deliver a full term live foal.

Please let me say that I'm very sorry for your losses--that's very hard to take when it happens two years in a row and you still don't know what is causing it.
 

Tapestry Minis

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Yes I've really run the gamet of feelings, from "is this God telling me I should sell them all" to "should I geld him and look for another stallion?" I've really had high hopes for him since we got him as a long yearling. He did very well in the show ring and now seeing what he has produced.....100% fillies, all very nice, some loud and all with blue eyes I just can't bring myself to give up on him just yet.
 

Becky

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Gee, I am so sorry! What a nightmare it must be for you!

It sounds to me that you are following all the correct procedures. A couple of questions come to mind. Regarding vaccinations - when are your mares vaccinated during pregnancy and when have they been aborting? Due to some late term abortions here in the past, I no longer vaccinate for anything during the last trimester if I can help it. Anything that raises a mares temperature, can kill a fetus.

Have your mares shown any signs of udder development prior to aborting? If so, you may be able to delay the progression towards abortion with the use of Regumate and antibiotics such as SMZ's. Early udder development is a sign of placentitis.

Are there any chemicals being used in the areas where your horses are? You may have some kind of environmental issue going on. Fertilizers, pesticides, etc. Any ornamental plants in the area?

I sure hope you get to the bottom of it!
 

Tapestry Minis

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Becky,

The Rhino shots were all given at 5 & 7 months of gustation. None of them made it far enough to give the last shot and the one that did go past 9 months I did not give the last shot to and she still lost hers at 10 months. No udder development on any of the mares. When we gave WNV this time around it was in August and the babies were lost in Dec & Jan. I gave Rhino and WNV before all the way through pregnancies that resulted in healthy foals in 2005 and 2006.

The only chemicals I've ever used on our lawn was "weed & feed" and "over n out". The dry lot does not get any of the run off from our yard....I hope that make sense


There is only one tree anywhere near our dry lot and it is a fruitless mulberry.
 

RJRMINIS

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First off I just want to say, I am so sorry, I know how hard it is to lose a foal, not to mention more than one, I can sure understand your feelings of selling them all, I have felt that way too. Hang in there, sounds like you are doing all the right testing.....I know sometimes we don't get the answers we want or need, and it makes it that much harder.
 

Reignmaker Miniatures

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First let me offer my deepest sympathy, this must not only be frustrating but also heartbreaking. I am no expert and am only brainstorming but the first thing I thought of was a deficiency or imbalance in their diet since it seems to be occurring about the time that real demands begin to be made by the growing fetus. Have you had them tested for levels of various minerals/vitamins? I would probably be inclined (with or without testing) to begin giving the mares a really good mineral/vitamin mix (I use one made here in Canada called Hoffman's but there are plenty to choose from) If it isn't a shortage in the diet the min/vit mix will do no harm at least. I hope you do manage to find a cause (and solution).
 

Tapestry Minis

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We've not had the horses tested for deficiencies. I guess I haven't really brought it up to the vet as their diet has not changed from when we had successful births to now. We've actually added SafeChoice to make sure their vitamin/mineral levels were being met.

All mares have retained good weight and the babies that were examined after abortion were all developed as they should be for their gestation.
 

mizbeth

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Hi

I am sorry for you loss! Sometimes with all the testing available these days - there is never an answer.

You have done all the right things and so glad to hear that it is not your stallion. Best of luck to your foaling year next year.

Beth
 

Mona

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Oh no, what a nightmare for you! Losing ONE is bad enough, let alone one after another, and year after year! My heart aches for you, and I hope you are able to find soem answers to why this is happening. You must be one heck of a strong woman! (((HUGS)))
 

Magic

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I'm so sorry to hear of your losses, I can't begin to imagine how awful it must feel.


Perhaps have your vet test for selenium levels-- either too high OR too low can be very dangerous. That's all that I can think of that hasn't already been mentioned. I do hope that whatever is wrong will be found out so it can be fixed!
 

cjmm10

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If it were me, I would breed 2 of my most experienced mares to an outside stallion. If they carry full term it could be your stallion. Maybe the tests aren't finding the problem. I have lost a foal here & there & it never gets easier. Two of my friends that have been breeding minis for 15 to 20 years had a similar problem and their mares carried just fine with another stallion, they gelded their boys that were the problem.

Good luck & I pray for you to get over your losses.
cjmm
 

chandab

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Are you on well water? IF so, test the nitrate levels; at least I think its nitrates that can be bad for pregnancy. Some of the wells around here have high levels due to all the fertilizing on the sandy soils and it just leaches through to the ground water. Just an idea. [The levels aren't as harmful to adult animals, but bad for babies.] Just something to look into.
 

Minimor

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It's unlikely to be nitrates--nitrates cause congenital hypothyroidism and foals are generally carried longer than normal, as opposed to aborting around 300 days.

A breeder here (QH, not mini) lost all their foals one season--that proved to be a mineral deficiency. I think it might have been copper deficiency--I know that was an issue for some breeders here at one point but I'm not 100% sure it was the problem for this particular farm. However, I don't know at what stage the losses occurred, if the mares aborted or if they went to term & the foals were stillborn.
 

Tapestry Minis

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We are on well water and we did have our water tested. The nitrate levels were on the low end of the acceptable scale. We actually had the test done by the same lab that does all Cargills testing so it gives a low and high that is acceptable.

I am on a search for a stallion to lease for this breeding season, but again two of the three mares have produced healthy foals by several different stallions each year except when bred to this stallion. The other mare was maiden.
 
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albahurst

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We experienced some of what you are for a couple of years also. We now give Rhino beginning at 3 months gestation and do 3,5,7,9. When we started at 5 months, it was apparently too late already. I know others don't do the shots at all, but we are now doing them here and have a beautiful filly now a couple of days ago. I hope this is helpful for you. I certainly feel your pain and frustration.

Peggy
 

shadowsmystictopaz

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May I ask what stallion your using. The stallion youu use might be playing a huge part in it. We lost a baby recently. It had junk in his lungs and was rather huge. We had a red bad a few weeks before that out of the same stallion. Just take your time thinking about things before you do somehing that you might regret. We are all here for you.
 

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