Finally got some necropsy reports on Lexie after 3 weeks

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Lucky-C-Acres-Minis

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Right now they are saying her COD was "hypercalcemia due to lactation" (a blood test at the local OSU clinic proved she was hypercalcemic when we first took her in, but we were told there that something else had to be causing it as the colt nursing (he was not quite 3 months) wouldn't have pulled her that low and she was on a good feeding program (grass/alfalfa hay free choice, grain 2X a day, pasture/exercise daily ) and that everything else came back clean, they're still waiting on two pathology reports.. Said that minis/ponies/morgans are prone to hypercalcemia though it's rare because they're such "heavy milkers" (Lexi had a decent size udder but Star and Tango are much heavier milkers) and that hypercalcemia tends to show around 60-120 days lactation.. Told us that if we ever have a lactating mare in that range come down with heavy sweats, muscle tremors and acting "down/off" to get her into the clinic asap for calcium as it's a 50/50 chance of survival and the sooner it's caught the sooner we can up that chance, and also said that within that time/lactation range if we notice a foal "pulling down" his/her dam it's time to wean as that will run the risk of pulling her calcium way down..


So at least we now have an "answer" now..

Now just gotta get the bills figured out..
 

Reignmaker Miniatures

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At least you know what it was even if the why is still a question. It is one more thing to worry about when we breed our mares. Thanks for sharing the results.
 
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StarRidgeAcres

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Thank you for posting the results. I'm so sorry you lost her, but my hope is that others (including myself) may learn from your experience that you were willing to share.

Again, so sorry.
 

kaykay

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I have several friends that this has happened to unfortunately. But I do know the university said overweight mares are much more prone to this then mares at good weight. Dont remember the reason why. I had another friend that kept liquid calcium on hand at home to treat a mare that had a history of doing that. She would give that and then have enough time to get to the vet.

Im so sorry for your loss.
 
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Lucky-C-Acres-Minis

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Lexie was far from "overweight", she was in excellent weight for her age and nursing mare.. What symptoms did your friend's mare exhibit Kay? Our gal's all came within a matter of 2-3 hours, which makes it hard for me to believe that the hypocalcemia (said it wrong in the first post as hyper=high, hypo=low) is the sole cause, but everything else, kidneys/spinal fluid etc. etc. all came back clean..
 

kaykay

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I have had it happen to 3 friends
All of them it came on very fast. One minute the mare is fine the next breathing hard, one went like she was blind and walking into things almost like a seizure, another started sweating and chest heaving (thumps) 2 of them made it and one did not. One kept doing it again at home and finally had an episode that ended her life. I know one of the friends their vet said that mares like this can do this every time they are bred.
 

Lucky-C-Acres-Minis

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Thanks Kay, sounds like the same symptoms.. She was fine that morning, ate her grain, went out with the other mares/foals, ate some hay then went out to pasture and grazed, when we found her she was wringing wet with sweats, breathing hard and had a rapid pulse, so put in immediate call to the vet, loaded her on the trailer and took her into the clinic..

She was 15 years old, been a broodmare her entire life..
 

Flyin G Farm

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I had a mare get this last year...she was fine earlier in the day...went out to feed and check on everyone and her flanks were "thumping" and she was breathing odd...but not doing anything else unusual. So I brought her in and talked to a friend of mine who said hypocalcemia. My normal vet generally will listen to what I have to say, but a younger vet talked to me at first...and because my mare was only about a month pregnant, she didn't believe that was what it was. For my mare she had been out on pasture, so I brought her in and gave her alfalfa and a calcium supplement I had and waited for the vet. She ended up at the vet clinic the next day so they could get her straightened out...her electrolytes were all out of whack as well. She went on to have a beautiful colt this year (even though we were sure she would lose it because of everything she had going on) and we haven't had any trouble with her at all...but we also are watching her closely just in case. She was also at a good weight. The vet wasn't sure why this happened. But it was very scary...I'm so sorry you lost your mare


Tracy
 

Cowgirl Up

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I have never heard of Hypocalcemia. Very scary and I am so sorry for the loss of your mare.
 

LisaB Ozark

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I have personally had two mares do this. Both of them were in their 9 or 10th month. The first mare acted like she had rabies. She was weaving around, acted blind and very wild. Our vet is literally 10 minutes up the road - we had her there within 20 minutes of finding her but still lost her.

The other mare did it the next year and we now had seen the symptons and immediately gave her oral calcium and got her to the vet for a calcium transfusion. She did it one more time two years later (both times while in foal). She is no longer being bred and is happy with a life of leisure. Both years we had 5-6 other mares that foaled with no problems.

Our vet called several big universities and found out the following information:

Miniatures are more prone to severe drops in calcium then any other breed and when it happens it happens very quickly. He told me that the vets he talked with felt that the mini mares that died in the late months of pregnancy or aborted in the late months was caused from medium to severe calcium drops.

Both of the mares that I had problems with came from the same farm and bloodline - they felt it could be something that the mares lacked (minerals) or hereditary. Not enough research to give a specific answer.

To much calcium in a mini mares diet can cause them to not produce calcium. They suggested no milk plus or very small amounts. To increase milk production they suggest alfalfa hay. They also said no loose wheat bran (some grains use it as a filler). For some reason bran pellets are okay but not loose bran.

Always keep paste calcium around as this can happen in the late months of pregnancy (when the mare is starting to build a bag) or anytime after birth.

THis is an incredibly sad thing and a terrible death for the mares. Obviously we cannot watch our horses 24 hours a day during the entire pregnancy and while the foals are nursing. It happens very quickly and you have a very small time frame to get calcium into them. Once a mare has done this once it is common for them to do it again.

Lisa
 
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StarRidgeAcres

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Always keep paste calcium around as this can happen in the late months of pregnancy (when the mare is starting to build a bag) or anytime after birth.
Lisa, is this the same paste that would be used on dogs or what? Where do you get this paste?
 

Jill

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I'm so sorry about your mare. Thank you for telling us what happened and thank you Lisa for the additional information about this condition. I hadn't ever heard of it before.
 

HGFarm

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I have not heard of this either in many years of being around broodmares of all sizes. Thank you so much for sharing the info.... and I too would like to know where you get the calcium to keep on hand. Does it have much of a shelf life?

It's pretty scary when you figure a horse, such as this one, has a pretty well rounded diet.. but I guess their systems work differently in each one, just like people. This is good info to know and thanks again, but so sorry it was at the loss of your mare...
 

muffntuf

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Thanks for sharing the report on your mare. Although you lost your precious one, I have never heard of this, but know that my farm runs low on minerals, even if we have high quality (tested) hay. So they get free choice of a loose mineral now.
 

[email protected]

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Sorry for the loss of your mare, but thanks for sharing this. Never heard of this in horses before! GAWD something else to worry about.

Lisa if you could pass along the info as to what type of calcium paste you keep around - I'd like that insurance just in case.

Lisa you also mentioned your vet said To much calcium in a mini mares diet can cause them to not produce calcium. They suggested no milk plus or very small amounts. To increase milk production they suggest alfalfa hay But isn't alfalfa higher in calcium (as its a legume) versus grass hays? I feed alfalfa year round, but was wondering about what your vet stated.

Thanks again for all the information all.
 

mizbeth

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Gee, I have not heard of this before either. I had a mare last year that was "off" about a month after her baby was born. Couldn't walk very well, could not lift her head, weaved when she walked, I do not remember if she was sweaty or not. I called the vet right away and gave her kayro syrup while we waited, she was back to normal by the time he got there. She is fine today and foaled another baby earlier in the year.

I always read the forum and do not recall this being mentioned here either. We were lucky I guess!

Yes, more to worry about.
 

Lucky-C-Acres-Minis

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For those who have calcium paste on hand please do share where you get yours, I will be getting some to keep on hand just in case.. I've dealt with hypocalcemia/milk fever in dairy cattle since I grew up on a dairy farm, but it's been so long I can't remember what we did to treat/hold over until the vet could arrive, will have to talk to my grandfather..

I guess one person's heartbreak is a learning experience for everyone else.. Hopefully with us losing Lexie, going through all of this and sharing it here, it'll help save others..

Thanks again to everyone for your support through this, certainly has helped
 

LisaB Ozark

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Our vet gave us the calcium paste that you give cattle. You can only get it from your vet and it takes very little - talk with your vet because every brand is different. And every area has different brands. Unfortunately the vet gave me some in a smaller tube and it does not have a name on it.

You can also find calcium in most of the "Revitalize" pastes. Every area is different for brands. Just look at the ingredients - Jeffers carries one that has calcium and lots of other stuff in it called Revitilyte gel. Oral-X also used to carry a calcium based supplement but I cant seem to find it anymore. The other supplements with the calcium also help because generally when a mares calcium drops so does her sugar level. It does not take much calcium to get the mare stable enough to get to the vet.

As far as the alfalfa - my vet said that in the hay it is naturally absorbed and works with the mare and in something like Mare Plus is a supplement. The best I can describe it - women drinking milk versus taking calcium tablets. Sorry I am not very good about explaining. We feed bermuda hay but put the mares on alfalfa hay 6-8 weeks before their foaling date.

Hope this helps,

Lisa
 

RockRiverTiff

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I was wondering if you'd heard anything yet. Thank you for posting this information. I will be printing it off for our medical file, since I'd never heard of hypocalcemia in minis either! Again, I am so sorry about the loss of your mare, but thank you for being so proactive in helping others to learn from your loss.
 
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