Preemie - 292 Days

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Jan 30, 2004
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We had a colt born last Thursday afternoon in the pasture at 292 days. The days are accurate as the mare was ultrasounded in foal at 23 days. Not only was he early but was a red bag too so that further complicated things. Luckily a neighbor experienced with miniature horses saw the mare down and went to help.

Had the local vet out and they tubed the little guy several times and got him warmed up from a body temp of 95 to 99.3. He was very wobbly, especially in his back legs but he seemed to be doing well. We were milking the mare and bottle feeding him but during the night he took a turn for the worse becoming listless and his body temperature started falling despite heat lamps, a heating pad and several blankets. I called several vets and all said he needed a neo natal unit where he could be cared for. We decided to take him to Oklahoma State University in Stillwater and left about 4am Saturday morning. It was a 5 hour drive but he made it and the vets were waiting for us.

They immediately put him on fluids and drew blood. His abdomen was slightly bloated so they put a tube down to test him for reflux but he was fine. His navel had been treated with Nolvasan but it had a place that began spurting blood as he was being handled and they had to tie it off.

His IGG was 400 so he had 300cc plasma and that brought it up to slightly less than 800 so he had another 300cc the following day. He began nursing Wednesday and has gotten his sucking reflex back. He can stand for a while but then gets weak and needs supported. He is being given antibiotics - amikacin and penicillin.

The daily reports from the University have been good and yesterday he was even bucking a little. He seems to be past the "dummy foal" stage now and is alert and responsive. Besides guarding for infection the most serious thing is his legs. They are cartlidge, not bone yet and he will need support bandages until they develop and will have to be kept confined in a stall until they do.

If everything continues to go well he may be able to come home Saturday.

Anyone have suggestions for at home care and the best way to transport him?

Edited to add photo..........

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It will be important to keep him warm for sure and transporting can probably be done with the trailer. More than likely he will lay down. Do you have someone that would ride in the trailer with him to keep an eye on him? Good luck with him! Lavonne
COuld you rent a little van and bed it deeply and put mom in the back and have someone sit down on a bale of straw & hold the baby? Sounds funny, but it works for me. I actually have a minivan with a stall built right into it - stays nice & warm and I can watch the horse being transported and get to them immediately if need b.

Good luck Sharman

He would be in my lap. If the mother needs to travel to I'd be right there holding that little baby next to the Mom in the trailer. Good luck with your little one so glad he made it and is coming home.

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[SIZE=12pt]When I brought Dawn home from Surgi-Care, I rode in the trailer with she and her mom. I sat on a bag of shavings and held Dawn. I actually did that several times when she went back for x-rays.[/SIZE]

Good luck.

congrats on the baby but so sorry you are having problems.

My guy was a premie and he is a fat, sassy guy. Had the same problems as you with the legs and his legs do turn out a bit but I keep up with his trimings he has no problems at all walking, running and bucking.

Good luck with your baby.
Sharon I cannot tell from your post if the mare is with him or not. If she is not there it makes it much easier. In that case I would see if you can find a dog shipping crate and bed it with straw and keep it in the car or truck with you.

This would also work in the trailer as it would still keep the mom and baby insite without the foal having unlimited room. We have had them born that early here and have put them outside during the day and nice weather in a small pen. The baby should do just fine. You do want to limit his exercise, just watch him and increase the space gradulally as he gets his land legs.

Best of luck to you.
The vets have said he cannot ride in the trailer because there is not enough cushioning so we plan to have him in the truck with us. That way we'll be able to keep him warm too and out of drafts. I will try to find something appropriately sized this afternoon to put him in. His dam is with him and she won't be happy without her baby but we'll stop and let him nurse so hopefully that will satisfy her.

Thanks for the help and good wishes!
When l had to take my filly to the vets and back 3 times by myself l used a big tall box with a bathroom mat on the bottom covered with doggie pads and then a towel. Worked well for me l just kept her on the seat of the truck beside me they don't move a lot as premie so slept there and back every time..l duct taped the box all over to so l wasn't worried about it falling apart.

When I had a preemie at 292 days gestation, his legs were soft too. We kept them braced and bandaged for a week or so until he could stand well on them. For warmth in the stall we put plastic sheeting up on the walls to keep the breezes out, bedded VERY deeply in straw, and had a radiant (Kalglo) heater turned on "high", as well as keeping him blanketed. When he got pnuemonia I would tuck straw all around him so he could sleep in a more upright position to breathe easier, and he got twice daily shots of Naxcel. Had to use diabetic needles because he was so tiny. Despite all the shots and everything else, he was such a loving little colt, and he grew up to be strong and sassy.

I hope your colt continues to improve, sending good wishes!
I have a minivan with dog crate mats cut to fit, and bedded down with straw it worked like a charm to take mom and foal back and forth to the hospital. Sure hope you can find a good solution with the least stress for momma and baby. And congratulations on the new baby!!
Update.....Had a call from the primary vet at the University and the little guy is still doing well. When they draw blood he makes it known he doesn't like that so he's pretty lively now. His blood cultures are now at 5 days with no growth so that's very positive. They have him in a little fenced area in his dam's stall so they can be together but his movement is restricted. When he wants to nurse they support him so he doesn't stress his legs. He has a 24-hour attendant so they are taking excellent care of him. They are still gradually reducing IV fluids and some of the medication they want him on for another couple of days so want to keep him until Monday afternoon. When he comes home they want him on a Woody pet type of bedding so nothing like hay or straw drags his legs and puts stress on them.

They're going to try and send photos of him nursing. The foal is solid black like his sire.

This is Mom (with another foal)


This is Dad

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