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Was this foal born alive?

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StarRidgeAcres

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This happened back in the spring and I never posted about it because it was just so sad. We lost two foals this year - both colts, both highly anticipated - but for different reasons.

I knew this mare was pregnant as she'd been US in foal even though she didn't look it at all. I bought her already bred (bought her for her, not the foal) and she was pasture exposed for a long period of time so I didn't have any good dates to go by. :arg! At the time she foaled I'd been thinking she had another 6 weeks to go based solely on physical appearance. I'd also learned (after I bought the mare exposed to this stallion) that he'd sired several dwarfs so I was totally scared out of my mind at what might happen. Why do people continue to breed horses known to produce dwarfs??
Another topic.

So, long story short, I missed the foaling (about a 2 hour window) because I thought she had weeks to go and here is what was found:



So, I'd like to know if anyone thinks this foal was born alive? Did it ever walk? Was it born dead? If so, how did it get out of the sac? Was this foal full term? Was this foal a dwarf?
 

alongman

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Parmela -

To me, it doesn't look like this foal was completely term - it still has some late-gestation characteristics. I would guess it was not up and moving around either. It may have taken a breath - so technically, yes, was born alive. That's one of the things to look at in a breeding contract as this is an area of much debate - if the foal breathes, is it technically a live birth?
 

Miniv

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To me, the little one doesn't look full term........and I doubt it ever stood up because of the complete milk toes on him. I would say that your estimation of when she was actually due was fairly accurate. And no, he doesn't look like a dwarf. I am sorry for your losses this year.
 

ohmt

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I agree that the foal looks as though it came a bit early. It may have taken a breath but I can almost guarantee that foal wasn't up and moving. As for the bag...many of my mares take the bag of the foals themselves and I actually have a couple of mares that move it and bury it in their stalls. Doesn't look dwarfy but the only dwarf that has ever been born at my farm looked absolutely normal at birth and was actually my favorite foal of the year. The next year is when I began to notice that her legs weren't growing. I'm very sorry for your loss...were both sire and dam pintos?? The foal looks like he has some paw prints.
 

kaykay

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we had one born years ago very similiar. we had the foal necropsied and it had never taken a breath. I guess they can tell from looking at the lungs. Most of ours have been born out of the bag so that is not unusual even in a late term abortion. I agree with the above that it looks like it came early. I have been told late term abortions occur when the foal dies in the uterus so the mares body aborts

So sorry
 

Danielle_E.

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The picture of your little one reminds me of the first foal ever born here by my mare Abby. Having gone through a subsequent loss last year with my other mare and being able to compare each of those foals I don't believe that your foal was full term, just like Abby, and I don't believe he took a breath either. Could this have been a redbag delivery? Do you recall anything strange with the placenta? Your foal was not a dwarf but your right, he was early.
 
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StarRidgeAcres

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Thank you to those that have responded so far. I guess it relieves some of the guilt to know that others also think it may have been early.

When we found him his momma and our guard dog were standing over him in the barn trying to keep the curious mares away. It was very sad.

I agree that the foal looks as though it came a bit early. It may have taken a breath but I can almost guarantee that foal wasn't up and moving. As for the bag...many of my mares take the bag of the foals themselves and I actually have a couple of mares that move it and bury it in their stalls. Doesn't look dwarfy but the only dwarf that has ever been born at my farm looked absolutely normal at birth and was actually my favorite foal of the year. The next year is when I began to notice that her legs weren't growing. I'm very sorry for your loss...were both sire and dam pintos?? The foal looks like he has some paw prints.
Only the sire was pinto. My mare is solid as we don't own any pintos or appys - at least visually. Who knows what's hiding in there sometimes.
 

zoey829

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I am so sorry. What a sad story. It kills me how people breed after a dwarf was produced!! He might have been alive, but born earily. I am sure it was mother natures way. Is thier a live foal contract? We leased a stallion and we put a 3 day live foal gaurantee. I am so sorry.
 

mizbeth

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I have noticed that when mares abort foals that are dead, they do not pay any attention to it all. If your mare was watching him, he was probably born alive if only briefly but he could still have been early.

I am sorry for your loss'.

Beth
 
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StarRidgeAcres

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I am so sorry. What a sad story. It kills me how people breed after a dwarf was produced!! He might have been alive, but born earily. I am sure it was mother natures way. Is thier a live foal contract? We leased a stallion and we put a 3 day live foal gaurantee. I am so sorry.
Just to clarify, there was no contract regarding the foal. I bought this mare just for her and actually hoped she WASN'T in foal as I knew the sire to be homozygous and didn't particularly care for him so I just wanted the mare to be open so I could breed her here. How I found out she was bred was when I had the vet out to culture her (which I do on every single mare before I breed her to one of my stallions) and the vet said "any chance she's bred?" And I said no, based on what she looked like, but I admitted she had been pastured with a stallion. Well, after that admission, the vet said a big no to the culture until she was ultrasounded first to ensure she wasn't already in foal. Well... sure enough the US showed a foal!

So, I'm not at all mad at the seller or expecting anything as there was no contract regarding the foal. It was just a bonus I guess if she was in foal. The reason I'm asking if it was ever alive is that I just couldn't understand how the sac was 10 feet away, but yet I didn't think this foal was full-term enough to have walked. I'm just trying to learn.
 

Getitia

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I'm very sorry about the loss of your foal.

Our experience is that typically when full term or close to a full term foal is found in the field and is no longer viable (such as your picture indicates) - from a pure statistical aspect - the following three situations account for about 80% of the deaths - in this order.

The greatest % of looses such as this are the result of the foal being born in the sack - the foal was alive and viable at the time of birth - Here is what occurs:

The mare lays down - gives birth to the foal - foal is born in the sack- mare continues to remain laying for a few minutes - the foal drowns in the sack (as the foal is completely in the sack- this only takes a few minutes) - the mare gets up and in the process of standing up the sack is immediately removed from the foal (sack is typically still attached to the placenta and is expelled later) - however the foal is no longer viable and thus the foal is found in the field with the sack completely removed from the foal. (On occassion, during an early placenta separation, you fill actually find the foal completely in the sack in the pasture/field/stall )

The next reason for such a loss is that the foal is dead at the time of birth - either a twisted cord, injury, disease or some other issue resulted in the mare foaling - it could be full term or it could be at anytime during the pregnancy (premature).

The next most common reason that the foal ceases to be viable is due to a red/bag birth.

There are other reasons that tend to be less common - foal is born viable and due to an injury or accident (drowning - i.e being born in a rainstorm in a puddle of water for example).

From the photos, I suspect that the foal was born in the sack as described in the first example.
 

minie812

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PARMELA...That little one does not look quite finished. To me doesn't look dwarfy and doesn't look at at all like it took a breath. I agree the mare probably stood up and the foal fell from the sack if it was still attached to the mare and dragged the sack from the foal. The one filly pic I sent you of the little sorrel foal we lost to red bag reminds me of this one...JMO...Judy
 

RJRMINIS

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I am so sorry for your loss, I don't believe it was born alive. It is possible it could have been a redbag...I know it is frustrating to not know for sure. I always feel the same way when I am not right there to know for sure, it just leaves you wondering.
 

wpsellwood

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Oh buddy sorry to hear about that!!!

On a good note you have a very lovely stallion to breed to her now
 
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Cowgirl Up

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Poor little guy.

I am far from any kind of expert, but I agree he doesn't look "fully cooked" to me.
 

Michelle@wescofarms

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Sorry for your loss.

I agree with Getitia - she put it much better than I could - lol! It's what we've observed here over the years too.

I'm a pasture breeder but keep to a very short tight time frame. I hate those 'she was exposed from 1/1/00 to 12/31/00' - thanks for narrowing down that window of potential foal times! Didn't really want to sleep for six- nine months thank you!
 

disneyhorse

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Awwww.... so sorry....

I will agree with the others... he looks far too premature to have ever "lived" (stood) and most likely was born dead.

Perhaps the mare herself dragged the sack, I have seen animals of all kinds including horses pull at the sack and even eat it. One mare here aborted and we think animals must have dragged off the sack and fetus, because it was six months along and the horse is in a stall so we would have found it! The mare was US in foal at six months for sure, and then no baby ever came!

Sorry for your loss... hope your next cross is fantastic!

Andrea
 

rockin r

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First off I am sorry for your loss.....I agree the foal looks early. And probably just enough into gestation that the foal might have taken a small breath or two, as the dam got up she probably pulled the sac off. We had a foal aborted here (our 1st baby) several years ago (maiden mare). Approx 9 months along. I was in the stall with Sugar when she aborted. Tiny lineback dun colt. He took 2 small breaths, the vet was amazed that he could. Again we are very sorry.....Art and Theresa
 

HGFarm

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I do not think it's a dwarf.. legs and neck are nice a long, etc.... However I also do not think it was quite full term and would doubt that it may have been born alive. It appears to me like it never got up- the 'slippers' are still on it's feet.

I'm so sorry for your loss- it can sure be heartbreaking for sure.
 

Riverdance

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I am so sorry. What a sad story. It kills me how people breed after a dwarf was produced!! He might have been alive, but born earily. I am sure it was mother natures way. Is thier a live foal contract? We leased a stallion and we put a 3 day live foal gaurantee. I am so sorry.
Just to clarify, there was no contract regarding the foal. I bought this mare just for her and actually hoped she WASN'T in foal as I knew the sire to be homozygous and didn't particularly care for him so I just wanted the mare to be open so I could breed her here. How I found out she was bred was when I had the vet out to culture her (which I do on every single mare before I breed her to one of my stallions) and the vet said "any chance she's bred?" And I said no, based on what she looked like, but I admitted she had been pastured with a stallion. Well, after that admission, the vet said a big no to the culture until she was ultrasounded first to ensure she wasn't already in foal. Well... sure enough the US showed a foal!

So, I'm not at all mad at the seller or expecting anything as there was no contract regarding the foal. It was just a bonus I guess if she was in foal. The reason I'm asking if it was ever alive is that I just couldn't understand how the sac was 10 feet away, but yet I didn't think this foal was full-term enough to have walked. I'm just trying to learn.
PArmala,

So sorry for your loss. I agree with the others that your foal looks preemie and probably never took a breath,nor did it ever even try to get up as the slippers are still on his feet. The sack was still attached to mom and the umbilical cord and was probably pulled away fromt he foal when she got up. Or, you said your dog was there,perhaps it pulled the sack off.
 

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