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What are the Red Alerts during Pregnancy and Delivery?
Abnormal Event: Premature udder development and lactation
Causes: Wrong Breeding Dates, placentitis, twinning
Actions to take: Check due date. Call vet. Rectal palpation, ultrasound exam, vaginal exam, check relaxin levels
Abnormal Event: Vaginal Discharge
Causes: Placentitis, Impending abortion
Actions to take: Call Vet. Rectal palpation, vaginal exam, ultrasound, cultures.
Abnormal Event: No under development, agalactia
Causes: Wrong due date, fescue toxicosis, endocrine abnormality (abnormal estrogen:progestagen ratio, hypothyroid), poor nutrition.
Actions to take: Check pasture and forage, evaluate hormone levels, check nutrition
Abnormal Event: Sudden, excessive abdominal enlargement
Causes: Abdominal hernia/prepubic tendon rupture, twinning, excessive volume of fetal fluids (Hydrops)
Actions to take: Call vet. Rectal palpation, ultrasound exam
Abnormal Event: Premature delivery (<325 days)
Causes: Infection, twinning, unknown causes
Actions to take: Call vet. Early foal examination. Monitor temperature and effort of breathing closely. Ensure adequate antibody absorption
Abnormal Event: Prolonged gestation length (>360 days)
Causes: Fescue toxicosis, pituitary tumor in older mares, hypothyroid, wrong due date
Actions to take: Check breeding dates, call vet. Rectal palpation, ultrasound exam, measure hormone levels.
Abnormal Event: Prolonged Stage II Labor
Causes: Dystocia, low blood calcium levels
Actions to take: Call vet. Vaginal exam to evaluate fetal position and assist delivery. Walk mare until vet arrives to reduce straining and rolling
Abnormal Event: Premature placental separation (Red Bag delivery)
Causes: Premature detachment of placenta from uterus resulting in fetal asphyxia; cause often unknown, but has been associated with placentitis.
Actions to take: Call vet. Rupture red membrane using blunt ended scissors. Extract foal encased in amnion. Delivery as quickly as possible. Perform APGAR score and administer oxygen.
Abnormal Event: Meconium staining of placenta, fetal fluids, foal
Causes: Fetus passes meconium in utero in response to asphyxia or other birth stress Actions to take: Call vet. Clean away meconium from nose and mouth. Perform APGAR score. Provide oxygen, monitor rate and effort of breathing.
Abnormal Event: Colic in dam after foaling
Causes: Colon torsion, impaction, trauma to uterus or bowel during foaling resulting in peritonitis, uterine artery rupture.
Actions to take: Call vet. If mare is violent give banamine and move foal to save place. Mare requires complete exam including rectal palpation and possible peritoneal tap.
Abnormal Event: Retained Placenta (>3 Hours)
Causes: Cause unknown
Actions to take: Call vet. Tie up placenta by knotting it on itself or using balling twine to keep mare from stepping on placenta. Plan to start mare on banamine, oxytocin and antibiotics.
Abnormal Event: Heavy (>10 % of foal’s weight), discolored placenta
Causes: Suspect Infection
Actions to take: Call vet for early examination of the foal. Check foal’s white blood cell count and start on antibiotics
Abnormal Event: Umbilical Cord hemorrhage
Causes: Premature or traumatic cord rupture
Actions to take: Clamp umbilicus or ligate with umbilical tape soaked in disinfectant. Dip umbilicus. Remove clamp or ligature when bleeding has stopped. Best to wait after enema is given and foal is not straining to pass meconium.
Abnormal Event: Foal does not follow developmental timeline: slow to suckle, stand and or nurse
Causes: Weakness due to infection, asphyxia, or immaturity
Actions to take: Call vet for early foal exam. Be sure foal receives adequate colostrum or IgG substitute within the first 2-6 hours of life.
Abnormal Event: Colic in the foal
Causes: Meconium impaction most likely
Actions to take: Give warm, soapy, water enema. If no meconium passes and/or foal remains colicky call vet. Prevent self-trauma while foal is colicky
Abnormal event: Yellow mucous membranes in foal
Causes: Jaundice due to herpes virus infection or hemolysis due to incompatible blood types between mare and foal
Actions to take: Call Vet. If foal is yellow and anemic then cause is hemolysis. If foal is not anemic and is showing labored breathing, suspect herpes virus infection.
Abnormal event: Foal’s serum IgG is less than 400-800 mg/dl=Failure of Passive Transfer (FTP)
Causes: FPT due to poor quality colostrums, failure to nurse enough colostrums soon enough, or inability to absorb antibodies.
Actions to take: If foal is <12-18 hours old give more colostrum or oral IgG substitute; If foal is >18-24 hours old, give plasma transfusion.
Abnormal event: Mare rejection of foal
Causes: Maiden mares often afraid. Some mares are outwardly aggressive towards foals. More common in Arabians.
Actions to take: Sedate mare. Keep stall traffic to a minimum. Show mare foal’s rear end rather than face. Can use hobbles. Measure progesterone levels.