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Can we talk about full term mares w/ stillborn foals? Signs?

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  • Can we talk about full term mares w/ stillborn foals? Signs?

    To those of you who have sadly experienced this, did you seen signs that indicated something was wrong? Did the mare bag up normally?

    I ask this because I have the following situation with a mare going 19 days past when I expected her to foal:

    *358 days - (last foal in 2006 was 339, and prior she went 332-339)
    *bred with frozen so date is correct
    *full bag of mainly edema, she only started getting "milk" (amber sticky) a week ago - (normally would start to bag and I could test milk for over a week. Once she'd go white, she'd foal within 12 hrs).
    *last saw foal move two Fridays ago, but I don't necessarily expect to feel or see alot now anyway
    *she looks like she is getting bigger
    *looks like she is comfortable
    *not restless at all
    *total sponge butt, etc.

    If she does not foal by tomorrow morning, the vet and I agreed that he should check her to see if the foal is viable or not.

    ?

  • #2
    Barring placentitis and infection if the foal is in fact not viable and late most likely reason is an umbilical twist in the cord....and there is nothing you can do to prevent that. Late term big foals don't move for lack of room so that is not a concern. FWIW my 22 YO mare just foaled her last filly looking like yours (only yellow fluid/no milk etc) and the filly is fine....but best to have a vet take a look to know for sure.
    Providence Farm
    http://providencefarmpintos.blogspot.com/

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Fantastic View Post
      To those of you who have sadly experienced this, did you seen signs that indicated something was wrong? Did the mare bag up normally?

      I ask this because I have the following situation with a mare going 19 days past when I expected her to foal:

      *358 days - (last foal in 2006 was 339, and prior she went 332-339)
      I will say this again and again and again and again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A DUE DATE IN THE MARE!!! Average and NORMAL gestation is 320 to 370 days. 340 days is an average of averages. While there is some indication that repeat breedings to the same stallion will result in a length of gestation that is similar from foal to foal, there are environmental factors that will influence that outcome. For example, foals that are "due" in the winter months will tend to have longer gestations. Foals that are born to mares with placentitis will often be born fully formed, but what would be considered premature (prior to 320 days).

      [quote] *bred with frozen so date is correct [quote]

      Frozen semen pregnancies start out a bit slower, believe it or not. When we preg check for frozen semen pregnancies, we actually will wait a day or two longer as the conceptus will often be slightly smaller than those from cooled or fresh semen.

      *full bag of mainly edema, she only started getting "milk" (amber sticky) a week ago - (normally would start to bag and I could test milk for over a week. Once she'd go white, she'd foal within 12 hrs).
      Sounds totally normal to me.

      *last saw foal move two Fridays ago, but I don't necessarily expect to feel or see alot now anyway
      Exactly. There isn't much room in the playpen anymore and the mare is probably MOST thankful that the foal isn't playing rugby in there.

      *she looks like she is getting bigger
      *looks like she is comfortable
      *not restless at all
      *total sponge butt, etc.

      If she does not foal by tomorrow morning, the vet and I agreed that he should check her to see if the foal is viable or not.
      She still has 12 days before she would even be considered late. While it's frustrating how long it can take for mares to foal, your's is no where near what I would consider something to worry about. The foal is what determines gestational length, NOT the mare. Hence the reason that it is extremely risky to induce the mare.

      One thing that I would consider, however, has your mare been on fescue? That can cause abnormally long gestations with the foal being born often being dysmature. But, quite honestly, it sounds like your mare is probably progressing completely normally.

      Hope that helps!

      Kathy St.Martin
      Equine Reproduction Short Courses
      http://www.equine-reproduction.com
      Last edited by Equine Reproduction; May. 4, 2008, 01:53 PM. Reason: spelling...or lack thereof...
      Equine-Reproduction.com Now offering one on one customized training!
      Leg-Up Equestrian Assistance Program, Inc. A 501(c)(3) non-profit charity

      Comment

      • Original Poster

        #4
        Not that I need to qualify my original post but . . . Kathy, I appreciate your response and feedback, but you sometimes come across as, as, as, _________ (I don't know, you fill in the blank), and a little strong. Rather abrasive. Your message ends with a much nicer more congenial tone, which I do appreciate.

        I did not say "due date" I said EXPECTED DATE
        I AM EDUCATED and know mares DO NOT HAVE A DUE DATE
        Have used frozen many, many times
        No fescue
        Same semen used on maiden one day before. She foaled two1/2 weeks ago. (yes I know mares are all individual - i'm still concerned)

        I am a bit concerned because this is not her usual routine, as indicated in my om. I know no red flags, but i am still concerned.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Forgot to say thank you for both replyiing

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Fantastic View Post
            To those of you who have sadly experienced this, did you seen signs that indicated something was wrong? Did the mare bag up normally?

            I ask this because I have the following situation with a mare going 19 days past when I expected her to foal:

            *358 days - (last foal in 2006 was 339, and prior she went 332-339)
            *bred with frozen so date is correct
            *full bag of mainly edema, she only started getting "milk" (amber sticky) a week ago - (normally would start to bag and I could test milk for over a week. Once she'd go white, she'd foal within 12 hrs).
            *last saw foal move two Fridays ago, but I don't necessarily expect to feel or see alot now anyway
            *she looks like she is getting bigger
            *looks like she is comfortable
            *not restless at all
            *total sponge butt, etc.

            If she does not foal by tomorrow morning, the vet and I agreed that he should check her to see if the foal is viable or not.

            ?
            Sorry, but your post said you "expected her to foal" 19 days ago, which to me is even stronger than due date, so I can understand Kathy's emphasis to correct an incorrect expectation. If you & your vet understand that there is no DUE date, why would you be concerned?

            Checking her tomorrow to see if the foal is viable is not going to tell you it is not. I had a mare with placentitus for almost 3 months. The mare's milk changed, and foaling was imminent (day 330). My vet checked the foal, and she said it was dead. At that point, I decided to induce, as I know how badly "dead foal deliveries" can go. The vet left and came back with more help a few hours later. At that point, she rechecked the foal, and said she still believed it was dead. We induced, and out came a lovely, healthy foal - thank God!

            Comment


            • #7
              Okay, but none of that answers (at least what I interpret to be) the OP's question. What signs should one look for to indicate that the foal may be still born, other than excessive lateness in arrival?
              Roseknoll Sporthorses
              www.roseknoll.net

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Fantastic View Post
                Not that I need to qualify my original post but . . . Kathy, I appreciate your response and feedback, but you sometimes come across as, as, as, _________ (I don't know, you fill in the blank), and a little strong. Rather abrasive.
                My concern is always for the wellbeing of the mare and foal and if what I am posting - which is recognized as accurate information - is not what you wish to hear, that is unfortunate. You can go ahead and call me a "_______", but my interest is for the wellbeing of the horses. The fact that the question comes up again and again warrants the rather strong reminder that there is NO SUCH THING AS A DUE DATE! And I was actually rather pleased with my restraint! I didn't put in any "eye rolling" or "banging head on keyboard" <grin>.

                I did not say "due date" I said EXPECTED DATE
                I AM EDUCATED and know mares DO NOT HAVE A DUE DATE
                There is no "expected date", either. You shouldn't be concerned unless there are indications of a problem, e.g., mare completely bagged and dripping milk, unusual discharge, fever, etc. or, mare showing all signs of impending foaling and NO milk, etc.

                Have used frozen many, many times
                No fescue
                Same semen used on maiden one day before. She foaled two1/2 weeks ago.
                Different mare, different outcome. I've bred mares to the same stallion, year after year after year and had completely different gestational length. Had one mare two years ago that went 367 days, despite having foaled at 332 the previous year when bred to the same stallion. One can only assume that for whatever reason, things cooked slower. Feed may have been slightly different, environmental changes, held my mouth wrong when I was inseminating, etc.

                (yes I know mares are all individual - i'm still concerned)
                Again I ask, if you are educated and know mares do not have an expected due date, then why the concern? Especially in light of your saying that there appears to be nothing abnormal with the exception she's going longer than she has in previous years?

                I am a bit concerned because this is not her usual routine, as indicated in my om. I know no red flags, but i am still concerned.
                Save your energy for something that is worthy of worrying about - taxes, bills, truant children, etc <smile>. As noted, unless there are other indications of something going awry, she will foal when the foal is ready to be born. You have indicated that there is no endophyte source and I'm assuming no discharge, fever, etc., or you would have mentioned it. So, pour a glass of wine, open up a Dove bar and kick back and wait! It's what I've taken to doing <smile>. Besides, assuming that the vet reaches in and the foal doesn't move, what do you plan to do? Foals sleep in utero, btw. So, we recommend waiting up to 15 minutes for movement. Even then, if there is no movement, we recommend waiting several hours and checking again. And, quite honestly, even then I'm reluctant to do anything without other indications that something is wrong.

                Hope that helps!

                Kathy St.Martin
                Equine Reproduction Short Courses
                http://www.equine-reproduction.com
                Equine-Reproduction.com Now offering one on one customized training!
                Leg-Up Equestrian Assistance Program, Inc. A 501(c)(3) non-profit charity

                Comment


                • #9
                  FWIW, so far ALL of the mares I've foaled out this year have gone past (some well past) their "norms" for gestational length. I'm not sure if it is the cold weather we've had, or what exactly is going on.

                  We've had two stillbirths over the years, one at full term, one very close. The one at full term was a maiden mare, and I still have NO clue what happened. She didn't look super ready, I'd been watching her, and then turned her out for the afternoon -- and she foaled while I was on another part of the farm. I didn't think it was imminent.

                  The other mare we had that lost a foal, lost it after she had been very sick and had a very high fever in quarantine, just after we had imported her. She had a little blood tinged discharge, that was noticed when doing the CEM cultures. When we first discovered she was sick, I drove to the quarantine facility to check on her, and saw the baby very active in the mare. When we brought her home 10 days later, she seemed fine. In hindsight, her belly had dropped considerably, but I didn't really take note of it at the time.

                  She had ZERO and I mean ZERO bag, and she lost the foal a few days after we brought her home. I was not there for the birth, as I had no clue it was about to occur. Just found the foal in the stall -- which was horrible, of course.

                  It sounds to me that your mare is just baking longer this time, since there really isn't anything going on to indicate a problem.

                  Good luck!
                  Family Partners Welsh Ponies - Home of Section B Welsh stallion *Wedderlie Mardi Gras LOM/AOE http://www.welshponies.com
                  Click here to buy: A Guide To In Hand Showing of Your Welsh Pony

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    My concern is always for the wellbeing of the mare and foal and if what I am posting - which is recognized as accurate information - is not what you wish to hear, that is unfortunate.
                    That's great, but are you able to read what my original question was? The first half of what you posted in quotes above is exactly wgt I posted here (duh). This mare is 18, and has been a broodmare all of her life. This is out of the ordinary for her. Wondering if mare owners with foal losses have seen signs; sounds like they haven't. So I've got my answer.

                    . . . Kathy, I appreciate your response and feedback, but you sometimes come across as,as, as, _________ (I don't know, you fill in the blank), and a little strong.
                    I was thinking more along the words of your tone comes across "as" - condescending, self righteous, uncouth, cocky, etc.
                    You can go ahead and call me a "_______", but my interest is for the wellbeing of the horses.
                    You can call yourself "a" "________", but that's not the direction I was going.

                    I prefer to stay on task and stick to my original topic. Anyway, thanks to those who answered my original question and shared their stories with me!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      My TB Conn mare was at day 360. I could see the foal move occasionally, mare was not quite fully bagged up but her butt was still solid.

                      My G)(*&^%$#@ neinhbor's dog got into the pasture and chased her, causing a wild hysterical running and bucking spree. She delivered a stillborn foal about 12 hours later. There were 4 twists in the cord.

                      And nothing I could do about it.

                      Due date? Miss Lotty is on day 364.
                      I wasn't always a Smurf
                      Penmerryl's Sophie RIDSH
                      "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                      The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Wow OP. You are making a huge fuss about how you consider equine-reproduction to be abrasive and "_______". From what I read, you got an informed, educated response and have done nothing but gripe about it, and in fact come off rather abrasive yourself.

                        Foaling (or the lack thereof) is a stressful time - I think Kathy's suggestion to have some wine and chocolate or to at least kick back might be appropriate.

                        I personally would not be concerned if a mare went 358 days - including all of the circumstances that you have described. While mares may exhibit repeat gestation lengths, it's actually the foal that determines the length of pregnancy, so it isn't so unusual that this pregnancy is going longer than others.

                        Wishing you good luck and a safe foaling.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Fantastic View Post
                          To those of you who have sadly experienced this, did you seen signs that indicated something was wrong? Did the mare bag up normally?
                          I had this happen to me this year, sadly. There were absolutely NO signs whatsoever. The mare acted perfectly normal in every way, we have no fescue, she had all the appropriate vaccinations and so on, it was her second foal and there had been no problem the first time around, the baby had been seen kicking recently, etc. etc. She started bagging up at about 300 days, perfectly normal. The evening she foaled, her udder was noticeably fuller, but not super huge like some mares get, and no waxing up at all yet. I really thought she would go another 1-3 days, but I was watching her anyway. The birth was normal in every way, right up till the part where the foal takes that first breath..... and it just didn't.

                          The vet said it was placentitis. Out in the light of day the next morning, the placenta did not look very good, it was darker red than usual, with brownish splotches. We did have the foal autopsied and nothing abnormal was found there. The vet figures that the placenta was just not healthy, it started separating too soon, which stressed the foal, which caused the mare to go into labor before she looked quite ready. I thought that when mares get placentitis, they show some symptoms, i.e. bagging up too early, or acting a little sick, maybe off feed, something like that...... but he said, not always. Sometimes there is no sign whatsoever. There was nothing I could have done, but my heart still aches.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            The simple answer is sometimes there's signs and sometimes there isn't and sometimes after a still birth you can appreciate with hindsight that there were indications.

                            When I first read the title I thought you had a mare that definitely had or was due to have a still born foal.

                            Just because its a few days over what you think is its due date means zilch.

                            There's absolutely no way on earth you can calculate a horse's gestation period by using previous experience or any so-called foal calculator even.

                            For a kick off you need to appreciate that different breeds tend to have slightly different gestation. It ranges between 10 months and one year! Or to be more precise between 330 to 360. And that the gestation period in any case is always plus or minus 10 days.

                            I've had mares that never have the same duration foaling period from one pregnancy to the next and even though they've been put to the same stallion. Remember we're talking nature here, not waiting for delivery of a washing machine.

                            You also need to be aware that in the first stage of labour mares have the ability to do something which is (I think) pretty incredible.... They can (to a degree) delay or hold the progression to "activation". And for information if you didn't know that, its to ensure that the foal is born at optimum time and conditions to ensure its survival. So if a mare starts first stage and then perceives that there's something that might threaten the foal e.g. a sudden extremely cold snap in the weather, predators about (even too many people in her foaling box) then she'll 'hold off'

                            Having said all that, the way to determine when the foal is due and if its live is to have a good equine vet who specialises in equine reproduction and to utilise regular scanning techniques. These are, in my experience pretty much spot on nowadays.

                            From what is described though there's nothing to indicate any problem though. Things to check or be aware of are foetal heart beat, abnormal discharge, raised temperature, very restless mare(though its difficult to determine 'normal' and 'very' when she's advanced stage?)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Maybe this will set your mind a little easier. I too know they have no due dates, but I count days and go by what I see. I had a mare that went 350days this year and her previous foals were 333, 335, 337. This same mare never ever had wax or even had her milk change to white until after foaling. This year we had wax for 2 days. All of the stallions have been different. So basically everything was new this year, but baby was perfectly fine and healthy.

                              Then here's a good one. For the first time I had a mare expecting to the same stallion. The 2007 foal was born on day 334 at 11:30am. My 2008 foal was born on day 334 at 11:15am. Geez have to hand it to her she was very consistent on these 2 boys.

                              I think she should be fine, but talk with your vet if you're worried.

                              Terri
                              COTH, keeping popcorn growers in business for years.

                              "I need your grace to remind me to find my own." Snow Patrol-Chasing Cars. This line reminds me why I have horses.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                We are all exceedingly lucky to have someone like Kathy posting. I've often wondered how she has the patience to go over the same info again and again. She is exceedingly generous with her time both on the boards and in my private email exchanges with her.

                                I'm sure she read your question. Day 358 is not that "late" even if you were going off the average of 340. Different breedings will result in different results even if the mare and sire are the same. Mares will often follow the same pattern but not always as you are finding.

                                If you are worried about it have the mare palped although I woulnd't palp such a late term mare unless I really needed to.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Well the one thing this business will teach you is humility. While all mares have ranges for delivery - they are not locked into dates. If the mare has no other negative symptoms - LEAVE HER ALONE.

                                  Kathy is right - some foals don't have a lot of room at the end - so visible movement from the outside is often not something you will see.
                                  Summit Sporthorses Ltd. Inc.
                                  "Breeding Competition Partners & Lifelong Friends"

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by Fantastic View Post
                                    To those of you who have sadly experienced this, did you seen signs that indicated something was wrong? Did the mare bag up normally?
                                    Last year my mare Sunny's Colors had a stillborn at 325 days. To answer above question, I saw ZERO signs that anything was wrong or amist and she had ZERO bag when we found the foal still warm in the field.

                                    That morning she was fed and eat her entire breakfast and was turned out about 9:30 AM, at 3:00 PM I saw vultures circling in my back field and got that OMG sick feeling and dashed down the hill toward the vultures...I found a fully formed and gorgeous palomino sabino foal still warm but dead. She was born down hill so all fluid had drained out of the lungs upon the birth, the placenta was completely off and the mare was franticly licking her foal and nugging it trying to get a response from the filly. I took both the foal and the placenta to Morven Park Equine Hospital and they ran 600.00 worth of test on the foal and found everything "normal." So no placentitis, no birth defects and no fescue poisioning...NOTHING!!! I will never know why this mare aborted a very health foal at 325 days.

                                    This year being so frantic over what had happened last year..I started bring her in at night and watching her under cameras and moved her to a field where I could see her no matter where she was in the field...if I left I left her under Cams and my cell number with several people to call me if they thought anything was up. She did foal another beautiful palomino sabino filly this year. She carried this filly 339 days, she carried her first filly by the same stallion 340 days and one colt by another stallion 350 days. So I believe for this mare 325 was too early for this mare and stallion como. I will never know what happened, but I now believe she slipped or got kicked or something not normal happened that day to cause an early foaling for her at 325 days. I normally don't bring a mare in to watch so closely at 320 days unless I see signs of impending foaling.

                                    This year I did have one mare I started watching at 320 days, since she was bagging up and showing signs and had foaled others 325 days on the past..so I try to know the mares carrying record as far has what is normal for her days carried.

                                    Hope that helps!
                                    Zillionair Cremello JC Thoroughbred & Pure White Gold All White Palomino Dual Thoroughbred & APHA
                                    http://www.norsire.com
                                    Live Streaming Foaling Cam
                                    http://www.cyberfoaling.com/webcams/norsire2

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      No real input to add. But I'm interested to hear that mares can vary so vastly in their gestation length from year to year. At most I've had 3 births from a couple of mares and 2 from several. All of the girls had the same gestation length each year with in 5-10 days or less. I would also have been concerned if one of my girls that normally goes 2 weeks early (by text book standards) went far beyond her normal gestation. I'm glad to know that it happens and is o.k. most of the time. Thanks for posing the question Fantastic and thanks to everyone else for the great info! Kathy your insight is always appreciated.
                                      www.freewebs.com/roppelstables

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Blonde Filly View Post
                                        That morning she was fed and eat her entire breakfast and was turned out about 9:30 AM, at 3:00 PM I saw vultures circling in my back field and got that OMG sick feeling and dashed down the hill toward the vultures...I found a fully formed and gorgeous palomino sabino foal still warm but dead. She was born down hill so all fluid had drained out of the lungs upon the birth, the placenta was completely off and the mare was franticly licking her foal and nugging it trying to get a response from the filly. I took both the foal and the placenta to Morven Park Equine Hospital and they ran 600.00 worth of test on the foal and found everything "normal." So no placentitis, no birth defects and no fescue poisioning...NOTHING!!! I will never know why this mare aborted a very health foal at 325 days.
                                        I have had two stillborn foals in my carreer breeding horses. Neither one would I say was any sign. Last mare that had a stillborn this year did have white milk for six days with occasional slight leaking. But nothing horrible.

                                        However on another note, and a sad note. I am the mother of three little girls. My first daughter was stillborn. For me everything was normal. Normal kicking one day, woke up the next morning 33 1/2 weeks to a very "quiet" baby. I talked to my mother who said babies slow down. Had an appointment the next day to hear "no heartbeat". They estimated she died Sunday night, I have a feeling it was Saturday night the night before no activity. So I guess my point is and I'm sure if you talk to any mother of a stillborn child you don't know. I beat myself up because "I" was the only one with Jordan. But you have no clue. They ran a battery of tests on her and did an autopsy and nothing was ever found to be the cause. No cord accident, perfect placenta, nothing wrong. My next two girls were fine but the last came out with the cord wrapped around her neck. So I figure if I don't know what happened and every other parent of a stillborn child doesn't know. How can we even start to questionif there are signs for a mare? For a mother they say if you don't get the kicks GO TO THE DOCTOR, but mare's don't do that that I can tell! My mare is now at 351 days and we are waiting!
                                        Maria Hayes-Frosty Oak Stables
                                        Home to All Eyez On Me, 1998 16.2 Cleveland Bay Sporthorse Stallion
                                        & FrostyOak Hampton 2008 Pure Cleveland Bay Colt
                                        www.frostyoaks.com

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