DISCLAIMER: We are not Veterinarians or trained professionals, we only wish to share with you our experience, so when others find themselves in the same situations with their beloved horses, they will have to act more quickly, and the chances for the foal's survival heightened. *The information about Red bag delivery is sourced from websites, and all links will be shared below.
Please consult with your Veterinarians first.
This is Venus, she is a 4 years old purebred Arabian Mare, having her first foal, exactly 11 months to the date, after she was impregnated by our Arabian stallion, Rocky. Her pregnancy was normal, and as a young horse, she would be happy and playful when out roaming the fields
with her best friend Phi Mai and the rest of the herd.
At the late stage of her pregnancy, few weeks before foaling, we noticed that she started walking slower, and seemed like her hooves were sore, we thought it might be due to the extra weight she had gained, combined with that she just had her hooves trimmed. Otherwise, she seemed healthy and happy as usual.
On the early morning of the 10th of September, Joe was at the stable doing the morning chores, where he noticed that Venus had gone into labor. The birth went quite quick, taking no longer than 1 hour, and at the last stage of the birth, we noticed that Venus was gotten very exhausted, and decided to help her with the last push.
At the beginning of the foaling, we noticed that it was all red, we had never seen this before, nor had any experience with what they call a Red Bag Delivery, and this resulted in that we had to learn about it the hard way...
Due to the excitement of a newborn foal, and that everything seemed to look good on the surface, the red and unusual placenta and questions around it were pushed to the back of our minds, with having to continue our daily chores with the animals and family.
The foal was standing on his hooves within an hour and was sucking off Venus´s teats. Know we know that reason why we saw the red bag first, was due to that a portion of the placenta had detached from the uterine wall prematurely, in this situation, the red bag appears as a red bag hanging from the vulva,
wherein normal births, this red bag will come to follow after the foal about 1-3 hours after birth. There are 2 bags during the foaling process, the red bag called chorioallantois, and the white bag called the amnion. The red bag is the one attached to the uterine wall and allows the exchange of nutrients and waste back and forth to the fetus through the umbilical cord. The white bag surrounds the fetus and has many functions, including lubrication and protection.
*The information about Red bag delivery is sourced from websites, and all links will be shared below.
Please consult with your Veterinarians first In situations with Red bag Delivery, one should tear open the white bag and deliver the fetus promptly as it may be short on oxygen due to the early placental separation.
The foal should be watched carefully for signs of hypoxia (oxygen deprivation) or infection. Reasons for that a Red bag delivery is that the mare has either contracted an infection such as virus, bacterial, etc, and therefore the detachment of the placenta.Please read more about it on this website: https://www.intechopen.com/chapters/50404
And sadly in our case, it seemed like this was a stroke of double bad luck, the foal was already infected through his mother, where Joe later in the evening noticed that the milk coming out of Venus was brownish and see-through, meaning that the foal never received the very important first milk, called colostrum. Again, this was something we had not seen before and thought that perhaps this was due to Venus being a young mare, and decided to let her continue feeding to stimulate her to start producing milk.
At that moment the foal seemed fine, and was active and behaved normally. The day after, Joe noticed some concerning signs, in the morning when he saw the foal, the foal had pus under his eyes, also something we had not seen before.
The foal at this moment was still active and sucking off Venus´s teats.
But Joe´s intuition told him to find out more about the milk, and when he could not get a hold of the club´s veterinarian for consultation, he called another friend of his, who also was a Veterinarian and has a horse farm with over 100 thoroughbreds and lots of experience.
Joe consulted about the milk being brownish yellowish, and his friend could confirm that this milk had no nutrients, using the term, bad milk.
And was suggested to use formulas for the foal, or try to milk the other mare who is already feeding her foal.
So in the late afternoon of the 11th of September, we went to milk Valencia, using our daughter's milk bottle, not the ultimate bottle, but at least better than nothing. Valencia was easy to milk, but when we were feeding Venus´s foal, we noticed that he seemed very weak, even though he drank all the milk, it seemed like at this point it was already too late.
The morning after when Joe went down the stable, he found Venus´s foal barely breathing at the same spot he had laid down the night before and was about to take his lasts breaths. It was a very sad moment for all of us, not only was this Venus´s first foal, but it was also the first chestnut colt of the stud.
As Cat wrote in a private post earlier, Life and death come and go, hand in hand so do joy and sorrow. This is the sad part of life and a reminder that we all have to part one day, just like my father, who would´ve been 82 years today, the same day as our colt died, is that him too, was born, and had to part from us... Sometimes it feels like the life we live, is a dream, and we only wake up when there´s birth and death... all in between is just a blurry dream.
Goodbye for now little Pegasus, we hope you will find your way back to heaven quickly. We wish we could have done more for you, and we will always remember you. We hope that sharing with you our story of the loss of little Pegasus, and the signs of abnormal Placenta, Pus and Milk, could help others to act more quickly. We know that the next time seeing these signs is to prepare Formulas, bottles, medicine for the foal to increase some percentage of survival, though in cases with Red Bag Deliveries they often are very small chances for survival...
Sincerely Catarina and Joe
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