Breeding Horses II
Mini Horse Breast Pump -
This works really slick for those times when you may need to milk a mare to
feed a foal. You take a large syringe (60 cc) and take the plunger out. Cut off
the end that has the tip on it so the plunger will fit into that end (just
reverse of the end it originally went into). Put the plunger into the end you
cut off. Pull the plunger back about 1/2 inch to start the suction. Put the open
end tightly against the teat and slowly pump the plunger back and forth. When
you get about an inch or two of milk, pour it into a container and start over
again. This works easy and fast (much better than doing it by hand). When I
showed it to my vet the last time she was here and our colt wouldn't nurse, she
was going to extract the milk by hand and tube the baby. Well I talked her into
trying this and she was amazed !!! I really works well. Hope this little hint
works for you, as it does save time and is so easy to make.
Testing RH factor in new born foals
Testing RH factor in new born foals- "I would say that you have about a 50/50 chance of survival. That has been about the results of the ones that we have had with the same problem. I try to do a simple test, which you might want to do in the future....take a drop of blood from the foal (I get it when the umbilical chord breaks) and mix with a drop of colostrum from the mare. If it mixes and stays mixed, everything is okay. If it separates and appears to curdle, which it will do very quickly, do NOT LET THE FOAL NURSE but get the vet there IMMEDIATELY to give the foal IGG, or an artificial colostrum or colostrum from another mare. Then keep the foal with the mare, but muzzled for 48 hours and bottle feed with another milk source. Milk the mare so that she won't stop making milk. After the colostrum is gone the foal can start nursing without danger. It is only the antibodies in the colostrum that fights the foals immune system." (re-printed from L'il Beginnings Miniature Horse Forum)
NI is a condition in which antibodies are produced by the mare against the foal’s red blood cells causing red blood cell destruction and anemia in the foal. This is very similar to Rh factor in human pregnancy when the father passes Rh positive status to the baby and the mother is Rh negative; her body makes antibodies against the ‘foreign’ Rh factor. Almost always, NI occurs with mares who have had multiple foals, and is more likely in the mare’s second foal by the same stallion. Horses have many blood groups, and it is not uncommon to cross a mare and stallion with different blood types and not have a problem. Certain of the blood types are more likely to cause NI than others; mares that do not have a Qa or Aa blood type, and are bred to stallions with Qa or Aa are the most likely to develop problems. If the mare is exposed to the ‘foreign’ blood type either from placental problems during pregnancy or from blood contamination at foaling, her body develops antibodies against the blood type. If the exposure occurs at foaling, the antibody response takes long enough to build that the current foal will not be affected. The next foal by that stallion (or another stallion with that blood type) would be affected because the antibodies are already in the colostrum and absorbed through the foal’s intestines in the first hours of life.
How will you know if you have an NI foal? Usually these foals are born normal, nurse well, and then begin to go downhill within the first few days of life. At their foal check, they usually have adequate passive transfer of antibodies (IgG levels). As the anemia progresses, they become weak, uninterested in nursing, have elevated heart and respiratory rates, and their mucous membranes (eyes and gums) will become yellow with bilirubin, a byproduct of red blood cell destruction. In milder cases, supportive care may be enough to get the foal through the event. Preventing nursing from the mare while providing supplemental feeding, avoiding dehydration, and keeping the foal as low-stress as possible is important. Antibiotics and steroids can be used to prevent infection and reduce the antibody response respectively. After 36-48 hours of life, the intestinal tract of the foal will no longer absorb antibodies from the mare’s milk, antibodies in the milk have declined dramatically, and nursing can be safely reintroduced. If the disease causes severe anemia, a blood transfusion will be required. The ideal donor is the foal’s dam, but the red blood cells must be ‘washed’ to remove all antibodies contained in her plasma. Other donors may be used but cross-matching is important to prevent making the problem worse.
Prevention of NI is possible with a bit of planning ahead. Blood typing the mare and stallion is easily performed with a small amount of blood. If the stallion is bred to many mares, he may already be typed. The mare’s first pregnancy is usually ‘safe’ unless she has had a blood transfusion in the past. In these cases, compatibility should also be checked. If the stallion is positive for Aa or Qa blood type, the mare is negative, and this is not her first foal (a foal by the same stallion is higher risk but remember, previous stallions may have had these blood types and resulted in exposure), she should be considered ‘high risk’ for an NI foal and steps taken in accordance.
Joint Ill - From Miniature Horse Forum -
When a foal is
born, if the umbilical cord becomes contaminated, then the infection goes
straight into the bloodstream. Remember when a foal is born, the umbilical cord
is still functioning as an artery and vein system to supply oxygenated blood to
the foal while it is inside the womb. At the time of birth, the cord will break
and the exposed area on the cord, for a few minutes, can get dirty with
environmental germs and debris. That goes straight directly into the foal's
bloodstream. The foal's immature immune system does not know what to do with
this invasion so the immune system shunts the infection to a safe place away
from the heart, brain and so forth....the safest alternative is the joints, and
the farther away from the body, the better.
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