From the Foaling Barn

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It's Always Something

It was gorgeous day today, and I was so happy we had solved the problem of our high strung new mother and her hesitant foal. When I entered the foaling barn, this morning. I greeted all the mares and foals, grabbed the grain cart and began feeding. When I got to Jodie's stall I noticed something red in the bedding. On close inspection, I realized it was blood, and that there was another spot of blood on the other side of the stall, and then I saw Jodie's tail. It was streaked and matted with blood, and congealed blood was smeared across her butt. This was not what I wanted to see in a mare who was ten days from her due date. I finished feeding and then called my vet, Dr. Brian Dahms. He wanted to know if Jodie was off her feed or otherwise acting oddly (she wasn't) and whether I could tell if she was still bleeding (again, she wasn't). He said he'd be at the farm by mid morning to ultrasound Jodie to check the foal, and told me not to worry because the vast majority of late term bleeding was caused by rupture of vaginal varicose veins.
Because Jodie seemed perfectly fine, I went ahead and put her out in a small paddock where I could keep an eye on her.

When Brian arrived, we put Jodie in the stocks and Brian checked her vulva. He had opened her Casslick the week before and he checked to see if that had been the source of the bleeding. Then he ultrasounded her, first checking the foal, who was active and seemed fine. He then looked at the placenta to make sure there was no sign of placentitis, infection of the placenta. Again, it appeared normal. Next, he did a speculum exam of her vagina, where he found that she did, indeed, have a number of varicose veins, and when he withdrew the speculum there was a small amount of blood on the end. He assured me that this was quite common in late term mares and should not be a problem.

Although Jodie had no fever, Brian thought we should put her on sulfa until she foals. After our experience with Shiney and her reaction to Sulfa, Brian also thought we should give Jodie probiotics to make sure her gut stays healthy.

Remember, Jodie is the mare who has been dripping milk for the last two weeks. So after Brian left, I checked Jodie's milk to see if she might possibly be close to foaling. The calcium level was at 60 parts per ml, which, when I checked my records on her, was exactly where she was last year at two weeks from foaling.

I'm not too worried about either problem. We know she may drip out all her colostrum, so we have secured replacement colostrum. We know she has some bleeding vaginal varicose veins, and we are giving her sulfa to forestall infection. I think we're taking appropriate precautions, but you never know.

I'll update you when she foals.

This is Jodie. She's by Jodies Doc Tari out of Jacs Savage Princess (Hollywood Jac).


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