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Rescuing a Foal Just in Time

I had a surprise foal born to a mare that I had recently bought in the fall. No one knew she had even been bred until about 11 days before her due date. We had noticed her bags filling up but assumed it was edema from the fresh grass that had come in. I had my vet check her just to be safe. Sure enough, the mare was late-term pregnant. The foal felt very small leading my vet to believe we had about 4-6 weeks left at least.

I woke up one morning to a barn camera going off from my gelding next to the mare. He was absolutely losing his mind. I ran outside to make sure he was okay, only to find the mare giving birth right up against the wall. Despite my absolute best efforts, I alone couldn’t pull her off the wall and she stepped on her foal getting up. Initially, it was just a nick on the skin that didn’t appear to be dramatic. No swelling or lameness. I made sure to clean it and watch it. At about 30 hours old, her leg swelled up dramatically and she had heat in the joint as well as a high fever. It was about 9pm at night. I called every single vet within 50 miles of me trying to get someone out or get my pair somewhere. I was unsuccessful. I spent all night up icing the filly’s leg praying that she’d make it to the morning. I called VE the minute they opened that next morning begging them to take her in even for a referral to a clinic.

When I arrived, they immediately had their wonderful hand Jose there to help me get my barely handled mare and 42-hour foal off the trailer for an examination. Dr. Madison Bolin was very quick to say she needed to go immediately to a clinic for the risk of being septic. Both her and the office manager Karen called every clinic trying to get the pair admitted. They were successful with Blue Ridge even though it was a 2-hour hike the other direction for me. When I got to Blue Ridge, everything on my account was already set up, and all the information needed had already been provided. I was told by the lead vet there if we hadn’t been as fast action as we were, that we would’ve lost her within hours.

After she was released from BR, Dr. Bolin stayed on top of making sure her check-ins were successful and that she was progressing in the direction of being able to have a quality of life.

I’m extremely grateful to VE for saving my filly and helping me handle a rogue mare and having the staff be able to handle neonatal foals.