Premature Horse Birth Related Problems
 By Winniefield Park   •   6th Dec 2016   •   1,369 views   •   0 comments

In mid-November, a Pennsylvania newspaper ran a story about a foal that was born six weeks too early. The due date of a foal is usually an eagerly anticipated event, but Mother Nature isnít always cooperative. In this case, the owner arrived in her barn to find a foal she initially thought was dead with a temperature so low it didnít register on the thermometer. Being born too early presents some real obstacles to surviving and growing strong enough to live a healthy life. Often they need the veterinary equivalent of an intensive care nursery to help them.

Related: Pennsylvania horse born 6 weeks premature

The average gestation length for a mare is 341 days, just a few days over 11 calendar months. Some mares will wait a bit longer or hurry a few weeks earlier, so anywhere between 320 and 365 days is considered normal. A foal that is born before 320 days is considered premature, although even some foals born after this time period can still show signs of prematurity - a condition called dysmature. Premature births may happen because the mare has for some reason been induced either intentionally or naturally and the foal is born before it is fully ready. The most common natural reason a mare foals too early is an infection of the placenta. Occasionally, itís wise to artificially induce a mare if she has any sort of pre-existing condition that might make foaling difficult.

There are some very obvious signs of a premature foal. Preemies will have floppy ear tips, bulging eyes, and very soft fur. This is because many of the foalís tissues are not fully formed. They may not be able to stand because their bones and joints have not finished forming. If they do stand, they are in danger of damaging their legs. The weight of their own little bodies can crush the soft joints and bones of their legs, causing damage that can lead to lifelong unsoundness.

Because their digestive and respiratory systems have not grown yet, they are susceptible to difficulties when eating and breathing. Some foals may have to be resuscitated when they are born and will need special diets and feeding until they are able to eat on their own. Their suckling reflex may not be developed and they will not be able to stay upright long enough to nurse properly. This can mean it may not get enough of the immune boosting first milk, or take in enough to maintain energy and continue growing

Preemie foals are more likely to get lung infections. Their lungs may not expand and contract properly. To add to their breathing problems, they can have extra fluid in their lungs. Normally, while a foal that is born full-term makes itís way out the confines of the birth canal, fluid is expressed from its tissues. The premature foal is not Ďsqueezedí in this way, and may retain fluid in the lungs.

Because they are born with very little body fat, keeping warm can be a problem. This means too, that unless their stores of energy are kept up with vigilant feeding, usually with a feeding tube, they can weaken quickly.

With so many of their bodily functions undeveloped, premature foals have a poor chance of survival. In the wild, they wouldnít. Some vet clinics and hospitals have the facilities to nurse these fragile babies along. They need to be tube fed frequently and kept warm and still. Their movement is restricted to protect their delicate joints and bones. Even then, infection, constipation, and other complications can make life difficult. Even a foal that looks like it is thriving can have a sudden setback. The treatment of a premature foal will take weeks and can be very costly.
Horse News More In This Category:  General      Horse News More From This Author:  Winniefield Park
 More News by Winniefield Park
Gaza Riders Back in the Saddle After COVID Lockdown
11th Jul 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
The COVID19 lockdown meant many of us werenít able to ride, or were not able to ride as we normally would. Like many organizations around the world, the Palestine Equestrian Federation placed restrictions on the types of activitie ...
Kentucky Derby Horse Drugging Probe Ongoing
10th Jul 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Bob Baffert, trainer of five Kentucky Derby winning horses is going for a sixth win. But, his efforts are shadowed by reports of horses in his care are again testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. Details are sparse as ...
RavenSide Stud TBS Home of Multiple Top Ranked Horses
5th Jul 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
RSS Break Even and RSS Identity Thief are both top ranked horses belonging to the same stables. RavenSide Stud TBS was established in 2017 and is ranked at 113 with 49,459,023 PB in earnings. Currently, there are three stallions s ...
Horse Dismounts Police in Protest Turned Ugly
4th Jul 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
During a peaceful protest that turned ugly in London, UK a police horse bolted after being pelted with debris by violent demonstrators. Flares, bottles and sticks flew as the crowd was pushed back by mounted police officers. One o ...
Horse That Survived Kentucky Horse Shooting Foals Healthy Pinto
3rd Jul 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
You might remember a story from early last winter about twenty horses in Eastern Kentucky that were shot and killed. The few survivors were taken to Kentucky Humane Societyís Willow Hope Farm to regain their health and eventually ...
Stop Petting Wild Horses
29th Jun 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Beach-goers to the Outer Banks are being asked to stay clear of the wild horses that live there after a photo of a woman appearing to pat a wild horse has surfaced. This is not an isolated incident as tourists visit the well known ...
Funny Horse Fruit Taste Test
28th Jun 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Some horses eat anything and will eat everything from anchovies to zucchini. And some are extremely picky and act like youíve poisoned them if you put anything but hay and grain in front of their noses. Have you ever tried a taste ...
Jim Gaffigan Horse Comedy
27th Jun 2020   |   General   |   Winniefield Park
Jim Gaffigan pokes fun at the Triple Crown, from the costumes and pageantry, to owners, jockeys and trainers. He then takes a humorous trek through the horse world, exploring horse breeds, horse people, horseshoes, riding and the ...
  View All News by Winniefield Park
©2002 - 2020   PonyBox LLC Create Account Advertise Terms Privacy Contact Us
178 Members Online 267,616 Registered Members 2,737 News Articles 11,635,343 Unique News Article Views 276,869,959 Website Views