This is the post for Thursday, 7 April 2011, really!
Part of the reason I was unable to finish my blog post last night was I got a call from Rachel with some really sad news. She had a horse that was due to have a foal in the next few days. She noticed the horse in labor and thought; well I guess we'll have a baby here shortly (unlike humans, once you can tell a horse is in labor, delivery is only a short time away, generally less than an hour or two). She kept a sharp eye on the mare and noticed that things did not seem to be progressing normally, but the discomfort of the mare was definitely increasing. She checked her as best she could ( because of her profession as a Vet Tech, her checking is pretty good) and called the Vet to come on out. The office she works for has three Vets, but only one really specialized in large animals. Unfortunately, he was not the one who showed up. The Vet that came out gave the horse the human equivalent of aspirin and told her he thought she would have a new baby by morning, Rachel was not convinced. As luck would have it ( now you all know I don't believe in nonsense like luck or coincidence) the other Vet (the one who does specialize in large animals) showed up. He like Rachel thought there was more of a problem. After a lot of technical stuff they found that the horse had was is called Uterine Torsion, which means her uterus had gotten twisted and there was absolutely no way she could deliver the foal, also the blood supply and oxygen to the foal was now cut off and it would be dying, which would also kill the mare. They made a tough decision and shot the mare and did an emergency c-section ( a rather gruesome procedure, done quickly and with very little finesse). The foal was alive but weak and even thought they made major attempts to save him, he only lived one hour.
When you breed animals you are able to enjoy the success of seeing new life come into the world but, unfortunately this is the other side of the coin and although this particular condition, this Uterine Torsion is very rare, death of both newborns and mares is not unheard of. My heart just breaks for Rachel. It is so incredibly sad to me that she had to go through this. She had the misfortune of having to shoot another horse a few years ago. This particular horse had contracted West Nile Virus and was in the final agonizing stages, where it could not be saved under any circumstances, the Vet at that time could not get to her for a couple of hours and rather than see the horse suffer further, Rachel shot it. I had hoped and prayed that she would never have to do something like that again. My heart breaks for her to have to have experienced this trauma where she lost both the foal and the mare. Needless to say she is also heartbroken.
If you subscribe to Rachel's blog you can read it in her own words, but it is much more emotional, so be warned and have your tissues ready.
This picture I posted is just a picture of one of my horses with her baby taken a few years ago.
I did have a topic that I wanted to talk about today, but I think I'll save it for tomorrow. I found that after writing about Rachel's sad experience, I feel emotionally drained all over again.