Dystocia Case Study:
My phone rang at 1:30 in the morning. A dystocia (difficult birth) had been referred to the hospital by another equine veterinarian. The patient was a five year old Standardbred mare with a great race record. She was pregnant with her first foal. The owners had discovered the mare having difficulty foaling at their farm a little after 10:00 PM. The attending veterinarian had worked to deliver a live foal to no avail, the foal was already deceased. The attending veterinarian then attempted a fetotomy to remove the foal. Now the emphasis was on saving this very valuable mare. When it became clear that greater resources would be needed, the mare was referred to Conley and Koontz Equine Hospital.
I notified the rest of our team immediately. Another veterinarian and two veterinary technicians joined forces at the hospital and quickly readied equipment and supplies for any possible situation Every team member was trained, knew their part, and what was expected of them.
The mare arrived a little after 3 am. The foal was presenting three legs through the vulva. Our physical exam and initial bloodwork indicated that the mare was still in good physical condition. An IV (intravenous) catheter was placed and the mare was sedated. An attempt was made to reposition the foal. After no success the mare was anesthetized and lifted by her rear legs to allow an assisted delivery. Gravity helps pull the foal back into the uterus for easier repositioning. This method also failed.
It was quickly decided that the mare needed a cesarean section to remove the foal in order to save the mare's life. The mare's abdomen was clipped and she was placed on the surgery table. She was put on oxygen and anesthetic gas to keep her stable. Her heart rate, CO2, oxygen level, blood pressure, respiratory rate, EKG, etc. were monitored throughout surgery.
The mare's recovery went well and she was discharged from the hospital five days after surgery.
This mare suffered severe vaginal damage during the attempted delivery and fetotomy on the farm. She later sloughed much of the vaginal scarring, so it was recommended that she should no longer be allowed to foal herself. She is now in an embryo transfer program offered by the hospital.
If this mare had been at Conley and Koontz Equine Hospital for her foaling out, the hospital resources would have been available much sooner. Our expert staff would have been involved the moment the mare started the foaling process. The medical team and equipment required would be on hand so there would be no delay of medical intervention. There is a very real possibility that we could have delivered a live foal. At the very least, we could have prevented the severe uterine damage that occurred at the farm.
We offer foaling managementand neonatal care at the hospital where 24 hour around the clock surveillance is available. We also have a surgical and neonatal team on call 24 hours a day 365 days a year. Your mare and foal will receive the highest care available here at Conley and Koontz Equine Hospital.Randall Conley DVMConley and Koontz Equine Hospital877-499-9909