please help, i think i must pts my foal

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please help, i think i must pts my foal

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    07-21-2009, 06:47 PM
please help, i think i must pts my foal

He is 5 weeks old, and for the first week or two I didn't notice anything wrong. Then over the last while I had noticed some times when he is sucking that there would be a small amount of milk in his nose after he let go of her. It got worse, aand we (me and vet) thought he was just being greedy and rushing his food, he'd be gulping and gulping, and I would make him stop and he'd be fine, the vet hadn't seen it, but he's thriving almost too well, and very very healthy looking so we all thought-greedy foal. Last sat he was sedated, as he has foot extensions on to correct slightly crooked legs, and as he was coming round, he was trying to suck and all the milk was coming out his nose, the vet saw that, and we thought-he must still be more dopey than we thought. So I watched him for a hour and only allowed him to suck a tiny mount at a time. Later than night I checked on him, and he was choking, which we rectified, but he had a rough night that night. THe next day he was a lot better, but coughing a little, with his breathing a little noisy, we assumed, after the choke incident he had a sore throat, and by the next day, with very close monitoring his breathing was much better. It was then I noticed the mare had a lot of milk, and sat with him for several hours to see what was going on now.....
While suckling, he is now gulping and gasping a lot, with a lot more milk running from his nose and also his mouth, as he is caught for reath he opens his mouth and it comes back out. HE is now not milking her dry as he was, because it is too uncomfortable for him.
I had him to a very reputable equine vet today, and he was scoped, and he doesn't have a classic cleft palate, he has a form of I. There is a bit at the back of it that did not develope-like a chunk missing, as apposed to a gap in the middle.
The vet said there is no surgery ot treatment, he suggested that I try to get him onto milk pellets and off the mare within the next two months, because as the foal is growing it is making the problem worse for him because of the angle he must put his head as to suck...
He has suggested that the foal will probably grow to cope with it, if he always gets fed from the ground etc. But I was so upset I forgot to ask how it would affect his performance as an adult-if he makes it that far.
Obviously if he starts to aspirate too much milk he will get phneumonia and will not survive that, but I will put him to sleep before it gets that far. If I go to the effort and stress for both of us, of weaning him early and feeding him from a bucket in order to prevent him choking, I would want to know first if he actually has any chance of a decent quality of life.....i'm broken hearted, he is such a sweet sweet foal, and sooo stunning....but the last day or two with the stress of being examined and traveling etc have had their toll, and he has ben coughing a bit more today...the vet also scoped his tracea and said he could only see a very small amount of milk at the very top, but it's probable only a matter of time....
PLEASE, has anyone ANY good news stories about simular situations???? I'm so so desperate for a little bit of hope........
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    07-21-2009, 07:08 PM
Green Broke
I've never personally dealt with or heard of this, but the biggest concern in orphaned foals is not getting enough nutrients. However, that's usually because the mother is dead. I think you guys could easily have a good shot at defeating this if you have the time and patience to become his mommy. Wean him off his dam, but continue milking her. It may take her awhile to get used to this, and as she's not like a cow, you may have to include some milk replacement, but the important thing is he's gotten past those crucial few weeks of really NEEDING his moms milk. If it's the angle that's the issue, start teaching him how to drink milk out of a bucket.

The only problem is he'll be on a round the clock schedule for at least the next couple of months. I don't think the situation is hopeless, but definitely examine how much work you're willing to put into this and if his quality of life can be good once he gets past the suckling issues. Will this affect him later in life trying to drink water for example?

Good luck, I hope you find a resolution.
    07-21-2009, 07:14 PM
I agree with Miko. I don't think its hopeless as long as you are willing to put in the time and effort. Nothing is 100% guaranteed, but anyone who breeds knows that. I think he has a great chance, its a personal decision as to if he's worth your effort.
    07-21-2009, 07:32 PM
Oh i'll sleep all night with him if that's what it takes, the problem really is, do I put him through all the stress of that, unnecessarily, if he will never be able to be ridden or compete. It is very probable (the vet said) that he will have a bit of a problem in later life with food/water going the wrong way, but he MIGHT learn to cope with in, meaning, cough before it gets to his lungs....he will always be at high risk of lung problems and infections, because of food etc getting to his lungs, he will be a very high maintenance horse, that I will never be able to sell, and may never even be able to ride. It is a very expensive to think of keeping him for his entire life, just because I wouldn't let nature take over and end his life. I obviously do not want to do that, but also, how comfortable will his life be, if every time he eats or drinks water, there is the chance he could choke, and I have already 11 horses, and keeping, one more, expensive, high maintenance horse, simply as a pet...........i just don't know what to do, I do know I don't want him to suffer, or only have hafe a quality life, with coughs and lung problems........but I also don't know if there is a chance that as he grows, his palate will grow and close over a bit more. There is no research because it is so rare. I feel like giving up, I never have any luck, and it is my horses that feel the brunt of that, I do the best in the whole world for them, the best of everything, but it never goes right......
    07-21-2009, 08:05 PM
But if you let nature take over he would likely already be dead and with crooked legs. That argument makes no sense when you really think about it.

I really think that if he means that much to you, go for it. This is not something that someone else can tell you.

I don't think you won't ever be able to sell him either. There are people, it is rare, that do keep horses as pets and do take good care of them.

If you want my personal opinion, here it is. When you breed an animal you have to take into consideration everything that could go wrong, and think about what you would do. If it were I I would keep it, go through everything. He won't be suffering that much, I don't think. And if it turns out well, then he could possibly be a wonderful horse. If a HYPP horse can exist then this guy shouldnt be an issue.
    07-21-2009, 08:16 PM
I agree, whole heartidly...but have to thrash out every possibility, I think also i'm not expressing very well, that for the past few days, every time he takes milk, he is choking, coughing, cannot breath for several seconds, it does appear very uncomfortable and he is coughing more and more each time. My problem is for his welfare I must decide asap, and just don't want to cause him to suffer more, by going through with weaning him, which I cannot do until he will drink from a bucket, so more time suffering, and end up with a foal, that after all that, is no better. I know....i gotta try....i just wish there was some expert on this that could say oh yeah good chance that'll sort him, or, oh no we tried that and it didn't.....most of my 11 horses are pets!! As in don't 'work' I have several that were rescued by me from bad situations etc, my biggest concern is his welfare and quality of life.....
I don't know what is HYPP horse?
His half brother was born with bilateral scrotal hernia as well as umbilical hernia, and that of course was not a welfare issue, as it was easily rectified with surgery so there was no quesetion (let me just state that the mare has only had these two foals, has no defect herself, have 100% ideal care and nutrition for entire pregnancy's, and very expensive, 1st class sires-AND will not be having any more foals.....)
I'm grateful to you, because you are telling me what my heart needs to hear and wants to hear, it is just my head is seeking the scientific agruements!!!! THANK YOU!!!
    07-21-2009, 08:21 PM
I just found the word the vet used-hypoplasia of soft palate, and now after 1 hour of scouring the net I can find nothing about it, only bad bad news.......i just feel like bundling the poor baby up and bringing him into my bed for a cuddle and making it all better!!!!! Think i'm cracking up.....!!!!
    07-21-2009, 08:23 PM
Oh wow. I didnt know it was an everytime thing. I'm a skimmer reader, sorry.

Im really sorry you are going through this. Woud you be able to bottle feed him? You said that with his head at less of an angle he drinks better. You could accomplish this with a bottle then take a bit longer to get him drinking from a bucket.
    07-21-2009, 08:30 PM
I have some links. They might not be the same thing, but they seem helpful.

Dorsal Displacement of the Soft Palate

Brachycephalic Syndrome - WSAVA 2008 Congress

One is about dogs, and again, not sure if its the right thing exactly. But it seems more common in short nosed dogs and they can do surgery on dogs (I think. Again I skimmed haha)
    07-21-2009, 09:04 PM
Green Broke
This is not an easy situation to deal with, nor is the decission going to be easy either. You have some questions that need to be addressed by your vet to help you make an informed decission. If he will not be able to be more than a very expensive and fragile pasture pet then better to find out that now for both your sakes.

How much money will it cost for his care down the road is a major consideration. His health, will he be prone to lung infections?

Mother Nature has a way of "culling" what wasn't ever meant to be. We in our good intentions tend to interfere with this, and not always with good end results.

Sometimes, our heads need to make these very tough decissions, not our hearts.

Good luck to you, and keep us posted on what you do decide to do. Know you will be supported either way. Until we find ourselves in your shoes, not one of us can judge or find fault.

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