Red Bag + dystocia. What could I have done differently? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 18 Old 02-19-2011, 01:07 PM Thread Starter
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Red Bag + dystocia. What could I have done differently?

Looking for opinions and suggestions about how I could have improved the outcome of this situation. I'm still so upset and shaken by it. 1st mare of the year. The mare was due with her 5th foal and had never had any issues in the past. SHe was showing obvious signs of impending foaling so I ate supper in the office and watched her on camera. She lay down and I went to check on her. She was pushing and no gush of fluid. Uh oh. BIG push reveals obvious red bag. UH OH. Speed dial boss to call vet as I rummage for surgical scissors and gloves. Cut placenta reach in to find feet. Find ONE foot and a nose. Crap. From here I sort of went on autopilot adn just went with what felt right. I admit I was freaking out inside, but I reached in and found one leg to indeed be back. Pushed protruding leg back and grabbed behind the knee of the bent leg and followed down and found the foot. Between contractions the leg was corrected. Mare was standing at this point and I was begging her to lay down and birth this baby as I held the feet and could barely see the little nose. SHe did lay down and I applied LOTS of traction down-left, down-right with pushes and straight downward traction between pushes. Foal out withing about 8 minutes of cutting the placenta and was listless with no tone. Stimulation and suction and bubs is breathing but looks terrible. Vet arrives and placenta is delivered and has obvious calcification and retained pieces. Maternal side of placenta looked horrible. Transport both to university and last I heard mare is "OK" and foal is touch and go.

I'm just sick about this. I feel responsible and my boss is PISSED that this good mare and a very valuable baby (Full sibling was high-seller at a yearling sale last year) are hanging in the balance. I'm not sure if he's mad at me or the situation. I just need to know what I could do differently if I ever come up against this again. I'm normally so hands off in foaling, this was pretty foreign to me so I will take any advice to heart in order to keep my mares and babies safe.

~Lindsay~ Mom of 2, wife to the goldsmith, doula and childbirth educator in training, life-long horse dork
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post #2 of 18 Old 02-19-2011, 06:13 PM
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I foal watched for three years at 2 major horse farms. I've seen alot of red bags and different problems with foaling. You did exactly as you should have. I commend you for jumping in and not getting paniced. I'm sure the owner is just mad that this happened. It has nothing to do with you. You would have been upset too if the foal was yours. Heck, you're upset and the foal Isn't yours. Unfortunately this is the way nature works. Some things aren't meant to be. We only can do all we can do and that's it. You did all you could do. I'm sorry this happened to the little baby.
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post #3 of 18 Old 02-19-2011, 06:43 PM
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Oh, what a horrible experience. I don't know of anything you could have done different so I just wanted to offer my support. I'm sure that the boss isn't mad at you, from the sound of it, you did everything that could have been done and at least you got both mom and baby through the birth alive. Whether the baby makes it is in the hands of the vet and mother nature now.

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post #4 of 18 Old 02-19-2011, 08:15 PM Thread Starter
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Last report is that mom is OK after removing the remanents of the placenta. She had some bleeding as well so was transfused and is perking up. Baby is on his feet now but is on IV fluids and being bucket fed. He has a very weak suck but the vets say it should improve as he gains his strength.

I'm SORE from that birth! My arms and back are roasted. When I corrected the leg I think I had some adrenaline going on! Need to see the chiro.

Thanks for the support. I still feel SOOO bad about this but don't know what I could have done differently. I attend human births as well and I have never been so scared even with a woman having issues in labour. Is it wierd that I'm more confident with human births than horses? I think it's because when I attend a woman she can communicate with me and I can talk to her. We can work together. The mares...well, you just sort of have to guess and follow your gut and hope they co-operate!

~Lindsay~ Mom of 2, wife to the goldsmith, doula and childbirth educator in training, life-long horse dork
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post #5 of 18 Old 02-19-2011, 11:57 PM
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Exactly, you go with your gut and you always wind up doing the right thing. You're probably a very good nurse, you see what needs to be done and you just do it and think about it later. That's how I am. The baby will be fine. Red bags are always slow to come around. I give you credit on birthing people; I couldn't do that. I think horses having foals are beautiful but I've watched videos of people and quite honestly I think it's discusting. I've never had kids, just animals.
I hope you get to the chiro, and take a couple hot baths. You just pushed around 100 lbs and manauvered it through a 12 in hole. What do you want. lol Take care and be happy.
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post #6 of 18 Old 02-20-2011, 07:32 AM
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You did it right, it's important to get a red bag foal out FAST, and you knew how to correct the position to make that happen: good job! Hope the foal will be ok!
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post #7 of 18 Old 02-20-2011, 05:24 PM
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It's good to hear positive reports for the mare and improvements for the foal.

What should you have done, well all anyone of us can do is our best, and it's sounds like you did your best, and it sounds like it's a very knowledgeable best

You didn't stand back and hope it would be OK, you knew that you had to help, and quickly. You knew how to help, and were quick to get the foal into the right position for delivery and then pulled with the mare and in the right way, so it sounds to me like you had all bases covered.

If you had done nothing, or if you had waited for help to arrive that foal would have been lost for sure, so you saved a life there, and that's about as good as it gets.
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post #8 of 18 Old 02-20-2011, 05:42 PM
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I'm in awe. It sounds like you saved the life of a valuable mare **and** foal by your quick thinking and skilled action. It certainly would have been a very different story if you hadn't been able to do what you did!
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post #9 of 18 Old 02-20-2011, 06:13 PM
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Agree with all the previous posters. Sounds like you did a fabulous job in a terrible situation. In someone else's hands, the owners would have certainly lost the foal, and possibly the mare as well.

The one time I dealt with a placenta previa foal, it was also a month early and we lost the foal.
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post #10 of 18 Old 02-20-2011, 07:28 PM
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I pray that I never have to race a red bag, but I know the odds are that one day it will happen and I hope that I can be as cool and focused as you appeared to be.

You would have been firmly in the home stretch if the dystocia hadnt happened - if you were simply dealing with a Red Bag and a normal presentation.

You got whammied with everything here and you handled it very very well

I'd be upset too - we all would - but thanks your efforts and quick thinking we are all crossing our fingers that Mom and Baby have both been saved ...

Good job ...
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