what to expect if twins arrive? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 02-16-2009, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
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what to expect if twins arrive?

First off, please don't tell me all about how a vet should be involved and ultra-sounds should have been done more often, etc. etc... The past is done, life has changed, it's not my horse, we're doing the best we can with what we've got available, the owner is experienced at breeding and birthing but any money right now must be saved for emergencies. So, that leaves us with her experience, my closeness and willingness and me reading whatever I can about foaling because I have no experience at all with it.

So, the mare is healthy and if only one foal is there we don't foresee any problems ('course we never do, right?) However, there is a definite possibility that there could be twins, not likely, but possible. Main contributing factors are: that the stud farm didn't do as told and breed in successive days without checking in between for multiple follicles; mare is not officially due for another 6 weeks, but has shown behaviorial signs and minor physical signs of preparation already; and mare is HUGE -- really! She hardly fit through the door when the farrier came out. She's gotta be close to 5 feet across. This will be her second (and third?) baby. One good sign though is that when the baby kicked last week, it seemed like only one... but does that really mean anything? Hmmm... dunno...

Vet is a minimum of 1/2hr away. I am only 2 minutes away and am on call to help if needed. So, my questions are:

Any good reading material out there? I'm touring the 'net and reading my vet books, but if anyone has something really good, please pass it along.

What happens when twins are born? How does this change the birthing process? Will the stronger one come first? What are the increased risk to the mare? What can/should we do before the vet arrives?

I'm sure my friend knows a lot of this stuff already with her background, but maybe I'll glean a little piece of information here that will help us.

Thanks for any advice, but please no lectures, K?
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post #2 of 11 Old 02-16-2009, 08:14 PM
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Well this might be quick, cause I SHOULD be studing for and alegbra test! Well, I would have a vet look at her, but if that is unable to be done, maybe the mare shouldn't have been bred. Not lectureing though! What I have heard is that they will fight for the first out. Most likly they will both die. They ussually don't get enough milk, and the mare might die in the birthing process, because of fatique. Think about this, would YOU want 2 of those huge babies coming out of you?! Also, they might have deformities because of not enough room in her womb. If you do get twins, you will most likly have to step in and pull the second foal out, and bottle feed one of them the colustrum that it probably wont get from the mare. Wow, that was all gloom and doom! Just pray that it won't be twins! Keep me posted please! I want to hear what's happening!

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post #3 of 11 Old 02-16-2009, 08:25 PM
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pretty much if its twins the mare and both foals will probably die.
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post #4 of 11 Old 02-16-2009, 08:48 PM
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Quite honestly I disagree with this whole, mare and foals will all die attitude. I have seen four or five sets of twins foaled and the worst that has happened is the weaker foal has been rejected by the mare.

In this case the weaker foal has gone on to be bottle fed or a nursing mare has been brought in.

I'm sure that it's possible for the mare and foals to die but I have honestly never heard of that.

Enough rambling from me.

If it is not possible to have a vet on hand, at very least make a foaling kit. You said your friend has experience with this so I am sure (s)he will think to make one up. If you'd like a list of materials i'd be more then glad to post one.
--> have extra materials in the foaling kit, if there are two, you may need more of certain items.

Have an area set up separate from the mare so that if she rejects a possible second baby you have somewhere to put it where it won't get hurt (by accident or by mistake).

When twins are foaled the foaling process is a little different in that mamma is going to be very, very tired afterwards. As stated before you may have to jump in and help get the second one out. Make sure the sac does not suffocate the babies, clean out their noses and mouths as soon as possible. Don't get in the way of the mare though, otherwise she may reject the baby.

I'm kind of having a brain stop right now, I'm forgetting what else I should or could be writing... Let us know how it goes/keep us updated! That's very exciting.
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post #5 of 11 Old 02-16-2009, 08:52 PM
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4 or 5 sets! WOW! lol sorry, i've kinda been in a gloomy mood all day

Jumping a horse = Getting wings!
Why live on the edge when you can jump off?- Greenwood Horse Trials Tee-Shirt
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post #6 of 11 Old 02-16-2009, 09:08 PM
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I know these are all draft or draft crosses but look how many there are and how well they're doing!Rural Heritage - Draft Horse Twins

Riverside, CA
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post #7 of 11 Old 02-16-2009, 09:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Solo, some good info there.

If we get confirmed evidence of twins, the vet will definitely be called, but if we only find out at the time, the vet is very far away, so any info ahead of time is good!

The foaling kit is already made up. The alarm is in the stall. I think I may make up my own foaling kit too and throw it beside my coat. Can't have too much on hand!

We sure hope it's not twins, but want to be as ready as possible, just in case.

Cross your fingers -- we still hope to have weeks to go for just ONE baby, not two before then!
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post #8 of 11 Old 02-16-2009, 09:39 PM
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No gloom and doom from me. I looked at (to purchase) a QH mare a week before she was due to foal, she looked great. Three days later she delivered unexpected twins, with no problems. Both were strong and healthy. Mom was fine too. Sure, there are increased risks, but be positive about it!
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post #9 of 11 Old 02-16-2009, 09:55 PM
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Just an FYI, I will be praying for the mare, for a safe delivery for one or two foals!

Jumping a horse = Getting wings!
Why live on the edge when you can jump off?- Greenwood Horse Trials Tee-Shirt
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post #10 of 11 Old 02-17-2009, 04:24 PM
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Growing up we had a mare that was carrying twins....

One morning we went out for chores and she was acting like she was colicy (she was 7 weeks till due)- she wouldnt eat, wanted to lay down and roll, didnt pass anything- so my parents called the vet out. Sadly our normal vet and back-up vet were not able to come out so they called the last vet in town and he was able to come out

He treated her like it was colic- put the tube down the nose (and sucked at it to boat-poor girl was bleeding), anyways after doing this he realized that she was in labor despite her water never breaking and her not having milk- and he induced labor and a colt and filly were born. the filly was born dead and the colt's lungs were way under developed and was having troubles breathing. We had two options
-bring him down to the UofM and they might be able to save him but he would probably die on the trip down
-put him down.... and thats what my parents did

there are great risks involved so I would really just keep an eye out for her- my current mare when she was pregnant she carried the baby higher which made her very wide and barely able to get into the door and she just had one

It's not the will to win, but the will to prepare to win that makes the difference.
- Paul "Bear" Bryant (Former college football coach)
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