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mini horse foaling question

Discussion in 'Birthing, Weaning, and Raising Young Horses, Mules' started by violetsky888, Sep 13, 2013.

  1. Sep 13, 2013
    violetsky888

    violetsky888 Chillin' with the herd

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    I bought a mini mare that gave birth to a foal with hyper extended knees. (bent in the wrong direction). It's possible she was short bred to to the same stallion. Is this a genetic trait, nutritional or unknown birth defect? Thanks.
     
  2. Sep 14, 2013
    treeclimber233

    treeclimber233 Loving the herd life

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    How old is your foal? Sometimes the legs look a bit funny at first but straighten up with exercise. I have seen some pretty funky legs turn out just fine.
     
  3. Sep 17, 2013
    Hardy&Healthy

    Hardy&Healthy Exploring the pasture

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    Sometimes with these little tiny babies, their tendons and such just need a little time to strengthen, and to stretch and contract in the right places. Sometimes it is corrected within an hour of birth others need a few weeks, but *most* seem to grow out of it at some point. It can be due to a genetic weakness, being inbred, or just a 'stuff-happens'. If it is impairing the foals ability to walk properly, you may want to brace the legs... So that as the tendons form/loose their elasticity, they legs are in the right position.

    BTW, pictures of cute little babies are always adored! ;)
     
  4. Sep 17, 2013
    CritterZone

    CritterZone Chillin' with the herd

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    Contract
     
  5. Sep 17, 2013
    CritterZone

    CritterZone Chillin' with the herd

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    Contracted tendons aren't uncommon in colts, but hyper-extended? Yikes! I would be interested in seeing some pictures and to hear how this plays out for the little guy. What does the vet have to say?
     
  6. Oct 4, 2013
    violetsky888

    violetsky888 Chillin' with the herd

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    Oops, I wasn't clear. The mare was sold to me after foaling. The attending vet took the foal and I'm not sure the outcome but think he did something surgical. I'm concerned because it's possible she got rebred after I bought her by the same stallion. So far I have not seen her come into season. The seller told me it was not a genetic problem, but I thought I'd ask.
     
  7. Dec 12, 2013
    w c

    w c Overrun with beasties

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    It really depends on what exactly the deformity was(in which direction the legs were too flexible and how severe it was, whether it responded to bandages and splinting or required surgery, as you think this one may have had); the vet who saw the foal and treated it is the best source of information; he may be able to look up the records his vet clinic keeps on the horses, and see what specific it deformity was and when it occurred and how severe it was.

    Vet records DO belong to the owner of the horse at the time the treatment was given, so the owner would have to call the vet and give permission for you to get a copy of the records. And yes, I'd recommend if you do get access to the records, get them in the original form...hard copies.

    Keep a little caution, as the seller may not be giving you the full story on the previous foals. That has happened to me...seller lying about a mare's reproductive history and concealing problems that occurred.

    It would also be relevant to ask if there were any other reproductive or health problems.

    Not sure if you have seen the deformity or which way the legs were going, that they shouldn't go.

    The bottom line is that everyone thinks they know what causes foals to be born with very crooked legs, but there is not much or any, research behind those opinions. The best one can do is take mares who repeatedly have severely deformed babies that don't recover, out of the broodmare bunch.

    When I worked on a breeding farm with several hundred mares, they just did not have the problem with the deformities in the legs. There were very few horses born that way on that farm. The stallion size very closely matched the mares, they were at a correct weight when bred and foaled, the mares had large pastures to move around in and weren't brought into a stall until they were just about to foal. And yet even the farm manager with 60 years of experience as a stud groom did not believe we could say why it happens. He did not discount the possibility that it was more genetic than environment.

    Not clear from your description, but it is not unusual to see newborn foals BORN with their front legs too close together at the knee when they stand up shortly after birth. What used to be called 'knock kneed'. Knees can deviate either inward (knock knees) or outward ('bow' legs).

    It's also possible to see 'windswept' foals - both forelegs look as if they have been 'blown' over to one side - one leg deforms outward, and the other foreleg is deformed toward it.

    It's also possible to see foals born with their fetlocks on the ground.

    Again, these are all at birth. There is a whole class of other leg deformities that develop after the animal is born, usually during rapid growth spurts, and often, because incorrect feed has caused too rapid a growth. These are quite different from the leg deformities foals are born with. This group of deformities can often be prevented by making sure the mother is properly fed (not overfed) and the foal is not over-fed after he is born. Feeding high calorie, high protein, high fat feeds in excess to EITHER of them can cause serious growth problems in young horses, even when the overfeeding occurs after they are weaned. Several of my friends have had to euthanize foals that they overfed. The tendons contract so they are on their tiptoes without the heels of their hoofs touching the ground, and overfeeding can also cause very severe cartilage defects in joints. There simply is a limit as to what animals can be fed, both in quantity and type.

    Regardless of the type of leg deformity or when it life it occurs, the veterinarian has to be the one who grades the deformity, evaluates its type and advises if the foal should be treated (casts, splints, bandages, possibly surgery) or be euthanized, if the situation is hopeless.

    Occasionally you hear of novice horse people, or non horse people, 'shocked' that a vet advises euthanasia for a foal, even when it seems to be getting around ok when it's quite tiny. The vet knows that when the weight of the foal starts to increase, the legs will give it terrible pain. It's important to respect the opinion of a person with long experience with these deformities. Or we can be very cruel by trying to be kind.

    But this happens because some people don't understand how big (even a mini) a horse is at maturity and what a formidable job the legs have to do to keep the animal on its feet; many don't understand that a horse with severely deformed legs is going to be in horrible pain once it grows large enough that those legs no longer support it adequately. I've seen people keep deformed foals til they were in a very bad way...starving, unable to move, suffering from horrible depression...the people thought they were being 'kind'. But severe deformities of the leg that are too severe to treat are grounds for euthenasia on humane grounds.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2013
  8. Dec 16, 2013
    violetsky888

    violetsky888 Chillin' with the herd

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    I wasn't very clear in my original question. I never saw the foal. I bought her shortly after giving birth and my understanding was the vet took the foal. My worry is, it's possible she was bred on her foal heat or shortly after and was worried she might have a genetic predisposition that makes it unwise to breed her. All the mini's at the farm looked very well cared for.. All that said it is very interesting that you(WC) mentioned working on a farm with over 100's of mares and not having a problem. I know of a woman with very expensive Lustinos (sp?) who feeds all kinds of supplements and has repeatedly had birth defects with just 2 studs and a handful of mares. I wonder if perhaps environmental factors like living next to a highway or herbicides might be causing birth defects?? The mare I got was grazing along power lines. I thought somewhere I read that relationship to power lines and cancer was debunked, but who knows. I'm going to start a new link with a problem I'm pretty sure not many have had to face. Check it out, I'm flabbergasted.
     
  9. Dec 16, 2013
    violetsky888

    violetsky888 Chillin' with the herd

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    Forgo to mention where, under PESTS and predators.
     
  10. Dec 20, 2013
    w c

    w c Overrun with beasties

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    I wasn't very clear in my original question. I never saw the foal.

    I understood that.

    I bought her shortly after giving birth and my understanding was the vet took the foal. My worry is, it's possible she was bred on her foal heat or shortly after and was worried she might have a genetic predisposition that makes it unwise to breed her. All the mini's at the farm looked very well cared for.. All that said it is very interesting that you(WC) mentioned working on a farm with over 100's of mares and not having a problem.

    The stud manager himself couldn't say it was environmental though, despite having many decades as a stud groom.

    I know of a woman with very expensive Lustinos (sp?)

    Lusitano, a breed of saddle horse originally from Spain and Portugal.

    who feeds all kinds of supplements and has repeatedly had birth defects with just 2 studs and a handful of mares.

    Supplements above and beyond what the animal needs, are a bad idea, but it would take looking at the specific products to see if she really was doing anything harmful, as so many supplements have nothing at all in them.

    I wonder if perhaps environmental factors like living next to a highway or herbicides might be causing birth defects??

    I don't think so, unless the animals are eating out of the containers the concentrate herbicide came in, or are doused with large amounts of it.

    One of the things to keep in mind is that crooked legs aren't really a 'birth defect', in the sense that MOST of the foals that look rather wonky at birth do become normal. Very few don't straighten up. Many people think it's a matter of feeding mares too much, or having them too fat, so the foal grows too big and has less ability to flip around and reposition itself.

    However, a research group that bred Shetland pony mares to large draft horses, insisted there were very few complications, and that the mare's body size limits the newborn foal's size very effectively -the foals get bigger later, after birth.


    The mare I got was grazing along power lines. I thought somewhere I read that relationship to power lines and cancer was debunked, but who knows.

    My way of looking at it is that if it isn't proven to cause cancer, it doesn't cause cancer.

    I'm going to start a new link with a problem I'm pretty sure not many have had to face. Check it out, I'm flabbergasted.

    Which subforum is this in? Is it a horse issue?