December 01, 2014

(Dan) Hey there folks, thanks for joining us today on DocTalk. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson and we’re going to have a great show. Dr. Chris Blevins has stopped by and he’s a regular guest on the show. We’re going to talk about equine obstetrics. Stay tuned and enjoy the show.

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(Dan) Well Chris, welcome to the show. (Chris) Thanks for having me. (Dan) Folks, Dr. Chris Blevins is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Clinical Services here at Kansas State University and he is the Equine Field Service Clinician at the Veterinary Health Center. Tell us just a little bit about what you do at K-State. (Chris) What I do on a regular basis is I take about three to four veterinary students with me and we go out on farm calls all day. We see from the simplest things to the most sophisticated which would be equine obstetrics or even dentals is a main one that we do too. (Dan) I know that you provide a very valuable service, not only for our students to have the opportunity to learn out in the field and get hands-on experience, but you also serve a very valuable service here for our clients and for the horse owners in northeast Kansas. Thank you for all that you do. (Chris) I actually enjoy it, like I tell the students, I can’t believe they pay me for such an enjoyable job. (Dan) Well, that’s good, and it shows. So we’re going to talk about foaling, and about OB problems with horses. As we were talking before the show, people don’t realize you starlit isn’t like, well it isn’t like she’s showing so we need to start worrying about it, we need to start planning way ahead. (Chris) I think that’s one thing that’s, especially horse owners that are just getting into the mare and foaling aspect, and what should be expected and when to start and it really starts right when they get bred. The stallion and making sure that everything is going correctly, getting the veterinarian involved, having the veterinarian ultrasound the mare. Mare’s do not have foals that twin very well, so twinning type aspects are not something that the mare is usually made for. So having them ultrasound at the beginning of the pregnancy, then the veterinarian can get an idea of what needs to be done next. Just making sure everything is going in the proper way is something that mare owners need to make sure they’re ready for prior to foaling. You know one of the first things is just making sure she’s vaccinated and her immune system is ready to be transferred to that of the foal, and this is why I usually tell a lot of horse owners, or mare owners, they need to start vaccinating their mares 30 to 45 days prior to foaling, so then it could get into the colostrum. (Dan) Gotcha. So, let’s back up just a little bit. After post breeding, when are we going to start ultra sounding for pregnancy? How early can we detect pregnancy? (Chris) We can actually detect a pregnancy within two weeks of them being bred. (Dan) Oh my! (Chris) So a lot of these aspects, 14 day preg checks with an ultrasound, it can pick up and see what we have going on. (Dan) I figured if you’re doing that it’ll be one of those EPT wands. (Chris) No, its just regular ultrasound, the fetus does grow fairly rapidly and we can pick that up at two weeks. (Dan) I’ll be danged! Well let’s take a break and when we come back we’re going to continue talking about preparing for foaling and then we’ll get into the stuff that’s closer up. (Chris) Sounds good. (Dan) You’re watching DocTalk, we’re going to take a break and be right back after this.

(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk. I’m Dr. Dan Thomson and Dr. Chris Blevins and we’re from Kansas State University where Dr. Blevins is an Assistant Professor in Clinical Science and he is our Equine Field Service Clinician. Talking about, we just ultra sounded; we’re pregnant; and then you say vaccinations. You want those vaccination 30 to 45 days prior to parturition. (Chris) Right. (Dan) What do we need to vaccinate? I know we, first of all, work with our local veterinarian. (Chris) Right. (Dan) But what are some of the things that you recommend that are kind of routine all across the United States? (Chris) Your veterinarian will probably get you kind of up to what has she been vaccinated with before? Sometime if she hasn’t had or seen vaccine, she’s going to need a booster one month after that vaccine you gave, so getting your veterinarian involved is going to be important in figuring out when you need to start vaccinating her to be able to protect that foal. So some things that we vaccinate mares for, even while she’s pregnant, would be West Nile, Eastern and Western Encephalomyelitis, another one is Tetanus, also Rabies, that’ll be a big one you usually do. So those are the core vaccines, every horse in the United States should be vaccinated for. Then you can add other things like Rhino and Flu which are respiratory type vaccines that we can also add to that regimen of things to protect them for. Then to protect so they don’t lose the pregnancy, there’s a Pneumabort-K which is a herpes virus vaccine that we give to the mare while she’s pregnant too, at 5,7 and 9 months of gestation. It’s something else people need to remember to try to prevent an abortion, based on using that vaccine. (Dan) So you’re going to give that vaccine at 5, 7 and 9 months gestation; 30 to 45 days prior to parturition and that’s when we’re going to come in with other vaccines? (Chris) Right. (Dan) And is that an annual booster if she isn’t bred the next year or just something that you kind of recommend we come through and vaccinate our horses with, kind of a general vaccine? (Chris) Yes, that’s usually our general vaccine, just annual vaccines for more of those. (Dan) But the big reason that you’re 30 to 45 days is colostrum for that foal, right? (Chris) Right. Trying to increase that mare’s immunity in her blood stream so that she’ll put that into the colostrum, or the milk, for that foal so that foal will be protected. (Dan) Right. OK, so anything else as far as that pre-parturition? (Chris) I think another thing that sometimes horse or mare owners forget about is where are you going to have that mare have a foal? If you’re going to move her, it’s best to move her 30 to 45 days prior to her foaling so her own immune system can get ready for that environment, and it will protect the foal for even a lot of bacteria and stuff that’s around that area, whether you’re changing pastures or you’re bringing her into the stall area, having those areas ready, consult with your veterinarian for the safest place to have her in and just get ready for that timeframe. (Dan) Environment, environment, nutrition, vaccination, health all of it is part of animal husbandry. (Chris) Yep, that’s right. (Dan) Let’s take a break and when we come back we’ll start getting into getting closer to that time. (Chris) Sounds great. (Dan) Thanks for watching DocTalk, we’ll be back after the break.

(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk, Dr. Dan Thomson and Dr. Chris Blevins here at Kansas State University’s College of Veterinarian Medicine where he’s in the Veterinary Health Center as an Equine Field Service Clinician and also an Assistant Professor here at Kansas State University. We’re talking about parturition and obstetrics. Let’s talk about the stages. (Chris) As the mare is preparing to foal and now it’s getting down to the business side of things, and getting ready for that, what should you be seeing with the mare? She will start developing her mammary glands, usually 30 days or a month prior to foaling, so she’ll start developing that and when will vary on mares, whether it’s their first foal or if she’s had multiple foals, kind of when she’ll start developing that mammary tissue. And then as it gets closer, one to four days prior to foaling, then we hear waxing, and what that is, it’s similar to cattle, in cattle you’ll see, in horses it’s the colostrum and it starts to crystallize on the ends of the teats of that mare and that’s what the waxing is. That’s something else that owners need to be watching for and making sure that the mare doesn’t leak the colostrum. Another crucial time frame is when she starts developing and producing the colostrum. Make sure she doesn’t leak because if she does leak it all out it’s not going to get into the foal. Make sure you watch for that too. (Dan) Yep, I think that’s important. I don’t think people understand how important colostrum is for preventing neonatal scours, diarrhea, respiratory disease – that colostrum is so crucial and if you miss that first milking and get to the second milking, the third milking, the quality just drops off so fast. (Chris) Yes. (Dan) OK, we get up to the point in time and she’s going to have this foal, kind of walk me through the stages of what’s going on. (Chris) You have stages 1, 2 and 3 of foaling. So the first stage is actually her nesting behavior. She’s starting to get uterine contractions. She’ll maybe even show mild colicky signs. She’s uncomfortable. She lays down. She’s going to get up. She’s going to look at her side and she’s just ready for that foal to come out. When you start to see that it’s time for that timeframe, it might not be a colic, it could just be foaling, so that’s something you might see during that stage 1. Stage 2 is usually the expulsion of the fetus. Everything happens quickly. Within 30 minutes that foal should be born, once they rupture their water, out of the vulva. In 30 minutes the foal hold come out. If it doesn’t have your veterinarian ready to come out. Everything happens quickly and if you don’t get that foal out quickly it can be bad news. then the last stage is expulsion of the placenta, and that is within three hours; 30 minutes, 3 hours, need to know what’s going on. It’s all happening so have the veterinarian involved, you might need them there quickly. (Dan) That’s a little different. Us cow guys, we’ve got a little more time. (Chris) Not days. (Dan) You guys are on it. Well I think that’s important to know. Let take a break and when we come back we’ll talk a little bit about these stages, things that you’ve noticed that are wrong, maybe when to call that vet. thanks for watching, we’ll be back after these messages.

(Dan) Hey folks, welcome back to DocTalk. We’re here with Dr. Chris Blevins from the Veterinary Health Center where he is the Equine Field Services Clinician and he’s an Assistant Professor at Kansas State’s
College of Veterinary Medicine. Stage 1 – water breaks, nesting, I guess stage 2 is when water breaks and there’s nesting. She starts nesting in stage 1, stage 2 water breaks. (Chris) 30 minutes and it should be out. (Dan) And then within 3 hours in stage 3 is the placenta. (Chris) Right. (Dan) Talk to me a little bit, I know time is the first one, but what are some things indicating things aren’t going too good? (Chris) Even in stage 1 that should be within a few hours. Start having those colicky signs, within four hours we should be progressing to stage two. And if you don’t start to see the expulsion of the fluid, or the placenta, at that point, have your veterinarian check things out to see what’s going on. In addition, once you’re to stage 2, should be able to see, once the water breaks, should see the two front feet of that foal. Everything should be presented where they have long legs and you’re going to see the feet first and then the nose should be right after that. If things don’t progress in 5 to 15 minutes and you start seeing more and more of that fetus, that foal, get your veterinarian there or be able to help assist. But need to be careful though, mares are very fragile and so is the foal, so having your veterinarian involved is going to be important. (Dan) And another thing is, so are people and if you get around a mare having a foal, she doesn’t have all her wits about her, she’s trying to get through it too and sometimes getting kicked or getting mashed, mare coming down on you or something to that nature can be an issue as well. (Chris) That’s right. You have to save yourself; a lot of people don’t even see mares foal because it happens so quickly or in the middle of the night, but if you’re there, just be careful and know and have your veterinarian there too. (Dan) And when we’re talking about progressing so fast, that’s the reason why you say get your veterinarian involved early, especially if it’s an important foal or something to that nature, so that they’re kind of on watch or understand that this is happening. (Chris) And another thing, some veterinary clinics will have foaling stalls at their clinics so they can actually watch and help with assisting so it’s already there. So a lot of clinics and veterinarians will have those aspects for them too. (Dan) Well it’s amazing to me and some of the technology that we have like putting a camera out where you can check them – pretty cool. (Chris) Yes, there’s a lot of cool things. (Dan) Well thanks again. It’s always a pleasure to have you on the show. I appreciate all you do. You’re a great colleague and friend and thanks for everything. (Chris) Thank you very much. (Dan) Folks, Dr. Chris Blevins with the Veterinary Health Center here at Kansas State University. If you have horse questions, call him. If you want to know more about what Dr. Blevins and I do here at Kansas State University, find us on the web at www.vet.ksu.edu. Remember, always work with your local practitioner. We appreciate you watching DocTalk. Dr. Dan Thomson here from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University and I’ll see you down the road.

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