Petunia – Milk in Short Supply

Continued from April 19 & 20, My Stable Life Blog entries…

In the wee hours of February 27, 2010, and within only a few hours of her birth, Petunia finally found Rosey’s udder and appeared to drink. This was a huge relief as colostrum intake in the first 12 hours of life was crucial to Petunia’s survival. However, Danielle had noticed early on that Rosey didn’t appear to be as “bagged up” as a normal mare who has just given birth should look. She became concerned about the mare’s milk supply almost immediately, but in an effort not to interfere with nature, she allowed Petunia a few hours to try and suckle – hoping this would stimulate milk letdown.

Photo by Danielle LaForge.

In the morning (several hours after birth), one of our wonderful vets at Sherwood Clinic performed a SNAP test, to ensure Petunia consumed enough colostrum. With Rosey’s milk supply in question, we were all very worried about the amount of time ticking by – in the event that our filly didn’t get enough.

Rosey and Petunia in their king-size foaling stall. Photo by Danielle LaForge.

Dr. Bree Hamblin confirmed that Petunia’s antibody levels were indeed, good. Thank-goodness!!

At this point, Danielle tried manually to “milk” Rosey and her worst fears were realized. Rosey had little, to no milk. Although we weren’t positive as the cause of the mare’s agalactia, it was likely we could chalk it up to the fact that Rosey was unable to consume alfalfa hay during her pregnancy. But feeding it to her now was not an option.

Photo by Danielle LaForge.

So Danielle put together some milk replacer and began feeding the filly by bottle. It has put a huge demand on her schedule (not to mention sleep patterns), since Petunia needs to be fed every 2-4 hours. Meanwhile, we have begun the search for a solution. Options we have include a nurse mare, a nurse goat, foal pellets and a special oral paste called “Domperidone.” I’ll keep you posted…

Danielle and Petunia. Photo by Wade LaForge.

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