Can you say dystocia?

Today was probably one of the best days I’ve had on the therio rotation. I got up extra early to load up my older horse and take him with me to school. He’s going to be in a research study for a joint supplement, so he needed to go in for his baseline testing today. After dropping him off in the Orthopedics ward, I ran over to Therio to meet up with the truck heading out to palpate mares. When we arrived, there was a mare who was having trouble delivering her foal. We felt around to figure out how all the foal’s body parts were oriented, and then attempted to shift it to get it out. Unfortunately since the mare had been struggling for over an hour already we were pretty sure the foal was dead. Once the amniotic sac breaks, the mare should get the foal out within about 20 minutes. After 40-60 minutes it’s likely that it’s too late for the foal. After working for about 20 minutes, we decided that the best thing for the mare would be to go into the hospital. They are more equipped to deal with a potential c-section or fetotomy than we were today.

After that excitement, we went on with our usual palpation. I palpated at least 20 mares, I couldn’t keep track of how many there were. My forearm is bruised from all of the abuse it took this morning. I’m feeling a lot more confident, there were only a few mares that I had trouble with. The last mare that was brought up for us to look at had lost her foal over the weekend. She was struggling to deliver it on Saturday and it wound up being pulled by another DVM. The mare was pretty torn up on the inside, and a lot of placenta was retained. I passed a tube into her uterus and we flushed her as well as we could with limited supplies. Some decent sized chunks of placenta came out, but not all of it. We’re really worried about this girl, she runs a pretty serious risk of infection which could lead to endotoxemia and laminitis.

When all of the palpations were done we headed out to Whataburger. Apparently it’s a non-negotiable norm when you’re on this rotation. One of the docs and I walked over to Schlotsky’s since we weren’t really feeling like fried food. I got a bowl of tomato basil soup since it was super chilly outside and that sounded delicious. We headed back to school after lunch and I went to check on my horse. Orthopedics had already worked on him this morning, and they were ready to inject his hocks. I got to help with the hock injections, although I wasn’t very good at it. He has kind of crunchy distal intertarsal and tarsometatarsal joints since he’s pretty arthritic, so we had a lot of trouble getting into the joint space with steroids. After a few tries we finally got them all done.

Injecting hocks

The last thing we had to do this afternoon was listen to a brief lecture on estrous cycles, estrus synchronization and import/export guidelines for horses. We finished up a little before three and I grabbed my horse to head home. On the way home we ran to the Co-op and bought a bunch of coastal and alfalfa hay, rolled oats and 12% horse pellets. I unloaded all of it once I got home (bonus workout!) and headed inside to grab some dinner. I was starving!

That’s about it for today :)


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