Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Ignorance Is NOT Bliss!

How I wish we had known to ask… or that someone who already knew had thought to share their knowledge. We have made some honest mistakes that ended in tragedy, and from time to time I will share those stories here with the sincere hope that doing so may help someone else avoid making those same mistakes.

Just remember, the only STUPID QUESTIONS are the ones you DON’T ASK!
MISTAKE: Do not assume that having shade available is enough… just because it is there doesn’t mean it will be used.

Lily’s first filly was a tiny blue-eyed girl we named Dandelion, because she was mostly white and seemed so tiny the wind could easily blow her away…
See, she was so small I could hold her with one arm!
She was our 4th baby and we’d had no problems with the other three, so after a week in “solitary” with her mother so they could bond without interference, we let them out with the rest of the minis. We were lucky enough to have two babies born close together and I wanted them to be able to play together…
Everything seemed to be going well until one afternoon I went to the pen to see everybody and Dandie was down - she couldn’t stand, wouldn’t nurse, couldn’t even take a bottle. She had apparently layed down to nap next to mama, who happened to be standing out in the sun, and was suffering from severe heatstroke. While I was trying to revive her any way I could, Randy called the vet, hooked up the trailer and loaded Lily, and helped me into the truck with Dandie in my arms… it would be faster for us to meet the vet at his office than to wait for him to come to us. Not five minutes down the road we were forced to call back and cancel, as Dandie had stopped breathing.
Just a few weeks after we lost her, a friend’s mare also had a tiny baby and was told by her vet that no foal of that size should be allowed in the sun UNSUPERVISED until they are at least six months old… in fact, they kept the foal and his mother in a covered stall with shadecloth on all four sides and a cooler blowing into it for WEEKS until he was big enough to not be at risk.
We were devastated that something so simple could have saved Dandie – Impatiens had been born in late June when it was much hotter and she was dark in color which one would think would attract more heat, but she had no trouble. Justice and Oreo were both dark and they were also fine…
If only someone had told us about that when we sent pictures of our new baby to everyone we knew, including quite a few mini owners, and marveled at how small she was and how little she weighed.
Needless to say, from now on ANY foal will be kept out of the sun until they are old enough and big enough to regulate their own body temperature… be sure to check with your vet when your babies are born!!


Jen said...

oh my gosh..this post made me tear up. You're right their is no such thing as a stupid question when it comes to our animals well being and we ARENT perfect, definitely can't beat yourself up for that one.
Looking forward to the dog post :0)
Love the pooches!

Tracey said...

Don't beat yourself up over this. And I don't believe the vet. Stop and think about it...where do wild horses live? In barns or under trees, always supervised? No...out in the deserts. And they're very prolific. What happened to you is just random chance...it could have happened to anyone, hon.

Rising Rainbow said...

There are so many things to learn about horses and minis have some of their own particular problems.It is impossible to know them all at the time you need them. I am sorry for your loss.