Thought you might want a peek into what really goes on when we rescue
these newborns and critical or orphan foals.
The first 3 days are by far the scariest. Then you have the "next 5
days", and if you survive to 8 days, you can take a teeny tiny breath.
But you are still not out of the woods by any means. There are many
diseases/illnesses etc. that do not "show themselves" until you have
passed the 3 week period. So the first 21 days are just taking it an
hour at a time. What makes even more complications is when people
"pick up" or "rescue" a baby without the proper procedures being
followed. Without observation by people who are trained and have
specific knowledge, foals are often stripped away when the band is
coming back. They could have "scattered" and left a baby behind that
is simply too "new" or weak to follow. The bands will come back and
the moms pick up the foal if they had just been "startled", like by
ATV's for instance.
Without truly knowing if a baby was "rejected", vs. "rescued by a
citizen who thought they were helping", it is so much more stressful
and difficult every minute of every hour when you are trying to save
them. IF, a baby was actually rejected, then you know that every
twitch, shake of the head, discoloration of gums, eyes etc. is a
definite sign. However, when you don't know if they were rejected or
just picked up, you still have to assume that every single individual
sign is critical. So we spend every minute with the baby, if we are
not physically in the room, we watch them on camera (when we get
coffee etc.). They do need to have some alone time so they don't
grow up and end up crazy if they are by themselves. Your stomach is
in knots and although you have to keep a "good attitude" and put out
With Rocky, he is doing well so far. He is eating, playing, and going
through diapers like crazy. His kidneys appear to be working
fabulously. He did have some yellow tinge to his eyes and some yellow
on his gum line. This is one of the signs that scares you to death,
as it can be signs of tetanus. Tetanus is usually 99.9% deadly. PTL
the yellow has faded and his gums look perfect. He is having a
little bit of tummy issues, which unfortunately is pretty normal in
this situation. Not having food for a long period of time, then
having different food in their tummies and with going through all the
stress and changes, it is very hard on them. He likes to shake his
head a lot, which if he was rejected, could mean trouble, or, since he
is cutting his little front teeth, it could simply mean that he is
shaking his head because he's teething.
It is so hard and very exhausting because behavior that you would
never ever even notice if he was with a mare can seem critical and you
stay on alert every single second. Foals without their mamas can be
so touch and go, and you can lose one in a day.
An interesting example is Honey Bandit, who by any standards is truly
a miracle. His vitals were so bad that he was considered pretty much
"not viable". Yet we all know he survived. We do not know the amount
of damage his organs suffered though. He is such a happy boy, but he
just seems old. Then you have Little Mister. Upon first sight,
there was no way that you would have expected him to be so ill. He
went downhill so fast. He was an example of signs that could be
important or not. He had just a little boogie nose, which mostly
looked like he had stuck his nose in the dirt. It was not "runny" and
there was no visible drainage. Yet it actually ended up being a very
important sign. He had a teeny cough, like he had a tickle. We paid
attention to those, and were on top of it when his breathing became
irregular. But it didn't matter, there was simply nothing anyone
could do that wasn't done. The vet had said there was a "guarded"
chance for him to survive. Hmmmm - Honey Bandit was given basically
no chance to survive. So we do what we can, and yes we stress on
every teeny tiny little thing, and that is why we need all your
Rocky is doing great so far. His lungs and heart sound awesome. He
is starting to get a little "buck in his butt", and we are gonna head
out either today or tomorrow. His papa is "Bubba", and I will try to
send a pix of him. What an amazing stallion. Apparently that is
where Rocky got his "tude". He will definitely be one who will push
as far as he can. He is extremely intelligent, but if you give him an
inch, he will definitely get a mile or two out of it.
So thank you for being part of this. Prayers, prayers, prayers!!
(You can also add another prayer that I get better at cutting out the
hole in the diaper for his tail - haha). I have never used them
before, but he may be in the house for awhile due to weather etc.
Hugs and God bless!