From Bridles to Broodmare: The Issue with Twinning
In the first instalment of "From Bridles to Broodmare", we talk about how I ultimately decided to take my mare, Mates Special Lady, (Lady) and turn her into a baby maker. We also discuss what you can generally expect if you decide to breed your mare through artificial insemination.
To read up on that, and get caught up, click here.
"Twinning" - an expression used by the younger generation when themselves and their best friends look alike and are "like, totally twinning."
"Twins" - an expression you don't want to hear your vet say when he looks at your mare's fourteen day check ultrasound.
|She's really the sweetest one. Just love her.|
However, we bred Lady way back in June 6 on a double ovulation, so we knew that 14 days later we were either going to have two embryos, or one embryo, with the second having absorbed and disappeared. We had two black dots on the screen, two little black dots that were buddied up worse than your naughtiest three year olds that have lived together since they were born. At day 14 this is not a major concern, my vet told me we should wait a few days before going through with "pinching one off" (i.e. a twin reduction procedure). He said that embryos move around a lot in the early stages before they've fused to the uterine wall, so it was likely that on day 16 they would be apart from each other. You want them apart from each other because on day 16 the vet goes in and "pinches" the smaller twin off, if it's close to the other embryo it may cause disruption and you could lose both your embryos. So two days later I was going to have to bring Lady back and we were going to eliminate one. Obviously I told my vet to keep the futurity champion and to eliminate the tough one that wants nothing to do with the whole concept of "training."
|So astute readers,|
I'm sure you know what the these two little black dots mean.
So on the morning of day 16 I brought Lady in and gave her a shot of Banamine. Science: When pinching a twin, it can be stressful and painful for the mare if done improperly. This can cause a release of prostaglandin. Prostaglandin is what one uses to short cycle a mare and it works by lysing the corpus lute Any time you mare suffers a trauma - leg injury, falls and hurts herself, runs through a barbed wire fence, etc. - she will naturally release prostaglandin. So here is my second major pro-tip I learned as a first time breeder, any time a pregnant mares suffers a traumatic injury, grab for the supplemental progesterone and prostaglandin inhibitors (aka Banamine.) But, here is where I'm going to gently remind you, don't believe everything you read on the internet. This worked for me, and quite obviously for this whole journey I was working hand-in-hand with some of the best reproductive vets you can find. So make sure you don't start shooting your pregnant mare with Banamine, or any other drug, just because you read about it on my blog. K, thanks.
Then we hauled to the clinic where we put Lady in the stocks and my vet gave her a decent dose of sedation. Again, to keep her calm and not feeling a ton of pain. My vet told me that in the photo above those two little black dots are the size of grapes, he slowly manipulated the grapes away from each other until he was able to isolate the smaller grape in the horn. Then, using the ultrasound, he pressed the smaller grape against the horn until it popped. You could see it pop and fluid disperse and just like that we went from twinning, to riding solo. Then we gave Lady a two week shot of Regumate to inhibit her body from coming into heat and crossed our fingers that in fourteen days baby solo would still be there.
Then we turned Lady out into our lush, beautiful, huge broodmare pasture. This is a pasture where we have turned out countless broodmares, babies, yearlings and retired geldings the last two years. No one has ever gotten hurt. I wasn't worried - Lady can get turned out with ANYONE. Famous last words. I was camping over Canada Day long weekend when I got the call Lady ripped her damn hip open and needed stitches. We don't know how she did it, perhaps she ran into an errant stick? It's ridiculous, but either way, she was hauled into the clinic and they stitched her up fantastically. Her skin was very tight around her hip area, so as you can see in the photo they stitched the wound itself and then held the skin together as well. It looked pretty nasty, but has healed wonderfully. The injury required a few days of Banamine, as well as an antibiotic. It also required two weeks of stall rest and hand-walking on the lawn. Of course I am a supreme worry-wart, so there was the nagging fear that the stress of the injury may have caused an abortion in her delicate little solo embryo. I have never second guessed how lucky I am to have a mare like Lady because she is very, very quiet. It was +30C every day the weeks she was on stall rest and she was quiet and happy to be in her stall, whether she was alone in the barn or not. When she went on her hand walks she quietly grazed while I dropped her lead shank and worked on my writing. The vet that stitched her said the same thing, that they weren't supremely worried about stress causing her complications because she was so un-phased and un-stressed about her hip. As she is about legitimately everything, she's such a good girl.
|Lady enjoying her walks on the lawn with her brother, Cash.|
So, a week after the hip incident, we went in to check again to see if baby solo had stuck around and there it was, big and beautiful and there was even a heartbeat! She was given another shot of Regumate just to be safe, but they said that from here on out it should be smooth sailing. So, all appendages crossed, if everything goes to plan and everything sticks to where it's suppose too, Lady is due between May 3 and May 18. Obviously I am psychotic levels of excited, and I keep catching myself calling the baby "he" and so I have a sneaking suspicion that I have a gelding on the way. I'm not really a mare or gelding person, as long as the baby is healthy I'm happy since it's her first. I already have a registered name, and barn name, picked out if it's a boy... but don't worry I have lists on my phone if that one doesn't fit.
Now Lady is happily turned out with my other retiree, Jingle. She seems quite happy these days, and he is stupidly happy to have her back after two years of being a part. I have yet to break it to him that the baby isn't his, nor will it be paint. He's going to be so disappointed. So there ya have it - the first two chapter's of from Bridles to Broodmares has come and gone. We have a pregnant mare, and now we wait!
|A solo embryo!|