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Once at Alamo Pintado, we were given a huge box with all the meds and supplies we would need and very specific discharge instructions. I became a little nervous right about then but I knew it was just a case of getting used to the schedule. They brought the boys out one at a time to the trailer. It brought tears to everyone’s eyes to see the boys meet each other again. They had been kept separate due to all the IV lines and other ‘accessories’ but now they were able to reacquaint and become brothers again. Shortly after they got home, our farrier Darby Holden

of Santa Ynez, California, came out to put some different shoes on Pancho and begin the treatment to help Lefty’s front right knee straighten out. All the vets agreed that with some conservative trimming and building, Lefty stood a good chance of overcoming his issue, although they still felt surgery would be the only way to completely straighten his knee. Pancho still needed some support for the windswept hind ankles. Darby custom made some aluminum ‘shoes’ that she applied with a fiberglass-like material. They actually look like little sleds but they can be placed in a variety of ways and angles to provide the best support. We are so very fortunate to have found Darby. She brings great skill, dedication, interest, and compassion to the mix, has great rapport with the boys and pays close attention to the task at hand but always with an eye toward the eventual goal. Both colts are now remarkably straight and are over the need for anything except regular trimming! Looking at Lefty’s legs now, one would never suspect he ever had an issue with his knee. All of the corrections for both of the boys were

The Dangers of Twins


wins pose a danger to both dam and foals—as well as their owners’ hearts and

wallets. Dr. Vickie Meisenburg, a veterinarian with EquiGen, an equine reproduction center in Archer, Florida, offers a few statistics. Both twins are born alive only about 14 percent of the time, she explains, with an unknown additional number that don’t survive the first weeks after birth. In close to 65 percent of twin births, both twins are born dead. In addition, she says, twins are becoming

more common. The ovulation-inducing agents that are commonly used to make mares ovulate at a certain time (making breeding more convenient) also increase the chances of a mare carrying twins, she explains. Much of the time, she continues, if a mare

conceives with twins, one will fail to thrive and will not survive the birth. However there are times when the embryos are in separate “horns” of the uterus and no natural embryo reduction occurs. In that case, she says, the two will continue to grow evenly until things get crowded and each fetus no longer has the normal uterine contact needed for proper gestation. Each may be delivered, but usually in very poor and weak condition. As a result of all this, she recommends an

ultrasound as soon as a mare is thought to be pregnant. If there are two embryos—at this stage small enough to be “little round balls”— one is crushed. She acknowledges that this sounds harsh but points to the many potential complications of twins. If you can, you really want to prevent multiple

fetuses, she explains. Not only are there risks to the fetuses, and ultimately the foals, there are risks to the mare as well. That’s because foals actively participate in their own deliveries and a twin is much less likely to be able to do so. v

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