Newborn Foal At UC Davis Vet Bills

On July 17, I brought my Welsh Pony mare, Quail Hollow Roisin (Rose) to UC Davis for evaluation as she was 367 days pregnant.  The normal range of time for a horse pregnancy is around 340 days.  The vets did a thorough examination of her and decided that she would probably go another few days, at least, before foaling.  I left her in their care.  Two hours after I left, she went into labor and gave birth to a colt.  

He seemed very healthy at first, and stood and nursed.  A few hours after he was born, he became colicky.  The vets decided he had a  meconium impaction and began treating that.  Meanwhile, while nursing, he aspirated colostrum, so the vets started treating him to prevent pneumonia.  It all seemed very straitforward at the beginning, but then things started to snowball.  

Before I knew it, we were in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and my baby had more tubes in him than seemed possible.

They had to restrict him from nursing as his stomach shut down, and so they had to isolate him from his mama.  

This is Rose's first baby, and she has been the most wonderful mother ever.  Throughout all this treatment, she has watched and waited patiently, nickering to him and nuzzling and licking him when she can reach him.  When he is allowed to nurse, she is so happy.  The rest of the time, she stands over him as close as she can.  I don't think she has rested herself at all throughout this.  

Over the course of the second day, more complications arose.  It seemed like as soon as we ruled out one life-threatening condition, another appeared.  They were doing ultrasounds and x-rays every hour, trying to narrow down what was wrong with him.  Finally he developed a clostridium perfingens infection, which has a very high mortality rate in newborn foals.  This all happened within 48 hours, though it felt like weeks.  I thought for sure he would die, and in fact told the vets several times that if he wasn't going to make it, we needed to let him go.  But the vets told me he was a fighter and they wanted to give him a chance.  They have been pouring their hearts and souls into saving my little baby, staying up all night to work on him non-stop day and night.  As of right now, the evening of July 21, little baby Bennett is exactly 96 hours old, which equals 4 days.  There is still a good chance we may lose him, but he is currently stable and improving.  They took the catheter out of his urethra and he is now urinating on his own, and they have removed the nasogastric tube and are letting him nurse again.  

He is sleeping soundly and is very active when he is awake.  I am praying that he continues to get better and that I will get to bring him home someday.  UC Davis is a teaching hospital, which means that their excellent care is not as expensive as it would be in a private hospital, but it is still very expensive.  Each day in the NICU is a base cost of $400 for mare and foal, and then medications and procedures and fluids are added on to that.  The vets have told me that the best case scenario is that I get to bring home a healthy foal with a vet bill that they estimate will be between $5000 to $8000.  That is if nothing else goes wrong.  I am, of course, fully prepared to pay that myself any way I have to.  But several friends have talked me into sharing my story and these photos and asking for help with his vet bills.  He is still at UC Davis and will be there for a while, so anyone can verify this.  Please help me in some small way to raise some of the funds for his vet bills, and I will be eternally grateful.  I will provide updates and photos to everyone.  If you don't want to, or can't, donate, please at least say a prayer for little Bennett.  What I want most of all is for him to get healthy and grow up strong.  Thank you for reading this.

Update:  Monday, July 21 at 8:30pm
Received a call from the resident vet - she said Bennett is doing well.  They are allowing him to nurse for 2 minutes every hour, and he is tolerating that.  No diarrhea today!!!  She is happy with his progress, which makes me very happy.
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Robyn Beagle 
Scotts Valley, CA
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