Surely Awesome Part 5: Red bag emergency

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On Monday in this excerpt from the Eclipse Press book Equine ER by Leslie Guttman, Surely Awesome, the gentle and very pregnant Quarter Horse mare whose long pastern bone was mending after being shattered, finally went into delivery. Her owners, doctors, and all the staff at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital had been anxiously waiting for months to see if Surely Awesome would be able to carry her baby to term after surgery. But labor brought an unexpected problem: The placenta had prematurely separated from the uterus; the foal wasn’t getting the oxygen it needed. It was an emergency. Here’s what happened next:

The scenario is called a red bag delivery because the chorioallantois, one of the two membranes that make up the placenta, is red. No one knows exactly why red bags occur; in Surely Awesome’s case it could have been from the stress of having such a severe injury while pregnant.

Dr. Eric Carlson quickly opened up the placenta. The foal, to his relief, was in the normal position for delivery, head and feet first. He put the canvas obstetrical straps on the foal’s legs to help pull it out. Surely Awesome lay down as soon as he put them on, as if she wanted to help him.

Carlson pulled on the straps. The baby slipped out easily. It was a filly, the color of dark honey. Her nostrils were cleared and vitals signs checked; they were all good. The doctor clamped and cut her umbilical cord and swabbed her naval with antiseptic. A healthy foal was on the ground

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