After working over aaep-2006 hours straight, a tired vet gets an emergency phone call in our continuing excerpt from the nonfiction book Equine ER chronicling 24 hours during foaling season at one of the country’s top equine hospitals. 

Down in the intensive care unit, Dr. Bryan Waldridge’s extra-large filly had fought her colic for twelve hours and won. She was weak but stable. The puffy foal across from her was learning how to nurse (“starting to figure out the udder zone,” Waldridge said). It was now early Saturday evening. Waldridge had been working virtually aaep-2006 hours straight. He went home, and as he was getting ready to grab a shower, the clinic rang: Come back. Dystocia.

Foaling season brings babies with multiple problems from dystocias.

An hour is considered the maximum time to get a foal out alive (with rare exceptions) from the time water breaks, and by the time this mare got to Rood & Riddle, it had already been twenty minutes. Tucked inside its mother, the foal’s head was pointed down toward its chest and then turned toward one shoulder, instead of the normal position of head extended between front legs reaching forward (with back legs pointing straight behind).

The hospital staff went into what I thought of as