Elbow Lock In Foal Delivery

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[memb_is_logged_in] Discussion:
90 out of 100 mares deliver foals without a problem. Of the remaining 10, 9 of those are usually elbow lock. The remaining 1% are very difficult births.

This video describes how you can safely and effectively recognize and relieve elbow lock in your delivering mare. The only requirement is that you must attend the birth because any “stuck” foal can become life threatening for the mare, foal, or both.

If you are like most horse owners with delivering mares, the vet is many minutes to hours away so learning this technique can save a lot of anguish – mostly for the mare.

The biggest concern most horse owners have is not knowing if they should interfere and I can understand this. Here are the things you need to look for before calling:

  • How long has she been actually down and pushing with nothing moving forward in the delivery process? Normal deliveries take about 10 to 15 minutes and with each push it looks like the foal is progressing out of the mare.
  • If you only see one limb with or without a nods or three or four limbs, you have an emergency.
  • If you see nothing coming out except maybe a tail and a rump, then it is a breech birth and you have an emergency.
  • If there are only two limbs and the bottom of the hooves are facing down, this is a delivery with the head and neck of the foal turned back and you have an emergency.
  • If there are only two limbs and the bottom of the hooves are facing up, then there is probably no head seen and is a hind limb presentation and you have an emergency.
  • If the nose and 2 limbs, both with the bottom of the hooves facing down AND one limb is out further by about 12 inches, AND she has been pushing for about 20 minutes, AND the foal is not progressing out, then there is a possibility of elbow lock. This is where you call the vet but also step in and try this simple procedure.

What I will teach you here will not hurt the mare or the foal. However, remember to call your vet first and alert him or her that you have a mare attempting to deliver but you believe it is an elbow lock and you are attempting to release it. You can say this “She has been pushing for over 20 minutes and all that is showing is a nose and 2 limbs with the hooves facing down and one limb is a lot further out than the other.”

Summary: This is not beyond the ability of anyone. The birth of a foal is explosive and can start and be done in as little as 5 minutes to 20 minutes tops. How fast can you go to your phone, connect with your vet, and get him or her out to your farm?

Learn this simple extraction and save the foal and mare a lot of trouble.


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Discussion:
90 out of 100 mares deliver foals without a problem. Of the remaining 10, 9 of those are usually elbow lock. The remaining 1% are very difficult births.

This video describes how you can safely and effectively recognize and relieve elbow lock in your delivering mare. The only requirement is that you must attend the birth because any “stuck” foal can become life threatening for the mare, foal, or both.

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