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Redbag Deliveries, Is Your Mare at Risk?

Occasionally, the foaling process does not go as planned. Premature separation of the placenta can result in a redbag delivery. The term “redbag” comes from the dark red chorioallantosis membrane that failed to rupture and is seen first during an abnormal delivery. Confirmation of the condition can be determined by the cervical star on the chorionic surface. Redbag babies are not able to receive adequate oxygen and therefore the membrane must be opened immediately with a sharp knife. The foal should be delivered as soon as possible, and oxygen should be administered.

Fortunately, premature separation of the placenta is not overly common, however there are some key management factors that can drastically decrease the chances of a redbag delivery. Stress, placental infections, and fescue toxicity are the main reasons for premature separation of the placenta. Keeping the mare’s routine the same, ultrasound checks, and making sure to eliminate all fescue in the diet at least 90 days before their due date are the best ways to help prevent a redbag delivery. It is important to remove all sources of fescue from their diet both in the hay and the grass if they are on a pasture with fescue.

Sometimes no matter how careful we are and what precautions we take, a redbag delivery may occur. Identifying the issue, puncturing the membrane immediately, and supplying the foal with oxygen are the key factors for survival of the foal.

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  • Penny King, Oblong IL

    I can’t say enough about Dr. Stone & his staff. They go above & beyond & take the extra mile to take care of your horses needs. They really care about what your horse really needs.

    They have been up all night with emergency colic surgery with a positive outcome. They saved a foal that was born three weeks early. I can’t even begin to tell everything we have been thru together. But I can tell you one thing, they don’t come any better than Dr. Stone & his staff. They are like family to our horses & us.”