Born: 31-03-2015 - Deseased: 31-05-2015                                                                         Breeder: Yeguada Vikinga PRE
Dam: Picara PM
Sire: Donoso VII
Colour: Grulla buckskin

Day 0; Born at 21.20 and I was there to deliver her. I had to remove the fetal membrane and got the feeling she would't have got out of the sack by herself as it was very thick and she had no impulse. She was weak so I gave her milk on the lips, massaged her dry and put my hands on her. She did suckle and I gave her more milk during the first hours. But I felt she would definitely be too weak to stand up so vet came, gave her 0,5l milk in tube and stitched up the cord as she was bleeding alot. Typical for premature foals, but she was 341 days so not premature but her mother normally carries her babies longer. 
Only 3,5 hours old we carried her into the trailer and drove her and mummy to Hospital Veterinario Sierra de Madrid (HVSM). She had convulsions and was very weak and not able sit up. 
Diagnosis; Perinatal Asphyxia Syndrome (Neonatal asphyxia, Neonatal encephalopathy); The cause of the syndrome is believed to be related to difficult birth or premature separation of the placenta at foaling, but some foals may actually have an unexplained decrease in oxygen even before foaling. These foals are difficult to treat on the farm and most really need to be in a hospital’s intensive care.

She is the grulla type buckskin, big with incredibly long legs so I gave her the name Gacela (gasell). I call her 'Ella' which means 'her'. Let's hope we will see her run on the fields using those legs next to her brother Fiero.

Day 1; I arrived home at 6am in the morning and at 10am I got first update that she was still here and not worse. She is now in the best hands and her situation is alittle more stable as she has no infections and seem to respond to the treatment. She is always with one person by her side and I was sent picture and told that she is able to hold herself up lying at times. And with the help of the people supporting her she could actually get up and maintain herself standing alittle. These are very good news but she needs time and there is alot of develoment still necessary for her recovery. 

Day 2; Gacela managed to stand up with support and I visited in the evening she stood up and we helped her trying to nurse, she tried but didn't manage to take the nipple. Very emotional and lovely just to see her stand up and see her wanting and fighting. She wants to live. 

Day 3; Today mummy Pica did not want to let Ella nurse. So I brought her own food and carrots and went hospital. Did some mami-therapy and took her outside to graze and feel the sun. She did not call for her baby and was angry when she tried to nurse. I told her off and that kicking the baby was stricty forbidden. She listened to corrections and let the baby practice some nursing after this, she needed a leader to tell her to cooperate. She also got a treatment to feel more motherly. Gacela does not know how to suckle when she has something in her mouth but she has the reflex so I gave her to play with milkbottle and some milk on a tray. She seem to be able to suckle what is on the tray but this is not enough to feed herself. She fell asleep on my lap and it was a lovely moment and relax after efforts and being in the present. 

Day 4; She has been outside in the sun and Ella able to support herself alittle more standing! 
I spent all day with the bottle to help her learn how to coordinate the tongue and suckle, she practised standing, she did get it at times but not really able to swollow and eat. Mami much better with milk production and attitude, she was alittle anxious when I took her for a walk, but she got angry when baby came towards the udder and kicked, she was ok with nurses milking her. 

Day 5; Oxygen temporarily removed and she was able to go for a walk in paddock with mummy in the sunshine! She still cannot get up by herself nor eat but she is improving little by little. Mami has a better attitude today. 

Day 6; Oxygen removed. She got excited and trotted alittle on her way out! We stayed in paddock, she fell once and we hepled her up. Had a meal, practised nursing but was not able to take the nipple. I laid her down when she got tired as she cannot lie down herself. On the way in she fell once. I stayed to practice eating from the bottle but she was very tired now when no oxygen so she slept alot. Have to get her to eat by herself somehow, very worried about this.

Day 7; Put her back on oxygen as this helps her, started teaching her how to eat from bowl as mother is producing less and less milk. She was able to eat from the bowl and had various meals and was able to eat 200ml herself. She needs 10 liters/ day. 

At day 12 Ella came home. We fought for her little life giving her all our attention, our hearts and love. We had to feed her every 3 hours day and night because she could not stand up herself. We built a special paddock in the field so that she could practice being a horse. She could not coordinate herself well, her attention was not slow so we had to protect her from walking against the fence. She could not lie down nor get up so I put her her to bed and got her out of bed. It was a fight and but she totally wanted to live. On good days she was able to get up, cantered making happy noises and had fun. She was totally independent of the herd, walked her own way. But ther mother was with her always except when she took off to graze and left her foal with me. It was many hours on watch as it was not safe to leave her alone in the field. Once I had to drag out from the bathtub as lost balance and fell in. If I hadn't been there she would have drown. She developed very well physically, grew very tall, filled out beautifully but her coordination and strenght did not follow her physical growth and we could hardly help her to stand up as she was now 90kg. I fought for her until her system could not take it anylonger, and on the day when she had to do alot of effort to stand up even with assistance I took the decition to put her to sleep.
'Ella' was a strong little personality and communicated very clearly what she wanted, always making noises. The stable got very silent and empty when she left. It had been 2 months of exhausting efforts and anxiety every hour of the day and it was very hard to let go because I loved her so much, she was a sweety. Ella was only here for 2 months but she got closer to me than any horse, she was a special little vikinga fighter and alot of fun.
I hope with all my heart noone has to go through this experience with their foal but I made alittle movie that sums up her story, perhaps it can help other breeders, I could not find much info on these kind of cases. 

Gacela's diagnosis was 'Síndrome de Hipoxia Perinatal'. 

You can also read some of her story on my blog;  chapters April/May 2015. 

1 month old.