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Proximity when separation is medically necessary

December 1, 2019

When broodmare Lucky Dance's newborn foal — a filly by Maryland stallion Great Notion — became weak and refused to nurse, Chanceland Farm personnel immediately rushed both the foal and her mare to the EMC for treatment.

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The foal was diagnosed with neonatal isoerythrolysis, a potentially deadly disease in which the mare’s antibodies attack the foal’s red blood cells. Because treatment necessitated separating the foal from the mare, the foal was fed from a bucket until thoroughly washed erythrocytes from the mare were available to give to the foal via transfusion.

A new addition to EMC's intensive care unit, the foal box, which was made possible by a generous donation from the Backer Foundation, has been invaluable in the safe handling and care of foals needing 24/7 attention.

Lucky Dance's foal in foal box 2019
Lucky Dance's foal in foal box 2019
Lucky Dance's foal in foal box 2019

Once the foal was able to share a stall with her dam and to nurse naturally, the pair was discharged and returned home to Chanceland, where they are thriving.

Video by Ray Meese, Virginia Tech | Photos by Ray Meese and Sharon Peart