Bute Harm Unborn Foal?

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Q: How does bute affect the foal in the later part of the pregnancy if the mare is lame? We have put a deposit on the foal to be born end of January and the mare came up lame and actually is dragging a leg not able to walk correctly. They don't really  know what is wrong? or what happened? and they have been giving her bute. Yesterday they moved her to a special high-risk foaling facility and now we are wondering more andmore if this foal is in any danger. I thought I would ask you after reading the article on the foundering pregnant mare.


A: I always hate to answer a question with an "I don't know", but the effect of of Bute on an unborn foal is a medical question that you should ask your vet. If it were a small dose for a short time I probably wouldn't worry about it but it sounds like this mare has major problems and she is probably getting a lot of Bute. So get on the phone with your vet right away and see what you can find out. I would think that if your vet says there is considerable risk, you should have a good basis for requesting the return of your deposit. Of course this will depend on the terms of your purchase agreement. This is just one reason I always urge people to put all deals, especially potentially complicated ones like buying a foal before it is born or buying a foal that will have to spend time with its mother where the buyer doesn't have control over its care, in writing.

There are other risk factors here, in addition to the possible toxicity of Bute . A very lame mare can not only be prone to foaling problems but can also have trouble mothering and protecting her foal.


Dragging a hind leg is not a very typical lameness. I would think that it could stem from many causes, some of which might be detrimental to the foal. Maybe the way she is carrying the foal is putting pressure on a nerve and after delivery the mare will be fine. Maybe she has some spinal damage or even a disease like EPM. Iíve never read anything about the problems caused by these things on a foal, but if nothing else it seems like they could make delivery and mothering of the foal very difficult or impossible.


I think the best advice I can give you in addition to calling your vet and discussing all these possibilities with him is to carefully study your purchase agreement and then discuss possibilities with the mareís owners. If there is a difficult delivery or if the foal is orphaned or born dead or damaged, everyoneís emotions will be running wild. The time to sort out what will be done if things donít progress normally is NOW, while everyone is calm and rational.


Good luck with your foal purchase. I would be very interested in knowing what the cause of the mareís lameness is determined to be and how the foal comes out of all this, so please do keep me posted.



Mary Bayard

American Blacksmith
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This entire web site is copyright © protected.  © 1996-2001 Geronimo & Mary Bayard, © 2001-2008 Mary Fitzpatrick
All rights reserved. Contact Mary for reproduction information & permission.