Penn State Vet School Foal Cam-My Special Girl

BornToWin
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Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:08 pm

http://www.vet.upenn.edu/veterinary-hos ... e/foal-cam

Thought folks might find this interesting. My Special Girl is a TB surrogate dam. She is a pretty chestnut. Here is the New Bolton Flickr page. Someday this might be a resource for others. https://secure.flickr.com/photos/pennve ... 929815425/

Here is the press release.
"New Bolton Center Foal Cam: Watch the Birth of Our Foal
Table of Contents
By Louisa Shepard

New Bolton Center mare pregnant by advanced reproduction procedure

My Special Girl, Foal Cam, New Bolton CenterThe ultrasound image shows a perfectly round black circle surrounded by white “snow,” indicating that this mare is pregnant. Confirming success is exciting, even for experienced clinicians, but this was a particularly thrilling moment for the New Bolton Center veterinarians who made it happen.

The pregnancy was made possible by the advanced reproductive technique intracytoplasmic sperm injection, known as ICSI, which involves injecting a single sperm into a mature egg. This ICSI embryo was transferred to New Bolton Center’s surrogate mare, My Special Girl.

“This is when we knew that the embryo transfer had worked,” said Regina Turner, VMD, PhD, Associate Professor of Large Animal Reproduction at New Bolton’s Hofmann Center for Reproduction and Behavior.

My Special Girl’s pregnancy represents the first for Penn Vet using the ICSI procedure, performed as part of ongoing reproductive research at the Hofmann Center. The ultrasound image confirming its success was taken on April 19, when the embryo was about 12 days old.

embryo ultrasound, Foal Cam, New Bolton Center“The pregnancy was in its very early stages, but it looked perfectly normal, and it was just the right size, in the right place,” continued Dr. Turner, who is also the Director of the Hofmann Center’s Stallion Frozen Semen Program. “We were very excited. There was yelling. We were calling everyone to come to see.”

And the excitement continues! People across the country and around the world will have the opportunity to monitor My Special Girl before the arrival of this special foal, and witness the live birth via a “Foal Cam.” The live broadcast will be available on the Penn Vet website at www.vet.upenn.edu/FoalCam beginning on February 26. My Special Girl is due to foal in mid-March.

“We hope that sharing the birth of this foal will give the world a window into New Bolton Center, and showcase our caring clinicians and staff, and our expertise in reproduction and neonatal intensive care,” said Corinne Sweeney, DVM, Associate Dean of New Bolton Center.

My Special Girl and Her Foal

Although My Special Girl is not expected to have problems delivering her baby, the mare will deliver the foal in the Graham French Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at New Bolton Center. The unit is designed to accommodate the needs of mares at increased risk for complications and critically ill neonatal patients. Medical staff are on site to monitor the mares 24 hours a day.

My Special Girl, Foal Cam, New Bolton Center“We don’t anticipate any problems with My Special Girl’s delivery,” Dr. Turner said. “But in the unlikely event that there is a problem, it is critical that we have people on site so that we can intervene very quickly.”

“The foaling will happen very quickly once it starts,” Dr. Turner continued, noting that the active stage of a mare’s labor typically is less than 30 minutes, sometimes less, and usually in the middle of the night.

My Special Girl, an 11-year-old Thoroughbred, was donated to New Bolton Center’s herd of horses used for teaching veterinary students. “Her main role in life is to allow our fourth-year veterinary students to learn how to examine a mare’s reproductive tract and to learn how to manage equine breeding,” Dr. Turner said. “We knew she was a fertile mare and so she was a great choice for this special pregnancy.”

The egg for the foal came from a Thoroughbred-Cleveland Bay cross mare. The sperm was from frozen semen from a long-deceased Thoroughbred-Quarter Horse cross stallion that was part of the Hofmann Center’s teaching program.

Keeping the Baby in the New Bolton Center Family

The foal carried by My Special Girl will be adopted by Rose Nolen-Walston, DVM, New Bolton Center Assistant Professor of Medicine, who lives on a nearby farm. Lisa Fergusson of Cochranville, PA, once on Canada’s Olympic Eventing team, will be the foal’s trainer when it is ready to begin its athletic career.

They hope the foal will compete in eventing, the triathlon of equestrian sport, which combines three demanding disciplines: dressage, show jumping, and a challenging cross-country competition. Eventing requires tremendous athleticism from the horse, and a deep trust between horse and rider.

“The bloodlines make it possible for this foal to be a terrific sport horse,” Dr. Nolen-Walston said. “We would love this foal to compete at the Plantation Field Horse Trials in five or six years.”

The ICSI Procedure

The embryo was created in early April using the ICSI procedure. This complex process involves injection of a single sperm cell into a mature egg, or oocyte, using a specialized, high-powered microscope with tiny injection pipettes attached to a micromanipulator with joystick-like controls. The fertilized egg was cultured for a few days in an incubator until the embryo was ready to be transferred to the mare on April 15.

ICSI video, Foal Cam, New Bolton Center

The ICSI procedure to create this foal was performed by Adrian Leu, a former member of Penn Vet’s Animal Biology department. He used a microscope that has a “piezo” tool, which drills into the outer layer of the egg, minimizing trauma to the egg at the time of sperm injection.

Now Penn Medicine’s Matthew VerMilyea, PhD, Director of the IVF and Andrology Laboratories at Penn Medicine, is performing ICSI for the Hofmann Center. ICSI is a common procedure in human medicine that revolutionized the treatment of male infertility. Dr. VerMilyea is using a microscope with laser technology, used for humans but rarely used in horses. Watch video of the ICSI procedure.

“It is exciting,” said Dr. VerMilyea, who is performing the ICSI procedure on several equine eggs provided by Hofmann this year. “It is great to be able to apply the tools and skills that we commonly use in treating human infertility, and make slight adjustments that allow us to cross over into the animal world.”

Dr. VerMilyea is still perfecting the use of the laser technology on the horse eggs. “Although similar in size to human eggs, horse oocytes are much darker in color and more difficult to visualize,” he said, noting that they also are more elastic, which makes the procedure more challenging.

Because only one sperm is needed, ICSI has great potential for stallions with low numbers of sperm, or poor sperm quality, or for use of frozen sperm from deceased stallions to carry on a legacy. The procedure also can be used for mares who cannot get pregnant or carry their offspring themselves in the conventional manner, as all the donor mare needs to do is produce an egg.

New Penn Vet ICSI Service

Equine ICSI was pioneered by Colorado State and Texas A&M universities. The procedure has recently become available commercially at a very limited number of places around the country. The cost to set up a successful ICSI program is high, due to the advanced equipment required to create the pregnancies, and the high level of expertise required to carry out the procedures.

Through the collaboration with Penn Medicine, Penn Vet is positioning itself to provide this service.

The Hofmann Center team currently offers clients the service of oocyte (egg) aspiration, harvesting eggs from a mare’s ovaries, and then shipping them to Texas A&M for the ICSI procedure and embryo culture. In addition, if a client mare was to die unexpectedly, they can harvest oocytes from her ovaries for the procedure.

“Our goal is always to expand our Assisted Reproduction Services to improve our ability to better serve our clients who have subfertile mares and stallions,” Dr. Turner said. As a result, Penn Vet is working towards a goal of offering the ICSI service itself, so that everything – from the oocyte aspiration, to the sperm injection, to the embryo culture and embryo transfer – all are done at Penn.

“My Special Girl’s pregnancy is the first of what we hope will be many ICSI pregnancies created right here at Penn,” Dr. Turner said. The work is being funded by an endowment left by the Hofmann family for the improvement of the Hofmann Center and expansion of its programs."
tres borrachos
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Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:38 pm

Very interesting! I'm glad you posted this. I will look around more later. Look forward to watching the cam, too!
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Le Beau Bai
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Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:11 pm

Interesting! I've just been writing about ICSI in my equine repro assignment :)
carole
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Sat Mar 29, 2014 6:00 pm

She is basically ready to foal! Gonna keep watching the cam tonight!
'External signs: My Special Girl is pacing, sweating, and lifting her tail, all signs that she is ready to deliver. 5:47 pm, ET.

The clinical team has assembled and is ready to go into action.

Her udder is fully "waxed" on both teats with dried milk. The udder size continues to increase, now two on a scale of zero to three.'
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ThreeMustangs
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Sat Mar 29, 2014 9:14 pm

She's foaling!
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Ridan_Remembered
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Sat Mar 29, 2014 9:30 pm

ThreeMustangs wrote:She's foaling!
What are they doing to that baby? Is something wrong with the foal? Why won't they get out of the way and let the mare and foal get acquainted?

Ok, scratch above. Things are looking better now. Congrats to the beautiful mare on the birth of her baby.

I wish someone was around on here who has enough knowledge to clue me in to what's happening with that foal. Sigh.
Last edited by Ridan_Remembered on Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
BaroqueAgain1
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Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:00 pm

Three people working on the foal, another holding the mare on a lead, a fifth hovering...that seems like a lot a medical attention for that foal. Is it OK?
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Ridan_Remembered
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Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:14 pm

BaroqueAgain1 wrote:Three people working on the foal, another holding the mare on a lead, a fifth hovering...that seems like a lot a medical attention for that foal. Is it OK?
Wish I knew, Baroque. I've been watching since the foal emerged and can't figure it out. Best guess is they think the foal is weak. Been listening to its heart a lot. Now the mare is getting anxious. The baby looked like it could get up on its own without all that interference, but I'm only guessing.

Now we got people in there shooting videos and pictures. Can't they just leave mom and baby alone until the foal is up on its feet? Looks close to being able to do that. To my uneducated (to foaling) eye, it seems like an awful lot of interference.
BaroqueAgain1
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Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:31 pm

It did to me, as well...and then I remembered. This is at a vet school. You could say the mare and her foal are part of the education. I suspect every student there has come in to the stall to listen to the foal's heart and examine it, to understand what a foal's heart is supposed to sound like?
I also think that the foal was given some of the mare's milk, and the students may have been having to learn how to milk a mare, and then administer the colostrum-rich milk to a new foal. Some baby's life may depend on that knowledge someday.
lurkey mclurker
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Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:33 pm

c/p from Facebook (sorry I am not on it)


My Special Girl’s water broke at 9pm and the foal was delivered at 9:22 pm. Her colt was big, but the presentation, position, and posture were all normal. Due to the foal’s size, New Bolton Center clinicians decided to assist with the delivery. The birth canal was lubricated and the colt was delivered with moderate traction. The total duration of Stage 2 labor (the time between the water breaking and the actual birth) was 22 minutes. This is normal for a mare. Members of New Bolton Center’s renowned NICU and Reproduction teams were present. NICU clinicians took samples of the mare's allantoic and amniotic fluids and also drew blood from the foal to run tests that are routinely run on all foals born in the NICU.

"It was good that we were here," said Regina Turner, Associate Professor of Large Animal Reproduction. "It was a strain for the mare because the colt was fairly large and his shoulders were hung up briefly in the birth canal. We were able to assist the delivery with some lubrication and traction. We are all so happy that the mare and foal are bonding so well. It looks like My Special Girl is going to be a great mom."


It's a BOY! My Special Girl gave birth to a colt at Penn Vet New Bolton Center at 9:22 this evening. Mother and son are both doing well. Stay tuned for further information. In a few days we'll be announcing details about the naming contest!


My Special Girl is cleaning her darling foal.
lurkey mclurker
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Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:34 pm

a pic

Image

It's a BOY! My Special Girl gave birth to a colt at Penn Vet New Bolton Center at 9:22 this evening. Mother and son are both doing well. Stay tuned for further information. In a few days we'll be announcing details about the naming contest!
lurkey mclurker
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Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:36 pm

Here is the FB page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Penn-Vet/86740226572

He has a little white foot. :) And they are in the page header!
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Ridan_Remembered
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Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:43 pm

BaroqueAgain1 wrote:It did to me, as well...and then I remembered. This is at a vet school. You could say the mare and her foal are part of the education. I suspect every student there has come in to the stall to listen to the foal's heart and examine it, to understand what a foal's heart is supposed to sound like?
I also think that the foal was given some of the mare's milk, and the students may have been having to learn how to milk a mare, and then administer the colostrum-rich milk to a new foal. Some baby's life may depend on that knowledge someday.
Thank you so much for the your insight. I've been really worried about the little guy. As I type this (7:41pm Pacific time), the foal is sleeping and mom is laying down near him after having some water. She looked crampy there for awhile, but seems relaxed now. She even rolled a bit.

Most foals are on their feet within an hour of birth, but this one never got the chance with all the people hovering over him. Looks like he's starting to wake up now.

Hard to tell if he's on his feet now because mom is in the way of the camera, but he almost made it at 7:44 Pacific time.

Almost...7:49pm Pacific time. Not quite strong enough in his rear yet.

Mom just gave a small buck. She's seemed crampy, like she's straining to eliminate.
Last edited by Ridan_Remembered on Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Della
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Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:50 pm

The foal is still not standing - an hour and a half now. Looks like he was tube fed about 30 minutes ago.
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Ridan_Remembered
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Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:55 pm

Della wrote:The foal is still not standing - an hour and a half now. Looks like he was tube fed about 30 minutes ago.
Yes, but do you think he's not standing because of all the people who were around before? Seems like he got tired after all that. I'm totally not experienced with foaling, so don't know what to think about this situation. Hope the foal is going to be OK.

Nearly 8pm Pacific. People back in the stall took mare and foal out. Sigh. :(
Last edited by Ridan_Remembered on Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Della
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Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:57 pm

He's certainly trying to get up - just not enough strength behind yet.
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ThreeMustangs
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Sat Mar 29, 2014 10:59 pm

From their FB page:

My Special Girl’s water broke at 9pm and the foal was delivered at 9:22 pm. Her colt was big, but the presentation, position, and posture were all normal. Due to the foal’s size, New Bolton Center clinicians decided to assist with the delivery. The birth canal was lubricated and the colt was delivered with moderate traction. The total duration of Stage 2 labor (the time between the water breaking and the actual birth) was 22 minutes. This is normal for a mare. Members of New Bolton Center’s renowned NICU and Reproduction teams were present. NICU clinicians took samples of the mare's allantoic and amniotic fluids and also drew blood from the foal to run tests that are routinely run on all foals born in the NICU.

"It was good that we were here," said Regina Turner, Associate Professor of Large Animal Reproduction. "It was a strain for the mare because the colt was fairly large and his shoulders were hung up briefly in the birth canal. We were able to assist the delivery with some lubrication and traction. We are all so happy that the mare and foal are bonding so well. It looks like My Special Girl is going to be a great mom."
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Ridan_Remembered
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Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:00 pm

Della wrote:He's certainly trying to get up - just not enough strength behind yet.
I wonder if they broke something pulling him out of the mare. I hate it that they issued an upbeat press release saying mom and foal are doing well when that's clearly not the case.

Oh wait, they seem to have helped the foal stand. They're back in the foaling stall.

He is weak, but standing more or less on his own. Next challenge is to get to where the food is. :)

Mom's trying to gently guide him to the correct end of her, lol.
Last edited by Ridan_Remembered on Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
BaroqueAgain1
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Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:06 pm

After getting a bit of help, he was standing for a few moments, before he did a typical foal fold-up back to the straw. His legs looked normal...all pointing the right way.
Aannd he's up again. I think he's coming along OK. Looks like he's going to be a good-sized...and black...horse when he grows up.

(I sure wish the camera on the stall wouldn't keep timing out...I have to click to reconnect about every minute. :x )
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Ridan_Remembered
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Sat Mar 29, 2014 11:08 pm

BaroqueAgain1 wrote:After getting a bit of help, he was standing for a few moments, before he did a typical foal fold-up back to the straw. His legs looked normal...all pointing the right way.
Aannd he's up again. I think he's coming along OK. Looks like he's going to be a good-sized...and black...horse when he grows up.

(I sure wish the camera on the stall wouldn't keep timing out...I have to click to reconnect about every minute. :x )
And he's nursing. YAY!!!!!!! Well he did for a moment, but is now under mom. But this is much more encouraging than earlier.

8:15 Pacific...a vet is helping the foal figure out how to nurse, or that's what it looks like. Mom is such a patient girl. Got to give her a lot of credit.
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