See a video about the twin foals
For immediate release
Stephanie Valberg, University of Minnesota Equine Center, 612-805-3927
Brian Graves, College of Veterinary Medicine, 612-624-6228
U of M Equine Center delivers and cares for rare twin horses
MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (May 21, 2010) – The University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine equine hospital has delivered on a very rare feat – twin foals. It is extremely rare for horses to give birth to twins (less then 1 percent of live births are successful), due to the size of foals, the limited size of a mare’s uterus, and type of placenta. Today, however, after three weeks of around-the-clock care, twins Henry and William are going home.
On the evening of April 30, Princess gave birth to the pair. Henry was born first without difficulty, and then, to the owner’s surprise, William was born. Both foals were smaller and weaker than a normal foal. The owner knew that twin foals were high-risk and could develop complications such as difficulty breathing and infections, so she quickly brought them to the Equine Hospital. They were admitted into the neonatal intensive care unit, which has much the same equipment as a human ICU.
Initially, with help to stand, William could nurse from his mother, but Henry needed to be bottle-fed for three days until he was strong enough to stand with assistance. For three weeks, the foals received examinations, blood tests, IV fluid, IV nutrition, and antibiotic therapy from internal medicine specialists. They received constant monitoring by veterinary technicians, assisted by U of M veterinary students and volunteers.
This week, after a blood transfusion from Hercules, the college’s blood-donating horse, Henry became much stronger and was ready to go home. After three weeks at the equine hospital, the foal’s lungs and bones have matured, and Henry successfully fought off pneumonia.
The College of Veterinary Medicine improves the health and well-being of animals and people by providing high-quality veterinary training, conducting leading-edge research, and delivering innovative veterinary services.
The Veterinary Medical Center (VMC) has served the community for more than a century. It is the most advanced, full-service referral care center for large and small animals in Minnesota. The VMC sees more than 35,000 cases annually, with specialists available in all areas of medicine and surgery. More than 50 of the veterinarians on staff have undergone several years of additional training to become board-certified specialists in a particular area of veterinary medicine.