Archived News

Worldwide Kudos of Foal Maladjustment Treatment

April 29, 2016

Dr. John Madigan administers the Madigan Foal Squeeze Procedure on a newborn foal.

Dr. John Madigan administers the Madigan Foal Squeeze Procedure on a newborn foal.

The School of Veterinary Medicine continues to receive “thanks and praise” from people all over the world who have tried Dr. John Madigan’s dummy foal squeeze technique. Dubbed the Madigan Foal Squeeze Procedure, it is utilized to reduce the symptoms of neonatal maladjustment syndrome, or dummy foal syndrome, a disorder that occurs in only three to five percent of live horse births.

The technique uses a simple rope harness to gently squeeze the foal and mimic the pressure normally experienced in the birth canal. To recreate that pressure, Dr. Madigan and his team developed a method for wrapping a foal’s upper torso with several loops of a soft rope, creating a temporary harness. When pressure is applied with the rope, creating a gentle squeeze, the foal lies down and appears to be asleep.

After 20 minutes—about the same time a foal would spend in the birth canal—the rope is loosened and the squeeze pressure released. In initial cases, the foals have responded well to the procedure and recovered, some rising to their feet within minutes, bounding over to join the mare and nurse from her.

Many equine clinicians, trainers and owners throughout the world have picked up on this technique—mostly via videos on social media or magazine articles—and successfully attempted the procedure – some after only watching the video once.

Here is a sample of what equine enthusiasts are saying about this astonishing procedure:

“I just wanted to pass on a huge thank you, as we had a dummy foal born which we squeezed and reverted to normal behavior (utilizing Dr. Madigan’s technique). He was showing mild classic signs…we squeezed for 25 minutes…the foal has never looked back.”
                    -Dr. Emma A., South Africa

“After reading an article about this procedure, we had a dummy foal born. We struggled with bottle feeding him for several hours and then remembered Dr. Madigan’s procedure. We tried it, and when we let him up, he was so ‘normal.’ It was quite amazing! Thank goodness we had seen this and were able to implement it.”
                   -Suzanna J., Saint Albans, West Virginia

“I wanted to write a message of a huge thank you to Dr. Madigan. I had a client’s mare give birth to a dummy foal. He never once tried to follow the mare, who was screaming for him. While researching orphan foals, I stumbled across UC Davis’ video on newborn horse syndrome. We attempted to duplicate your method. (Just after administering) he got up and trotted over to his mom, and went under her belly.”
                   -Kayleigh H., Toano, Virginia

“After successfully utilizing Dr. Madigan’s dummy foal squeeze technique, I wrote about it in Miniature Horse World, and posted it to Facebook. My original posts (from August 2015) have been shared thousands of times all around the world. Even now, I get several notifications a day that the post is still being shared. In my opinion, Dr. Madigan is a genius to have put all the pieces of the puzzle together and come up with this technique. Thank you for saving so many foals.”
                   -Dr. Lynn G., Alexandria, Virginia

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The William R. Pritchard Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital at the University of California, Davis—a unit of the #1 world ranked School of Veterinary Medicine—provides state-of-the-art clinical care while serving as the primary clinical teaching experience for DVM students and post graduate veterinarian residents. The VMTH treats more than 51,000 animals a year, ranging from cats and dogs to horses, cows and exotic species. To learn more about the VMTH, please go to Timely news updates can be received on its Facebook ( and Twitter ( pages.

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