When Bella, a 7-year-old Thoroughbred maiden mare, went into labor last month, her owners Tom and Nicole Bachman were excited and sprang into action. But they soon realized something was terribly wrong.
Brave, a newborn male foal, was born five weeks premature and immediately brought to the UC Davis veterinary hospital with his dam, Ally, who was also experiencing a life threatening condition with uterine artery bleeding. Upon arrival, the colt was lethargic with diarrhea and mild colic. They were received by the Equine Internal Medicine and Equine Medical Emergency, Critical Care and Neonatology Services. A large team, led by a neonatal specialist, was quickly assembled to care for the pair. An initial physical exam in the Lucy Whittier Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) found signs consistent with a premature foal, pneumonia, and sepsis. Brave's long journey out of the NICU was just beginning.