For a horse with a famous lineage, health issues arrive after giving birth
Secretariat, the winner of the 1973 Triple Crown in horse racing, has some new relatives in Minnesota. In mid-May, the great-great-great grandchildren on the famous race horse were born on a farm in Peterson, Minnesota.
"I looked a little closer and saw the two front legs, and said oh there's two!" owner Sylvia Passow told Fox 9.
The joy of the birth soon led to worry as a horse giving birth to twins can be very dangerous.
"Twins are very, very uncommon in horses. Generally they don't survive until birth because the horse is not made to carry twins," Passow said.
The two foals, Grace and King, are currently at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center. While they are doing well, there is concern for their mom, a 21-year-old named Babe. She is having trouble standing, which for a horse can be a death sentence.
"It's very hard, Babe is like a part of our family, we've had her since she was a baby. Horses all have their own personality and you can't get much more sweeter than Baby Doll (Babe) is," Passow said.
Babe's health issues started about two weeks after giving birth when she was diagnosed with a severe neurological issue referred to as Equine Protozoal Myeloencepathy or EPM, which is a disease that comes from the feces of wild animals, typically possums.
Three weeks ago, Babe, unable to walk, was brought to the University of Minnesota's Veterinary Medical Center where she could be placed in the only sling to support her in the state.
"She'll be in this 24 hours a day. She'll eat in this, sleep in this," said Dr. Anna Firshman of the Veterinary Medical Center. "And she's very good in that she shows us when she's getting tired, certain times we are able to lower it so she can lay down."
With a 60 percent chance of recovery, the medical staff is working around the clock nursing Babe back to health while she nurses her twins.
Babe is expected to stay at the U of M for at least another month. The Passows are bracing a $10,000 veterinary bill.
A GoFundMe page has already racked up more than $5,000.
The owners say any additional money raised will be given right back to the veterinary center to help the next horse that needs help.