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‘Exceptional’ Suffolk mare beats the odds to survive and look after her new filly

A Suffolk mare who developed a life-threatening infection after foaling beat the odds to survive and look after her foal.

The Suffolk Punch Trust’s 11-year-old Vumba Deanne delivered a healthy filly by Stockton Boxer on 3 May, but a few days later the mare developed an infection owing to complications caused by a retained placenta. Deanne was treated for the infection but then developed laminitis brought on by toxic shock.

Stud manager Tracey Pettitt told H&H Deanne and her foal, who will be named by the public in a fundraising competition, received round-the-clock care.

“Things like a retained placenta can be deadly, and then for the infection to sadly leave Deanne laminitic was sad,” she said. “It’s just one of those things and Deanne has been incredibly unlucky. She’s had foals before without any complications.

“The main thing is she’s still here when we thought at one point she had little chance of survival. She is free of infection, the laminitis is going the right way and we’re quietly confident she is coming out the other side.”

Tracey said Deanne has been an “exceptional” mother despite her illnesses.

“She is an absolute sweetheart. You can see she’s under the weather but she’s done her best for her foal. She’s a diamond of a mare,” she said.

“We’ve been watching them 24 hours a day on camera and were prepared to bottle-feed if we had to, but it hasn’t come to that. At times when Deanne has been down she’s lifted her hind leg to let her foal nurse from the ground.”

Tracey added Deanne and her filly will remain indoors until the mare is fully recovered but it is hoped they will get to enjoy the summer with the charity’s other new arrivals; Colony Gremlin out of Weatherfield Daisy and by Hasset Haratio, and Colony Gunther out of Colony Vee and by Stockton Boxer.

“The filly has seen Gunther and Gremlin in the foaling barn when they come in at night but we’re just longing for the day all three mares and foals can meet properly and play together,” said Tracey.

“Gunther was named by staff after the character from Friends but Gremlin was named in a earlier competition. We decided with the tough times we are facing right now to hold a fundrasier and allow the public to put a name forward. We are now giving people the chance to name Deanne’s foal too.”

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Tracey said the three foals are “vital” for the breed, which remains on the critically endangered list.

“To have a filly born is amazing and hopefully in the future she will go forward into our breeding programme,” she said.

“We do what we can in respect of breeding and trying to promote the breed by encouraging new owners to come forward. People don’t always realise although they’re a heavy breed, they’ve been proven to do well in a variety of disciplines.”

The competition to name the filly is open until 9 June (www.thesuffolkpunchtrust.co.uk)

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