Why the Long Face? You Had Twins! A One in a Million Chance?

March 31, 2010

RANCHO SANTA FE, Calif., March 31 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — “Sunny” and “Angel” may look like normal foals. But their veterinarian and the care providers at Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Equine Hospital know that they’re anything but normal. These babies and their mother, a 9-year-old mare named “Lena,” overcame unbelievable odds just to be born!

“This is the first time since we opened the hospital in 1986 that Helen Woodward Animal Center (HWAC) has had a pair of twin foals under our care,” says spokesman John Van Zante. “Even the person who assisted in their delivery said it’s the first time in her 25 years that she’s seen a horse successfully give birth to a pair of twins.”

The mommy horse is a 9-year-old, maiden, registered Quarter Horse. Her owner says that she didn’t know Lena was expecting twins until they were being born. When the foaling was complete at around 5:00 AM on Sunday, March 28, 2010 she had given birth to a colt that would be named “Sunny” and a filly now called “Angel.”

Their veterinarian, Dr. Rodrigo Vazquez, says that the birth of twins is exceptionally rare. “Most horse owners don’t want their mares to have twins. It can be extremely dangerous for the mare and the foals.” Vazquez says that most twin pregnancies are interrupted around the second week of gestation to prevent a mid-term abortion. “One of the embryos is manually reduced to protect the mare and allow the other embryo to grow to full term.”

Just because Sunny and Angel survived birth doesn’t mean that they’re out of danger. Van Zante says, “Twin birth for horses is so rare that it’s hard to find accurate statistics. In round figures, the chance of a mare and both twin foals surviving birth is around one in 10,000. Sunny and Angel may have as little as a one in 15,000 chance of surviving more than two weeks.”

Sunny and Angel are Quarter Horse – Arabian mix. Usual gestation period for a foal is 11 months. Vazquez says that both foals went full-term, which gives them a better chance of survival. They are being monitored round-the-clock and, as of now, all signs are good.

Helen Woodward Animal Center has set up live, streaming video at


For more information about Helen Woodward Animal Center or to make a donation call 858-756-4117.

SOURCE Helen Woodward Animal Center

Source: newswire

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