Donkey Foal

Donkey Foal Saved Using ‘Squeeze Technique’

Scarsdale Equine’s medicine specialist Dr Kirstie Pickles recently treated this ‘dummy’ donkey foal. Dummy foals are so called because they do not seem to know what to do. They show poor affinity for their mother, weak or absent suckle and often seem disorientated and display aimless wandering.

The condition is also called neonatal maladjustment syndrome. At 8 hours old this foal had not suckled from its mother and was weak and becoming dehydrated. She had a very poor suckle reflex (i.e. she barely sucked if a finger was placed in her mouth) and could not latch onto her mother’s teat.

Kirstie tubed the foal with colostrum and then used a new technique called the ‘Madigan Squeeze’ which uses a special 20 minute rope squeeze technique to recreate passage through the birth canal and act as a wake up signal to the foal.  Immediately after releasing the rope, the foal stood and suckled from her mother.

PicsEquineStarHorsesDonkFoal1Within 24 hours, the foal was active, suckling and moving around the field with her mum.

PicsEquineStarHorsesDonk1We have video footage of ‘before’ and ‘after’ this technique was undertaken to show how effective it was for this foal.


PicsEquineStarHorsesDonk2Before coming to Scarsdale Vets, Kirstie worked with Dr Madigan, who developed this treatment, and has previously published research on the technique.

You can read more about the squeeze technique at!foalsqueezing/c1r2z