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Foal Squeezing with 'Madigan Squeeze'

The Madigan Squeeze procedure can be used to aid foal restraint and works best in foals less than 3 days of age. Keep in mind the foal is asleep and can be aroused, so always be careful and protect yourself. 


The procedure now used worldwide in treating the maladjusted foal - the Madigan Squeeze - has become an everyday use for breeders and veterinarians. It is now used in newborn cattle, sheep, goats, crias, and pigs. It's been a fantastic discovery, along with the evidence we discovered for elevated neurosteroids in the dummy or maladjusted foal.  The elevations in neurosteroids was seen in every case in our international study. All the foals with a clinical diagnosis of maladjustment had elevated levels of neurosteroids. Not a few. Everyone. 

The only controversy I have been aware of regarding the Squeeze procedure is that conventional treatment will be delayed or foals won’t be referred to tertiary care facilities or the referral will be delayed.  The procedure is suggested in foals that have not met the milestones for well-being and have not nursed the mare within 3 hours post-birth. The Madigan Squeeze takes twenty minutes to perform, is safe, and in a published study 30% of foals treated with the Madigan Squeeze were nursing within 1 hour;  in the foals getting tubed and getting an IV  Rx with drugs used previously when we thought it was low oxygen causing the problem - only 4% were nursing in 1 hour. 

Additionally, some foals need more than one squeeze- they perk up after one squeeze and then fade, so do it again. Our studies reveal a continuous rise in sedative neurosteroids post-birth in the dummy foal, a neuroprotective evolutionary strategy with the side effect of failure to nurse in this prey animal.  The 20-minute squeeze produces slow-wave sleep and stimulates the endogenous release of ACTH. (Toth et al. 2012) We think it is a form of tonic immobility and affects the brain's GABA receptor. 


So, continue the field use of the Madigan Squeeze. Avoid use if rib fractures. In the real world, only a few percent of the planet’s newborn foals, which have difficulties post-birth, will have access to referral tertiary care. The squeeze should be used in conjunction with tertiary care to aid the stimulus for the neurosteroid-induced transition of consciousness to create the brain signal neurochemistry of  ' I have been born and need to stand and nurse, not sleep anymore as I did for 11 months while inutero!"  And get the signal - "hey, there is my mother"

Contraindications: foals that have never stood or have any of the following: a rib fracture, respiratory distress or congenital anomalies. 

Equipment: Soft rope 5/8 inch to 3/4 inch diameter which slides easily (length 16-18 feet), optional luggage scale pressure gauge (use 10 to 20 pounds of pressure)



Madigan Foal Squeeze- Part I

Madigan Foal Squeeze- Part II


Evaluation of squeeze-induced somnolence in neonatal foals.


Survey of Veterinarians Using a Novel Physical Compression Squeeze Procedure in the Management of Neonatal Maladjustment Syndrome in Foals

Use of Squeeze-Induced Somnolence for Routine Plasma Administration in Healthy Neonatal Foals

Youtube video on Equine Maladjustment

Youtube video featuring Australian foal 2012:

Madigan Foal Squeeze- Part III

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