Monday, December 16, 2013

Memory Monday: A Lucky Day

It seemed to be a very unlucky week indeed.  The red filly had choked the day previous and I had the vet out since I get a little paranoid about respiratory inhalation during choke and the subsequent infections.

But fortunately by the time SuperVet came out, the choke had resolved and her breathing was clear.  Good news indeed.  Apparently I just had a super talented horse that was choking on hay/pasture (read: special).

The following day, I went out to feed her the evening grain to watch her chew.  I had her in the barn eating, when I noticed the semi feral mare laying down.  During dinner time.

This was a problem.

My father was out with me, so he went and brought her in and I realized she was colicing.  She had in the past, an occasional gas colic, usually from her skill of consuming food in massive quantities in a very short time.  She is the only horse I've ever seen eat a bale of hay in an hour.  Seriously.  More than once.

So this time, I thought it was probably another gas colic.  She looked like a beached whale or at least a ten month pregnant Arabian mare. 

Another individual at the barn is a vet tech and took a quick listen to her gut and we realized that there were no gut sounds.  Cool.  I had already called the vet, given banamine per orders, and was walking her as she was a little uncomfortable.  At least with banamine on board, she wasn't trying to lay and roll.

Her gums began to pale.  Her head dropped to the levels that would make any western pleasure Quarter Horse proud.  She stopped caring about walking over the nefarious garden hose/snake. 

I don't exactly know when I realized this was something else.  That this was no longer simple.  I called the vet again, who was on her way.  It was late on a Friday evening (of course).  

Verdict: Still hydrated, no organized gut sounds, pale gums, and apparent large colon displacement.  The unfortunate thing is this is usually surgical.  The Semi Feral Mare is nicknamed this for a reason.  Mostly because things like extended stall rest (or even stalling post hock injections) don't go over well.  Staying in one place doesn't necessarily go over well. 

I didn't think she would ever tolerate surgery and the post care, in addition to the obvious finances of it all.  So we decided to go ahead and try the "bumpy trailer ride" route.  Sometimes a jarring trailer ride can displace enough gas or shift enough to cause everything to revert to its proper place.  This of course, required the mare to load onto the trailer.  Despite the fact she was feeling quite dopey, she wasn't particularly interested in loading onto a pitch black trailer at nine thirty at night.

Reason number 765 I love my vet.  She stayed and helped me load that mare on the trailer.  I can load a horse, but sometimes, it's just plain helpful to have someone else.

One bumpy trailer ride later, I had a slightly irritated horse, but still no reduction in gas or manure passing.  Damn.

By this time, the superfriend J had arrived.  I was reaching a point when I realized this was going to be very ugly indeed and despite being involved in the veterinary industry for a while, when it's my own animals, emotions are certainly at play!  J was definitely a good rock that night.

The vet tech friend stopped home and brought sleeping bags so we didn't freeze to death and a couple drinks to ease my nerves.  ;)  We settled into a routine of sleeping in the barn aisle and walking, chasing, lunging, and pretty much anything every hour or so to see if anything would make a difference.

I think it was about midnight when I pulled up her gums and I saw they were red.  I tried mentally to prepare for the worst.  I didn't see the end for this, but at least with enough drugs on board, the mare was fairly comfortable.  She wasn't rolling, she wasn't upset.  She just stood there and stared at us.  

J decided to go get the giant horse soccer ball.  A few years previous, I had attended a clinic involving the soccer ball and it became apparent that is the one thing of which this horse was deathly afraid.  She had run backwards so quickly, she actually ended up laying down.  So perhaps, the soccer ball could scare her out of death.

We went ahead and were kicking it around the arena.  One end of the arena was a little wet and slippery from where an individual always dumped her water buckets.  J went ahead and kept kicking the ball and the mare slipped hard on that slick spot.  She slid across part of the arena, acquiring impressive road rash.  She stood up, shook herself off a bit, and literally began to deflate.  

It had happened.  Somehow in that fall, she was replaced the displacement and moved enough gas around.  She brightened up.  I felt a flutter of hope.  Could it be?

The night was still long and cold.  Like clockwork, we woke up and peeked at her in the stall at short intervals during the night.  As dawn broke and she got restless and pacey from being inside, I knew that she was certainly feeling better.

What a lucky day for a mare.  Who knows how long things may have progressed before being spotted if I hadn't been there checking on the filly's choke?  Don't know, but like to think that early intervention and care (and a slick spot) made a difference.  :)


  1. Replies
    1. Me too! When I was talking to the vet while drugged horses were coming out of sedation post teeth work, we were discussing on how lucky she was. My vet didn't think she was going to make it through that one! I always feel like lots of crap happens...and it does, but this was one time when it went in my (and the mare's!) favor.


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