Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Life Dares to Interfere with My Dream - Part 2

It's been my experience since I got into Arabian horses that if a vet tells me an hour it's probably going to be closer to two if not even longer. As I walked this colt around the yard with his condition deteriorating rapidly I wondered how I was going to deal with any delays.

I made my way to the horse trailer and got a crop just in case I needed more pressure to keep the horse from laying down. Having to force a horse to keep moving is one of the most emotional parts of dealing with a colic if you ask me. I could see that time was coming and really dreading it when the vet called to say he was headed my way.

By the time the vet actually arrived, I had only had to use my voice and a tug or two to keep Patriot moving. At least I was spared that part of this awful experience. I headed the colt back to a stall so he could be evaluated by the vet.

I already knew what he would find. There were no gut sounds at all. None in any of the four quadrants of the horse's gut. The horse's capillary refill was good but not great. That was really only the positive sign.

The first thing Jack did was give the horse a combination of tranquilizer and banamine. Then he prepared to push the plastic tube up his nose and down into his stomach. He had some concerns about the tube being too large to fit this refined yearling and for an instant I panicked worrying about what kind of delay that might mean.

Despite an awkward start the tube slid down into position. However, the smell that emanated from the tube was very sour, another sign that things were not good. Jack tried to pump a mixture of oil and laxative into the horse's gut but had to stop before he even got to the water that was supposed to follow. The mixture was refluxing out of the horse's stomach, a clear sign we had a blockage or a twist.

As Patriot dropped his head down low more and more of the fluid began to run out of his nose. The odor was odd. The texture and color wasn't what I expected either. It was variegated with the color of the vet's tonic, grass, and what looked to be the lining of the horse's stomach. It was clear to Jack that the horse's entire gut had shut down. Things did not look good for Patriot.

I remember the feeling as the color drained from my face while I waited for Jack's thoughts on our best course of action. I knew there was no way we could afford a $10,000 colic surgery. This colt was not going to get that kind of intervention. The fact Jack had been unable to get down the kind of fluids necessary to treat a colic made the possibility of this treatment successful was slim to none.

Jack explained the amount of fluid that had been retained indicated a very high blockage. The large intestine does not expand while the small intestine will blow up like a balloon to make room for quite a bit of fluid. Because of the location of the blockage intravenous hydration would not help. All we could do was wait and hope that what fluids we did get down would do the trick.

Jack gave me a shot to give Patriot if he began hurting again. I was to administer the shot intramuscularly and call Jack immediately. He would come asap to euthanize the horse so he didn't have to suffer. That was the best that we could do.

If our intervention gave the horse any kind of relief we would know within an hour. That's about how long it would take for the first tranquilizer to wear off. Rarely do horses recover from a colic as severe as this but we were going to give Patriot his chance.

I can't even tell you how I felt. I think mostly I was numb. I talked to Lindsay about checking the colt for signs of pain each time she passed his stall to empty her wheelbarrow. Then I went into the house and set the timer for rechecks. The waiting game began.

Jack had told me if the colt was ok after the first hour I should fix him some bran mash. When he began passing the bran mash, I could begin giving him small amounts of soaked grass hay.

The first hour came and went and Patriot actually began to act like he was feeling better. His eye was brighter and his movements more normal. He soon began nosing through the bedding for something to eat. Even though Patriot had shared a mash with his mother on more than one occasion he sure wanted nothing to do with it now.

The vet called checking on the horse's condition every hour. By the third one he decided since Patriot had slurped the water from the bran mash but hadn't really eaten any of it, I should soak a couple of small handfuls of grass hay for the colt to eat. If it came back out his nose we would know that we hadn't really made any progress at all. It was just a lull before a storm.

By evening the colt had been given three different opportunities to eat those small amounts of soaked hay. Each time he had devoured every single blade of grass and slurped up the water it was soaked in as well. At no point did anything reflux. What the colt was ingesting was staying where it belonged. Our next step was to be watching for poop.

I moved the mare and foal out of their stall and put Patriot in there. I wanted to keep and eye on the colt with the webcam. Several times through the night I got up and checked his progress with each time the colt looking just fine.

By early morning when the vet called there was a very small pile of poop. Only one.......a total of five little dark balls.........but it was poop. The next step was to put him on UlcerGuard twice a day to help heal the lining of his stomach and his normal hay ration soaked and feed over five feedings spaced throughout the day.

So far so good..........Patriot seems to have beaten the odds. We'll know for sure when we see that concoction the vet tubed him with show up out the other end. Once again, I find myself on poop patrol........thank God!

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  1. Thank God indeed! You have had enough trouble for now and need a break! Sure sounds like you & the vet caught this before it was totally out of hand.

    Hugs to you, Lindsay & Patriot!

  2. I'm soo glad to hear the little one is doing better today!! I bet you've never been so excited to see horse poo before huh!

  3. That colt just doesn't look like he feels very well in the picture. LOL

    I read the whole post and am thankful I don't own horses or cows or things like that anymore as I could not stand the sickness they sometimes have. It was bad enough when our dogs got sick and we had to take them to the vets. You do a marvelous job and I am thankful for that.

  4. Oh, my god, Mikael. I was so scared to read through to the end of this. I have tears of relief in my eyes right now, that at least Patriot made it through that first day. I'll keep hoping and praying that he is still doing well.


  5. Mikael, I'm so glad Patriot is feeling better. Hopefully the worse is over.

  6. Come on Patriot! We are all pulling for you!!! Keeping you both in my thoughts and prayers:)


  7. Heres hoping on lots of poop to show up MiKael.... Will keep Patriot in our pryaers, and you too!

  8. Sounds a bit more hopeful but still keeping everything crossed for you. The waiting must be a nightmare.

  9. You have me on the edge on my seat, I am off to check the webcam now. I know what you are feeling I have only had one occasion where a mare coliced and was so bad that I had to beat her to keep her up, she had a two week foal at the time. It was very traumatic so I feel your pain.

    Hoping for more good news.

  10. Whew. The stars all aligned properly this time. Thank goodness!

  11. ((HUGS!!)) *fingers crossed for poop* A friend of mine lost her mare a few days ago to colic...hope that doesn't happen to Patriot and he's passing poop again like he should be!!

  12. I'm glad to see he is feeling better. My wish for you (and Patriot) is a couple of huge piles of poop. Now where else in the world would someone wish that for another.

  13. Oh Thank Goodness MiKael. Poor little guy-I bet this has really taken a lot out of him.

    Take care of yourself to lady. I bet the stress is really getting to you.

  14. Oh what a close call! But I'm sure not completely out of the woods yet. Boy I know that feeling. Can Patriot have any probiotics in the future? I gave that at first sign when Kola colicked last.I think it helps.

  15. omg! I was so worried for Patriot!

    I am glad I was able to read pt 1 and 2 at the same time....

    I hope he continues to improve

  16. MiKael - I feel for you. I've been on the end of a lead rope dragging the horse around a few times myself, and it's one of my least favorite experiences. I'm so glad that Patriot is pooping. Fingers crossed and candles lit that he'll just keep improving!

  17. I am so glad to hear that your colt was able to pull through the worst of this! I recently lost my Half-Arabian gelding to a very similar colic situation and I wouldn't wish the pain of losing a horse on anyone. My hopes are with you for his continued recovery and no relapses!!

  18. Thank goodness! Will be praying that he keeps on pooping!! To Poop Patrol!
    Will be continuing to pray for a speedy recovery!

  19. I'm so glad to hear that it ended with poop. Let's hope this colt has more poop in his future. LOTS more poop!

    Hang in there...

  20. Oh, goodness, I'm glad to hear things are looking up. All fingers crossed that your boy makes it through. ((hugs))

  21. I am glad this are on the turn for the better. I had 1 sleepless night with Colic and I hope I never go through that again

  22. It's good to hear that he's pooped a bit. Hopefully that trend continues.

  23. I am sending good vibes to Patriot and you all across the big pond.