Wednesday, June 2, 2010


The short version:

It's colic season and yesterday was apparently Lucy's turn, poor girl. Two other horses have colicked this week but they were both gas colics and Lucy's turned out to be an impaction. We caught it just in time and treated it aggressively and she seems to be much better this morning.

Here's the long version:

I stayed home sick from work yesterday and around 1pm, Kenny and I went to the barn to do the stall and give the pony some snuggles. We got there and something was clearly not right. She was trying to roll in her stall, she was covered in sweat, and she looked terrible. I put her in the ring to observe her and make sure I wasn't just imagining things, but she rolled three times and was not interested in the grass. I gave her a dose of Banamine and called the vet and they said they'd be there in an hour. This was my first colic experience but I was pretty sure I had all the symptoms correct...she was rolling, laying down/getting up repeatedly, not eating (I had made her a mash of alfalfa cubes, sugar cubes, and molasses for lunch and she didn't even lip at it), and when she laid down she kind of stared at her sides. Judging from her behaviour (obviously uncomfortable but no violent thrashing around), I guessed that we had caught it just in time before it got bad.

When it is super hot outside, the horses go out in the mornings and come in at 12:30, so I called the lady who had brought her in and she said Lucy seemed totally normal and wanted to eat when she came in. She must have started colicking between 12:30 when she came in, and 1:30 when I got there, which is not too bad seeing as if I had gone to work like normal, I would not have gone to the barn until 4:30 at the earliest.

I hand-walked her for almost two hours while waiting for the vet (who when I called him, was at another colic, and after he was done treating Lucy had to go to yet another one) and she didn't pass any manure or gas during that time, which was concerning. Normally she is a poop machine (and I apologize for my non-horsey friends having to read about my horses pooping habits, because no one wants to hear about their friends animals pooping and peeing, and I know it's not pleasant but such is life and horses) so I knew this was not right.

Anyway, the vet finally got to the barn two hours after I initially called, and the Banamine had worked its magic. She was much perkier and didn't go right down to roll when we weren't walking. He checked her vitals and everything seemed about right, which I think was helped by the Banamine a bit because when I first got there, she was breathing at twice the normal rate. He did an exam and found a big blockage that wasn't rock hard, but he suspected it was holding things up. He also tubed her, which she did not like at all even though she was sedated, and pumped a few gallons of oil, electrolytes and water into her.

That was about it, and he waited around for about fifteen minutes to see how she was doing, but she just stood there looking dazed. He had another colic to go to after Lucy, so he couldn't wait much longer but said to call back if I needed him again, and he left. I waited about another hour and just sat by her stall talking to her and petting her nose, but she didn't seem to perk back up, and she didn't poop at all. I left the barn to go home and eat something and went back around 9pm to check on her again. She still looked dazed and exhausted but she had pooped twice and didn't seem to be in any pain. I updated my barn owner with the latest news and left it at that.

This morning I was there at 7:15 and she was perky and demanding her grain. It's funny that after the Ehrlichia ordeal, I joked that if she ever refused to eat, I should be really worried. She hadn't pooped any more through the night, but I felt better just seeing her with her ears pricked and nickering. She got a handful of grain and a tiny bit of hay. She had drank about a gallon of water, which is not a lot, but the vet had told me not to worry if she didn't drink a whole lot, because he had filled her up with so many fluids last night that she probably wouldn't "feel" thirsty. She will get turned out today and I am hoping that walking around in her paddock will continue to encourage things to move along, and hopefully she will be ready for dinner this afternoon when I get out of work. I wish I had cleaned her paddock out so that I knew if she pooped at all, but I didn't think to do so until I was already at work.

I have got to say that I just love my barn. I know I have mentioned before how awesome it is there but having experienced a colic, I appreciated everyones help so much. It's not a ritzy barn by any means but the facilities are more than I had hoped for when barn shopping. I'd take a low-key non-ritzy barn with great people over the fanciest barn in town with not so great people any day! The barn owner is a great horseman and the other boarders were so nice and supportive yesterday. I had Cairo with me at the barn through the whole ordeal and they took her for me and played with her while the vet did his thing so that she wasn't in the way, and then they were genuinely concerned about Lucy and all of them told me that if I needed anything at all, I could call them at any time even in the middle of the night. They made what was a very stressful situation much easier by just being there and asking if they could help, and taking the puppy for me. Of course I thought we were just going to the barn to muck the stall and set up grain, which would be maybe half an hour, and I ended up being there for almost six hours!

All in all, it could have been a LOT worse. I felt like I was maybe jumping the gun by giving banamine and calling the vet right away but in the end I know I did the right thing. An impaction wouldn't have worked itself out easily and she could have gone downhill quickly if I had waited. I am also glad I was prepared with the Banamine. When I bought her in November I asked the vet if I could purchase a tube of Banamine, Ace, and some bute just to have on hand. I think that the Banamine and bute are crucial to have at all times, since if you discover you need it and you don't have it, any delay in treatment can really make or break the chances of a quick recovery. Seeing her face this morning and hearing her nicker at me made the whole ordeal worth it, but I kindly asked her to keep the emergency vet calls to a minimum from now on, and to DRINK WATER ;).

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