Wednesday, September 16, 2015

First Emergency Vet Visit for Arya

I've taken Cookie (my kitty) to the emergency vet twice now, both times for bladder infection, but this was a first for me--a horse emergency.

Shar messaged me on FB (the best way to get ahold of me during the workday, as I'll probably see it blinking on the taskbar, but keep my phone on silent and often face down or in my pocket), simply "call me."  Hmmm...I'd just added on to a comment she wrote in a group we both belong to, but didn't see what could have ticked her off about that.  I was on the phone at the time, so messaged her back to say so, but then stepped outside (what the boss does for personal calls, and when in Rome...) to call her back as soon as I could.  She said something was not right with my horse, and she was going out to catch her.  Uh oh.  She said she was rolling a lot.  (Later, she described exactly what made her decide something was not right--two other horses were getting rambunctious with each other, and Arya stepped into the middle of the fray, but then instead of joining the "fun," she laid down in the middle of it and rolled around.  Yeah, that's not quite like her, much as she likes a good roll after getting all hot and sweaty.)

Yesterday after our ride, I'd noticed a huge hard lump on her back, right under the saddle pad, that felt like a huge annoying bug bite.  So I asked if she was just rolling around like she was enjoying a good itch-scratching, or rolling around like colic.  Like colic, she said.  Shit.  She said she'd check her out and get back to me.

Side note here for the non-horsie folks:  Colic is just a catch-all term that means tummyache.  It can be a relatively mild tummyache, or it can be fatal, or it can be anywhere in between (and potentially remedied with anywhere from "wait and see" to minor therapies to expensive surgery).  Horses can't throw up, so even a mild tummy upset can be painful with no relief in sight, but they can also get bowel impactions at the drop of a hat, from sand, parasites, something non-food they ate, or even just hay or grass packing into a corner of their intestines.  However, even the mildest cases CAN turn much more serious, especially if a section of the intestines twists internally, which will quickly turn fatal as things back up behind it, if the twisted gut dying doesn't kill the horse first.

Shar took a few minutes to listen for gut sounds (minimal, means she's not currently digesting food, and since her normal is to be constantly eating, that's a clear sign she's not feeling well, at the least) and see if she would eat, which she refused, which REALLY meant she wasn't feeling well.

So.

I warned work that I might need to leave soon, and wrapped up a couple things I'd been working on.  Sure enough, Shar messaged that it sure looked like colic to her.  I finished up at work and left.  As I was pulling out, I wondered to myself whether Shar already had banamine (the drug of choice for pain relief with colic) and called her.  She didn't have any, so I said I'd call and/or drop by the vet clinic we both use to get some, since I'd be passing nearly right by it on my way to her place.

I called and asked for our vet if she was in, otherwise whoever could help with a colicking horse.  They didn't have a vet available right then, but put me through to a vet tech.  I was still on the phone with her (she was taking my info) when I arrived at the clinic, so I told her I was in the lobby and she [so rudely! ;-)] hung up on me and came out to meet me.  We talked about options.  There was a vet on call that was currently seeing a patient, then could leave and drive out to Shar's and charge a farm call on top of the other charges that would accrue.  Or if Arya could be hauled to the clinic, she could be seen sooner, since we'd get the timeslot right after the appointment, with the "travel time" being done by the horse while the vet was busy, instead of by the vet AFTER the other patient, plus it would cost me less money.  Hmm...  Called Shar to see if she could haul Arya.  With very little hesitation, and really only to ask if I thought they'd be able to do the health certificate and Coggins for Goodwin to travel down to California in a couple weeks, she agreed.  The tech wasn't sure about the paperwork, but figured probably so, and I figured it wouldn't hurt for Arya to have a buddy for both emotional support and literal support so she couldn't attempt to drop and roll in the trailer while tied by the halter, creating a bigger problem.  So she said she'd load them both up and get there as quickly as she could.  I asked if I should come there to help, and she said no need (both horses are good at loading in normal circumstances, and it doesn't sound like they gave her any trouble this time, either).

So I filled out a form and then just had to sit and wait for her to arrive.  I posted to Facebook, then read some on Facebook, but mostly sat and worried.  I realized I had shoes in my car (as opposed to the sandals I was currently wearing), so I changed into those.  But mostly just sat and worried.

They finally arrived and the staff noticed her pulling in and showed me where to go to get out back.  Shar unloaded Goodwin and tied him to the trailer, and I unloaded Arya.  She clearly was not feeling well but willingly got off the trailer and walked across the asphalt toward the clinic barn.  She balked a little as we approached the rubber mats, but stepped onto them.  When I asked her to step in between the narrow rails of the stocks, she was less impressed, but still did so more or less willingly.  However, once she was standing still there, she thought she might like to lay down and roll, so she got kind of squirmy for a bit, but eventually settled down for the most part.  I rubbed her head.  She mostly held it really low and droopy so at one point I was braiding her forelock and rubbing the top of her head between her ears instead of rubbing the front of her face like she usually likes.

Poor, sad pony.  :-(

The poor girl was clearly not feeling well.  I mean first of all her just walking relatively willingly into a strange situation was one clue.  But her body was droopy yet tense, if that makes sense.  Her eyes looked worried and her breathing was fast.  Poor girlie.  I loved on her while Shar and the vet tech did the initial paperwork for Goodwin (names and addresses of where he was starting and where he was heading).

Soon enough, the vet arrived.  He was GREAT.  Introduced himself, and not only explained what the different things he proposed was going to cost, but what exactly he'd be doing, and even involved me (and Shar) in them.  He showed us how to take a Arya's pulse under her jaw, and complimented Shar when she said she'd assessed the gut sounds the same as he was.

Now that he'd assessed her while she was un-medicated, the first priority was to relieve her pain.  This obviously makes her more comfortable, but it's my understanding it can sometimes actually relieve the actual colic problem, if it's minor enough, as the pain relief allows the intestines to relax and get things flowing again.  He gave her some banamine intravenously and it definitely hit her very quickly--she visibly relaxed and quit squirming around, wishing she could roll.  Her eyes still had a few worry wrinkles, but not as bad as before.

SOP is to do a manual exam rectally to feel around and also take some samples to test for parasites and sand.  He said she didn't have much poop back there, so did, indeed, seem to be stopped up somewhere.  He asked when her last heat cycle was and how it was, and Shar and I looked at each other and laughed.  This is the LEAST mare-ish mare we know--she never shows signs of being in heat.  He said her left ovary was "huge."  (I later asked him to clarify, and he meant huge but normal, like it had been very active, but not problematic.)

The tech took the poop off to check for parasites and sand, and he readied a bucket of water and a very long tube.  Poor Arya.  The tube got shoved up her nose until it reached the junction of the trachea and esophagus, and the doctor had to find just the right pipe at just the right time so Arya would swallow it into her esophagus instead of it passing (easily) into her windpipe.  Definitely don't want to pour water into her lungs!  It eventually got into the right spot, but Arya did NOT appreciate the insertion into her nose or the passing into her esophagus.  Once it was safely in her esophagus, though, the vet BLEW into the other end of the tube, with his MOUTH!  Ew!  But it made passing the tube easier, as it opened up her esophagus just in front of the tube, instead of just plowing ahead with the blunt object.  Once it was all the way into her stomach, he had me hold the tube onto the pump, and he started pumping water into her.  Looked like a two-gallon bucket, or so, and he emptied the entire thing into her tummy.  After the water was fully inside the horse instead of outside, he took the tube off the pump and lowered the end to see how much would reflux back out.  He wasn't super explicit about it, but I gathered that it was a little more than he'd like to see, but not worryingly so.  So that's good, I guess?

So at this point, she's had painkillers and a BIG drink of water.  If she just had mild impaction, the drugs were hopefully relaxing her intestinal walls a little, and the water was going to soften up a bolus of hay, if there was one.  So the vet suggested we take her outside to some grass to see if she was interested in eating now, and he'd go get the results from the fecal testing.

We took her out to a grass paddock, and she put her head down, sniffed, and nibbled.  Not a huge excited bite like would be her normal reaction, but a small nibble.  Then she lifted her head back up and just contemplated life.  Uh oh.  Normally she'd be attacking that grass with gusto.  Hmm...  But then she put her head down and tackled the arduous task of eating.  Not with as much gusto as if it was long lush grass, but this was short grass with dead grass clippings all over it, so who could blame her.  But she ate without stopping, so that was MUCH more like the Arya I know and love.  :-)



The vet came out with the results, and she had zero parasites so complimented Shar on her worming regimen, and had very little sand--her main food source is hay in a feeder without sand, but she's a mustang--she grazes on ANY weeds in her pasture, no matter how prickly, so it's only natural she'd ingest a little sand, and the vet said it was a normal amount, so not likely to be sand colic (blockage of the intestine with a big old lump of sand).  She also was clearly feeling better from the banamine, which helps relieve the pain of mild colic, but won't touch serious "surgery cases" of colic, so these were all good signs pointing toward it being just a small blockage of a clump of hay, or just some mild cramping or something.

We left Arya outside grazing while we went inside to settle our respective bills (mine was just a LITTLE larger than Shar's, I'm sure) and get some oral banamine to take home in case she wasn't 100% better when the IV dose wore off in the morning.  The vet recommended that she spend the night on green grass (less likely to pack down in her gut than dry hay, plus inherent moisture as well), so Shar said she could get her set up in the back yard, which is a small fenced area with plenty of green grass.  I asked if we should wait for her to poop before hauling her home, and he said it might be a while based on what he felt (and removed), so to just go ahead and take her home.

So we did.  Shar and I scooped poop out of the backyard, both canine just for sanitary reasons and equine so we'd know what was Arya's in the morning, set her up with access to water, and turned her loose.  She was still feeling better, and was interested in eating, but instead of eating the nice long lush green grass that covers most of the yard:


She either wanted to be near Flash and Goodwin, or just prefers the dry scratchy stuff more:


I stuck around for a while to watch her eat, then headed back toward home.  I stopped at my usual Mexican place for dinner and downed a plate of nachos (I hadn't had lunch), then headed home.  I'd barely settled in to watching a TV show and typing this post, when my phone rang.  It was Shar.  Arya was rolling again and once again refusing to eat.  Poop.  [No pun intended]

She was walking Arya and it was going to take me the better part of an hour to get there, but if I was going to be there all night and going straight to work once I could, I figured I'd better have it take me the full hour to get there by packing a few things and making sure the cats were fed and such before I headed out.  I also had the foresight to grab a warm hat and a couple layers of jackets (sweatshirt plus shell).  It sprinkled as I drove, and I really hoped it didn't rain if I was out in the weather with Arya all night.

So, the common belief is that you shouldn't let a colicking horse lay down, 'cause then it will roll.  And you shouldn't let it roll because it can cause intestinal torsion (twisting).  So Shar had been walking Arya all around the property.  When I got there, they stopped, of course, to talk to me, and I figured I'd should get Shar's help while she was still up, so she held Arya while I filled a water bucket (Shar had already brought a wheelbarrow full of hay out to where it would be accessible).  Arya wasn't currently trying to roll, but sometimes walking can help move things along, so I took over and started walking her in circles and Shar went inside.  It was after 10, so it wasn't very many laps before I saw the living room lights go out.

Guys, walking in circles in the dark (well, the front porch lights and the barn lights were on, so it wasn't pitch black or anything) is BORING.  I did a few laps around the circle drive, then figured if I was going to be walking a bunch, I should track it on Endomondo so I turned that on.  Then figured maybe I should listen to a podcast.  That didn't work too well, though, because the WiFi was spotty (especially as I got farther away from the house), and the sound of Arya's feet crunching on the gravel kind of drowned it out anyway (I didn't have earbuds with me).  Every other lap or so, I'd stop by the food and water to see if she would eat or drink.  Sometimes she would put her nose to the hay as if to acknowledge that yeah, that's normally what she'd do, but she just wasn't feeling it.  She wasn't the slightest bit interested in water.  However, I noticed that when we were standing there, she didn't really try to roll, just stood there quietly, with her head hanging.  So on the next lap around, I grabbed a camping chair and set it up near the food and water and just sat with her.

Sure enough, she didn't try to roll. I sat in the chair and did some google research on colic, and she hung her head in my lap, acting every bit the same way a sick kiddo does.  I could just about hear her saying "mama, I don't feel good."  I rubbed her face periodically, and when I stopped, she kind of nudged me to ask me to keep going.  I could feel her breath on my skin.  She was breathing about as fast as me, and sighing pretty hard with each breath.  Poor girl.

As I googled, I learned that apparently current thinking is that laying down is fine, and even rolling a bit isn't likely to cause the horse to twist its gut--the thinking is now that horses that roll violently have ALREADY twisted their gut and are rolling in an attempt to relieve the pain, and not that the rolling causes the twisting.  However, you shouldn't allow a horse to roll violently, as they're likely to hurt themselves or others, since they're not paying attention to their surroundings when they do.  And the articles I was reading were also saying that while walking while waiting for a vet to arrive in the next hour or so is good (it distracts horse and handler, and may get things moving in the gut), it doesn't make sense to walk a horse for hours and hours and hours, as it will just get more and more tired.

And Arya definitely acted tired.  Her head was hanging, her eyes were drooping.  Horses normally take short naps standing up periodically throughout the day, and they also need to rest laying down at least a few times a week, though it's not necessary for them to do that every day.  Arya probably hadn't had a chance for even a standing nap all day or night, because Shar caught the initial colic symptoms in the early afternoon, then we took her to the clinic, then we turned her loose for a bit, but then Shar caught more colic symptoms just a few hours later, and we'd been walking her ever since.  So I decided to just hang out for a while to see how she did.

It didn't look like she was napping quite as deeply as a completely unperturbed horse might, but at least she was able to rest somewhat.  However, I started getting cold, just sitting still like that.  So I got up and walked a couple circles.  Arya tried to roll, but I made her get back up.  Then remembered the articles, and decided that next time, I'd watch to see if she was trying to roll a bunch, or just wanted to lay down for a bit, and let her lay down if she stayed relatively quiet doing so.  Sure enough, a little while later, she dropped down (right in Shar's flowerbed--sorry!!).  She stayed upright on her chest instead of flopping over on her side, so I just let her rest.  Like when she was "snuggling" me while I was sitting in the chair earlier, it was kind of cool how she wanted to be close to me, but sad that it's because she was hurting, I was touched that she allowed me to hang out so close to her while she was laying down and vulnerable, but sorry it was because she wasn't feeling good.  Her legs were pointed toward the driveway, and I didn't want to be near them if she did flop over and start rolling, so I stayed near her head but hopefully where she wouldn't fling her front legs into me if she decided to stand up, either.  I rubbed her head a bit, but mostly just stood out of the way.  She laid like that for a few minutes, then flopped over like she was going to roll, and of course was smashing the bushes as it was, so I got her up.

We alternated between resting and walking (for warmth) before I had the bright idea to continue resting while ALSO staying warm by using my car.  I turned the car on, turned the lights off, and ran the heat.  I opened the window so I could hold onto the rope through it, and Arya kind of stuck her head in the car, too (she probably liked the warmth as much as I did!).  That worked for a while, till she started pawing like she was going to drop down.  Even if it's okay for her to lay down and/or roll, I didn't want her hooves hitting my car, or her body trapping me in (yes, I COULD crawl out a different door, but didn't want to have to try), so I quickly got out of the car and got her moving again.

It was getting close to the time when the vet said I could give her the oral banamine, and I was counting the minutes.  She'd pooped once while Shar was walking her and twice more while I was with her, but still hadn't eaten or drank all night since Shar started walking her earlier.  Ugh.  I walked her in circles to kill time, and she pooped again, but only a couple pellets instead of the usual quantity.  Uh oh.  I was tired of waiting, so administered the banamine 10 minutes early or so.  I tied her head really close to the trailer so she wouldn't be able to fling it up or to the side very far, stuck the syringe in, and plunged.  She accepted the syringe, but when the medicine came out, wasn't too thrilled.  A tiny bit fell on the ground, so I moved the stopper a notch and gave her a tiny bit more, just to be sure she got the full dose.  I led her over to the water, hoping that whatever the medicine tasted like, it made her want to drink.  Nope.

I'd kind of started thinking to myself how I saw the rest of the night going, in order to figure out what I should do.  I mean clearly, if things went really downhill, I'd call the clinic and treat it as an emergency.  But we weren't to that stage.  If things went super well and she all of a sudden started to seem 100% better, though, I still wouldn't have felt comfortable putting her back in the back yard and just going to bed in Shar's guest room, let alone leaving to go home.  What if she went downhill again?  What if she rolled and hurt herself?  So yeah, I knew I was gonna be sticking around all night and had to keep her safe.  She seemed moderately comfortable now, especially with the new dose of pain meds on board.  So I tried tying her to the trailer (again, fairly short so she couldn't get her head down in order to lay down or roll) so she could nap standing up, and I could maybe eventually nap, too.

I tied her up, put a fleece blanket on her, and moved my car to where the driver's window had the perfect line of sight to her, but wasn't close enough to annoy her (or blow exhaust fumes on her).  I laid the seat back enough that with my head turned toward the window, I could still see over the sill to check on her.  I turned the car on and ran the heat for a while to warm it up (and charge my phone), and set the alarm for 10 minutes.  I kept opening my eyes to check on her, so I didn't fall asleep the first couple sessions, and she pawed at the trailer a couple times, so I hopped out of the car and ran to scold her from doing that and check her.  But she seemed to be doing fine, and cocked a leg and started to just stand there quietly, so I started actually dozing off.  And then I started setting the alarm for longer and longer intervals.  Oh, and I had the window rolled down a couple inches so I didn't have to just SEE her, but could even hear if she started getting antsy.

After I turned the car off, it started getting colder and colder.  I grabbed the quilt off the bed in the guest room (and used the bathroom!), and returned to the car.  Eventually, it was 3:00 a.m. and she had been standing quietly without incident for a long time, so I decided to go in the house and get some rest in a more comfortable position.  :-)

Except then Goodwin was hollering, and every time any horse made noise (the house is basically surrounded by horses), I'd get up and check on Arya.  I had to walk to the kitchen to be able to see her, but with the barn lights shining on her, I had a great view, and she was always standing quietly, exactly as she had been before.  She was NOT the one causing any ruckuses.  So eventually I fell asleep.  Then the alarm would go off and I'd check her, and go back to sleep.  Apparently Shar got up a couple times during the intervals I was sleeping, and moved Goodwin to the arena one of those times because he was so annoying.  At some point the sprinkler went off by timer, and they were hitting a metal shed and making a racket, but they didn't keep me awake for long.

So I got a few hours of unbroken sleep, but by 6:00, it was getting light and my mind was reeling anyway, so I got up and went out to tend to Arya.  I tried to take her temperature, but she was clamping her tail down and I didn't want to hurt her, so I quickly gave up on that.  She was, if anything, COOL to the touch, so I wasn't too worried about a fever.  I listened to her heart.  Normally, I can't even FIND her heart beat if she's standing quietly.  It's really hard to hear and I have to dig around in her armpit with my stethoscope.  Now it was clear as a bell, and almost as fast as my second hand was ticking.  I counted 14 beats in 15 seconds, 56 bpm.  Not good.  I've pulsed horses coming in after 25-50 miles with lower pulse rates than that, and she'd been standing still for HOURS.  I listened to her gut sounds.  I'd actually never done that before (BAD horse owner and potential endurance rider!), so I didn't know exactly where to put the stethoscope for the exact "quadrants," but didn't hear any sounds at all on the first side I listened to, and only faint noises on the second side, which sounded more like gas moving around than liquid gurgles, but what do I know?

It was starting to get light out, and the sunrise was really pretty, though I didn't appreciate it much right then.  :-)


When I had her fleece blanket off to use the stethoscope all over

I put a heavier winter blanket on over the thin fleece she was wearing, so I could hopefully tell the difference between shivering and trembling.  She was shaking a bit, but I wasn't sure. if it was just the cold.  Note the distinct lack of any poo piles or pee stains on the ground in that photo.  She hadn't pooped since midnight, and hadn't peed since I took over at 10:00 p.m.

Her attitude was perkier in the morning than it had been throughout the night--her eyes were a bit brighter.  I took her over to the food and water, and she buried her nose in the hay.  I assumed she was just smelling it like she had before, but she actually started nosing around in it like she wanted to eat it.  She stuck her nose all the way to the bottom and found the little bits of alfalfa under the grass hay and started eating it.  Oh, you want alfalfa?  I'll give you some!  I went and grabbed a handful from the barn and gave it to her.  It was pretty dry and stemmy, though, so I didn't want her eating a ton of it without drinking some water to wash it down and moisten it in her gut.  But she refused to drink.  I took her over to the grass to see if she'd eat that.

She stuck her nose down and sniffed, but decided she'd rather have hay.  Sheesh.  I didn't want her eating much solid food until she proved she would drink.  What could I do to get her to drink?  I took some feed pellets, put them in a thin layer at the bottom of a feed pan and added a couple inches of water.  These pellets break down REALLY fast, so a couple of sloshes, and I was looking at a very wet slurry that would hopefully be appetizing to her.  Oh, yeah, she was interested alright.  But I quickly realized she wasn't actually DRINKING the water.  She was trying to EAT the pellets, even though they'd long since broken down into tiny particles in the water.  She would slosh the water around and even tipped it off the edge of the fender a bit in order to make a "dry" spot on the bottom, then nibble there, trying to get solid food, but not wanting to take in any of the liquid.  Ugh.

By then, Shar was up and I told her what was going on.  She agreed with me that she had enough bad symptoms and not enough good symptoms (wanting to eat, without wanting to drink, still wasn't all that GOOD) that we should probably take her back to the vet.  Yeah, I suppose someone braver than me might wait it out a bit longer, but I didn't want to take any chances.  I called my boss to let him know I'd be late, then called the clinic.  It took a couple of tries to get through (the answering service seemed to hang up on me, then I didn't get through to ANYone), but it was still well before their opening time when a real live person answered at the clinic.

I explained the symptoms, and they said the doctor wasn't in quite yet, but that we could go ahead and plan to bring her in, but they'd have him call when he got in.  Sure enough, he called me back soon after, and I told him the symptoms.  He agreed that we should bring her in, and without me even asking, started giving the potential prognoses, treatments, and prices.  He said we could simply give her fluids by tube again.  If she seemed bad enough, he'd want to do IV fluids, which would mean staying there all day, and potentially a cost of around $1,000.  (!!!)  If it was bad enough, we'd have to start discussing surgery, and he'd have to refer us to a different clinic, and it could cost as much as $10,000.  I don't have that kind of money laying around, and would have to think LONG and hard about spending that kind of money on a horse that could theoretically be replaced for much less, so I really really hoped it didn't come to that.

So, we (me still in the same clothes I'd now been wearing for 24 hours straight, unshowered, and barely slept) loaded Arya into the trailer, and I followed Shar in my car to the clinic.  We unloaded her, offered her a little grass while we waited for the to open the horse exam/treatment area, then put her back in the same spot she'd been before.

The doctor gave her a once-over, checking her pulse and gut sounds.  He came up with a slightly lower pulse rate than I did, but still high.  She wasn't trembling as bad, so maybe that had been more about being cold than being in pain.  He listened to her gut sounds and rated them better than I had--apparently even good gut sounds are quieter than I was expecting, so hers weren't AS bad as I'd thought (he had me listen, too, right after he did, on both sides--he was really great at helping me know what I should and shouldn't be perceiving for normal vs. sick horse).  Before I even asked that we do it this way, he suggested giving just tubing her again a try first before moving onto IV hydration.  Whew!  So he and the tech prepared the water + electrolytes, it took a moment to successfully place the tube, then the pumped a couple gallons down her gullet.  They didn't even use a twitch on her nose this time, and she wasn't THRILLED, but she cooperated much better than I would have in the same situation!  This time, not a single drop refluxed back out, so maybe she doesn't actually have any issue with reflux at all.

The doc said he'd hold off on giving her any more drugs just yet, and see how she did.  So we turned her out onto the grassy paddock and they said they'd keep an eye on her and let me know how it went.

I drove Shar back to her house so she'd have a car to drive (and not have to drive the truck and trailer all the way to work), then headed in to work about an hour and a half late.  Oh, and we stopped to get coffee, as both of us had had very little sleep.

At lunchtime, I grabbed coffee (again!) and some food, then went to the clinic to check on Arya.  She had clearly been pacing, on the side of her paddock toward the trailer (as in, "take me HOME!").  She hadn't drank much, if anything, but she'd had a VERY BIG drink only a few hours earlier, so that didn't worry me.  I couldn't tell if she'd eaten, because it was grass, but the staff said she was doing great.  The vet came out and said he hadn't had to give her any drugs, so she was au naturale in that department by this point, and still feeling pretty chipper.  I apologized for her tearing up their grassy paddock, and he was like "yeah, about that..." and asked if we could move her to a sandy paddock.  Um, yeah, it's your place!  So we set her up with a water bucket a couple paddocks over, and he filled it ALL the way to the top so we'd know if she drank any the rest of the day, and I said I'd be back to check on her at the end of the workday.

The grassy paddock she tore up--it WAS all grass.  Oops!

I took this picture to show Shar--her flanks had been all tense and kind of quivering with her breathing before.  They were smooth and normal now.

Here she is, settled in to the new, sandy paddock.  They gave her some nice hay to munch, and she dove in with gusto.
I left work a little early to be able to get to the clinic before they closed.  The doc was away, but the tech was there to tell me she'd been doing great.  I could also see for myself that she'd drank some water, peed at least once (possibly more but trampled the spot), and pooped a couple times in her new pen, where she'd been for around 4 hours.  Yay!  She'd also worn quite a ditch into the side of THAT pen nearest the trailer.  She really REALLY wanted to go home.

Poo pile, plus hole to China

When I walked away from the pen after initially saying hi to Arya, so I could go inside and pay the bill, she nickered loudly (not quite an all-out neigh, but very insistently, not the usual low nickering of "mmm...food!"  At first I thought she'd missed me that much, but then I realized she was out of hay.  Ha!  I went and grabbed a handful out of the trailer and gave it to her and she attacked it.

I called Shar to tell her we'd be springing Arya, paid my bill (less than the prior day, because she'd needed fewer tests and even fewer treatments) and drove to Shar's house to pick her up.  We loaded Arya up, no problem, and hauled her back home.

I wanted her to be alone for the night, with a bucket of water without an automatic refill so I could make sure she was drinking, so we used one of the paddocks behind the house.  It has quite a bit of green grass in it, but I gave her hay, too, since I was pretty sure she was drinking well.  In fact, before I took her halter off, I led her to the water, and she took a pretty good swig of water right off the bat.  I turned her loose and she went and rolled, but in the usual "ah, this feels good to itch my back" way, and not in a colicky way, and she hopped up after and started grazing.  I gave her some yummy grass hay and went to go watch Shar work with Goodwin for a bit.

Arya making sure the hay didn't escape
I didn't want to leave and head toward home (40-ish minutes away) if she was going to take another downhill turn, so I decided to eat dinner in the area then come back to check on her again before heading home for real.  I decided to put her winter blanket on for the night.  It may not get cold enoug to warrant it under normal circumstances, and definitely not once she's grown her winter coat, but she's still slick for summer AND she's recovering, so I figured it probably wouldn't hurt.

At dinner, I scarfed down an entire veggie burger AND all the fries.  Clearly I'd been stressed before, and having her feeling so much better was a huge relief.  When I got back, the first thing I checked was the water level.  She had drank a TON, in just an hour or so.  A lot more than she drank in four hours at the clinic!  Maybe she likes Shar's well water better than the city water at the clinic.  :-)  I was thrilled to see that!  She'd also eaten most of her hay.  I felt under the blanket to make sure she wasn't too hot (and sweating!), but she was just perfectly cozy.

So, making sure my ringer was on, just in case, I headed home.  My kitties were VERY glad to see me, and it was nice to fall into my own bed.  I'm sure my co-workers appreciated the new change of clothes and showering in between work days as well.  :-)

In the morning, I got up early enough to go check on Arya before work.  She still was perfectly cozy inside her blanket, which I removed.  She'd eaten all her hay, so I gave her more.  She did drink some water, but not as much as she had in the first hour or so of being home, but it was COLD overnight, so I couldn't blame her.  And she DID drink.  But I want to keep an eye on that, so asked Shar to keep her in the same pen the rest of the day so I could check the water level after work to be sure she was drinking well.

I haven't done that check yet, but assuming she's eating and drinking when I do get there tonight, she'll go back to her normal pasture with her normal buddy and the 24/7 supply of hay and water.  I'll probably wait a few days before trying to ride, but hopefully she's back to her normal self again in every way.

So, while some folks might have been willing to wait and see rather than visiting the vet one or both times, I'm happy with my decision (though my bank account might wish I'd decided differently).  I'm inexperienced at this, and would rather over-consult with a vet than under-consult.  I really do feel that the tubing helped, though, and am not sure if/when she would have drank on her own.

I DEFINITELY appreciate having a friend who keeps an eye on my horse and acts quickly when she doesn't seem quite right.  And is willing to haul her into town TWICE.  And hand-walk her while waiting for me to arrive.  And and and....  Shar has been a HUGE help through all of this, and she blows off my thanks as if she did nothing, but even if ALL she did was be the moral support that she has been, it would be more than enough, but she's been so much more.  Really really appreciate it.  And the staff and Redmond Vet Clinic were awesome, too.  This was a minor case and really can't have gone any better, but it was still scary, but working with Shar and the team at the clinic really helped me feel like everything would be okay.  And I'm pretty sure it is.  :-)  (Though I'll feel even safer after checking on her tonight.)

1 comment:

  1. Glad to hear she's feeling better!

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