Sunday, August 31, 2008

The day after...

I slept until I could not sleep any more. I figure that since I had not gotten a call from the vet, Hank must be doing well. But, I could not stand it anymore,and even though I knew they would call eventually, I put in a call to the vet to check on him. She called me back and said he was doing very well. He was very alert, and begging for food. She said I should be able to take him home tomorrow, as I can do much of the post Op care needed at home. So in the AM, I have to get hubby at airport, and will swing by and visit Hank. if he indeed, looks good, I'll come back later to pick him up. The vet is actually amazed at hw perky Hank is feeling. it was really weird to not see him today, but I know he is in great hands, and I'll see him in the AM.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Off to surgery

Dr. Williams said we may not find a thing, or we may find something they can not fix, but that he sees no other option than to open him up, and look around. Hubby is out of town, and I call him and tell him what is happening. I then go over to Hanks stall. He is laying down, and is asleep with his lips on the ground. His eyes are shut, and he is so sound asleep. I sit down on the ground next to him, and softly pet him on the neck. He starts to kind of nicker / whinny as he sleeps. Kind of like a dog whining when it sleeps. I have never seen a horse do this, and I wonder if he is dreaming. He is tired. They have not even given him any drugs yet for the surgery. He sleeps about 10 min., and then they come to tell me that things are ready for him. It took a second to wake him up. Had to say his name, and nudge his neck. Hope he was having a good dream.

We get him up, they give him a few shots, and head in to prep him. First they shave his tummy. He is a good boy, and stands as they are almost under him with the clippers. Then, they start scrubbing, scrubbing, scrubbing the area. When all that is done and ready, they move him into the room that they knock him out. This is where I give him a kiss on the nose, and go outside for awhile to call a friend. Talking to her really helped keeping me from having a total melt down.

When I go back in, I can look into the surgical room, and see him on the table as they start. I pace around awhile, and once and awhile come back and look in. They have him open and I can see part of his intestines out on the big silver tray where they sort through it, looking for problems. It seems like forever, but I know he is getting the best of care. He has TWO surgeons who have done many colic surgeries, and an intern vet who has been his main vet, and I know has some great experience already with colic surgeries.

I try to watch a little TV to take my mind off my horse in the room behind me with three vets looking around inside him. Finally the vet comes out to explain what they found. His cecum, small intestine, and colon all did sort of a twist around themselves. Because they were around each other, nothing had closed off tight, thus he was still getting things passing through. After he had a larger meal, it seemed things would get stopped up, and he would gas up, and be painful. After he was off feed, and on fluids, things would ease up, and then pass on through, and he would feel better. They told me that unless they had some sort of unseen complications, he should heal up just fine. They did not have to cut into any intestines etc., just rearrange things back to where they go.

After they staple his incision up, he headed to the "wake up" room. This was the toughest part for me, as some horses are a tad more violent than others when they come out of anesthesia. Leave it to Hank to be one of the more violent ones. I would hear him crashing and banging around in there, and had to go outside so I would not hear that, and worry. Finally they get him to his stall. He is still very groggy, and they have hosed him off, so he is wet. After he dried off, they are to bandage him up. I stay awhile, and pet and scratch on him, and talk to him. Finally, I decide that he is doing OK, and I really need to head home and get some rest. This is the longest day. I find the vets to thank them again, and get in the truck and head on home.

You can take home... or can I ??

I get a call that he is looking good, whinnying every time someone gets near the feed room door, and passing manure, and I can come get him. I decide to wait a bit before heading down. I have already paid for this days stall, so I might as well haul him when it cools down, and also give him time to start feeling bad again. The weather is hot and humid.

I arrive just after office hours, and the vet says "He JUST started looking a bit funky again". He would lay down, but not roil, and look at his tummy a little bit. I tell her I'll go eat dinner, and come back to see what he is doing. When I return, they have put him on IV fluids again, or as I call it, "liquid gold" as that is what shoots the vet bills up so much. He has had some drugs, so it quiet, but perky enough to whinny at me when he sees me get out of the truck. Thankfully the whole staff is on duty tonight, including the head vet, Dr. Wes Williams who has dealt with many, many colics and colic surgeries. They are doing a tendon surgery on a horse, and when done, I am able to talk with Dr. Williams awhile. This is frustrating, as the horse is not in a full blown nasty colic. He is just a little "off". He is passing some manure, wants to eat, and his metabolics are not really bad in any area. In fact, he has not had any one thing really off for any of the colics. But when you look at the whole picture, you can see the horse has something going wrong with him. I can tell Dr. Williams is concerned about Hank, and maybe puzzled. He finally says he things we need to take him to surgery, as something in there is not right, and is causing these issues, and it is no longer just a "run of bad luck". The horse has coliced about every 9 days for the past 5 weeks. So, after they prep the room from the previous horse, Hank will go in and have surgery.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Third times the charm?

This morning when I checked Hank, things looked good, but I noted on his chart he looked a tad "fatter". I had hoped it was just him slowly gaining back some weight after losing so much being sick, and off full feed. I had been feeding him his hay soaked in water, which he actually liked, and this AM he did not finish it all, but it was also a larger flake. I noted it in his chart. Mid morning, I put he and Gambler in the yard, and checked on him, doctored his eye on schedule, and kept looking out to see what he was doing. He was grazing like normal, and drinking water. We had a small thunderstorm blow through, and I went out after and saw the horses. All was fine. Then about 5PM, I looked out, and he was down, and looking sick. I went out, got him up, and sure enough, he was showing signs of colic. One thing in common all 3 times was we had a thunderstorm blow through before he coliced. But he has never shown to be upset or bothered by them. But I am wondering if they have somehow set him off into digestive upset. The weather now is hot, nasty, humid, and he has sweat some.

I get a halter on him, and start walking. He is wanting to go down, roll, and is pretty uncomfortable. His pulse is only about 46, and not really dehydrated. Gut sounds low, but they are there. I give him a dose of oral Banamine, to hopefully get him comfortable enough to haul to the vet. I also hosed him off, since he is pretty warm. I need to call my cats in to where they live at night on the back porch (so they are not coyote bait) and then head out. I have been keeping the horse trailer hitched to the truck 24/7. He is looking a tad more comfortable, but still showing signs of colic. I load him up, and head towards the vet. I am worried that because it is Friday of Labor Day weekend, we may hit some traffic, but we are blessed to have a smooth drive down. When I arrive, they have a line of horses waiting for the vet. A few other colic cases. He is acting less painful, and actually grabs a bite of grass while waiting. His wanting or not wanting food is a sure indicator as to how he feels. The first colic he passed up grain, so I knew he did not feel well. It is our turn, and I am about to head to the door into the clinic, when he drags me over to the door, even though it is closed, and marches right up to it. I open it, and he heads in. I joked he liked it there, because he gets drugs. He is very willing to go into the stocks, and stands there like a good boy. They are doing their 2nd colic surgery of the day. The head vet palpates him, says something about colon, gives him a couple shots, and heads back to check on the surgery. After a bit, the other vet palpates him, and finds a lot of gas, but everything seems to be where it is suppose to be, but his colon is distended. We take him out to lunge him, to see if we can get him passing some gas. 20 min. and not a single horsey fart. But, he is not feeling crappy, just looks a little "off". His pulse was never high, only about 60 at the max. He is not dehydrated, and not needing fluids yet. So, he goes into a stall to spend the night again, and for them to watch him. he is actually begging for food as I leave. They do not want to go cutting open a horse that is looking like they are doing OK. But it has been discussed.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Take your medication like a good boy

Still pondering what could have caused his two colics. The vet suggested I feed him some mineral oil each day, to keep things going. But, after some discussion, because mineral oil will coat everything, and prevent nutrients and even fluids to be absorbed properly in his system, we decided on corn oil daily. Also, because he is on the oral medication for the possibility of colon ulcers, the mineral oil would prevent that from being processed in his system. The corn oil does not coat things the same, but will also help him get some of his weight back. Also I am feeding some ground flax seed to help with digestion. If it looks like he has not drank enough, I will add a bit of electrolytes to his mash, but I don't want his system to get dependent on them. Horses should get enough e'lytes in their normal diet to balance their system. Especially a horse who is not working hard, or sweating much, if any. With him on "lock down" a lot of the time, I can see how much he is drinking. When he is out in the small field I am constantly looking out to see what he is doing, and have seen him at the water trough.

Oh, and on the drugs he is on. They are a light blue pill, that dissolves super quick in water. I drop them in a large dose syringe, and then add water and shake. But often things clog, and when I take my finger off the end of the syringe, the drugs sometimes shoot out. I have pretty blue splatter of medication on me, on the bathroom counter, and even some on the mirror in the bathroom where I mix it. Thankfully it cleans up really easy. He takes the syringe like a good boy, no halter, just shoot it in his mouth. So some trips to the barn include oral drugs AND eye medications. Poor horse.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Good boy, here is your mint

Hank is being a very good sport about his eye. Like before, he gets a peppermint after I put the medication in it. So, I go out to his stall, often at 3AM, and have the tube of medication in my hand. I have a peppermint unwrapped, and usually just hold it in my teeth. With left hand, I open eye lids, with right, squeeze medication in, and then hold eye lids closed a second, and then stuff peppermint under his lips, where ht gobbles it up. This stuff has to sting, as one has DMSO in it, to carry it into his eye. But he is so good. I am always amazed at what he will tolerate, and then he will spook at something like his lead rope. And since I am checking him so often, I chart how many piles he has done, clean his stall, and note any changes in him. So far, all seems to be working well in his digestion!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Is this Fun-Gus?

Needless to say, we gave the vets a startle when they saw Hank heading in the door. They had hoped to not see him again so soon! Vet stained his eye first with the green stain, and did not see an ulcer or injury, but the red stain stuck. Looks like he has a bit of the fungus back again. I was given two medications to put in it, every 3-4 hours around the clock. I guess if he is going to be on lock down while I watch him for tummy issues, I might as well be doctoring him. So, alarm will be set to wake me up in the middle of the night to go doctor the eye. Isn't this part of the reason to not have kids? lol So I don't have to get up at all hours to care for them?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"Eye" need to see the vet

So Hank often has a squeenky eye. Ever since he had that fungus thing a few years ago, where I spent a week treating it every 3-4 hours, and then another week at the vet on an automatic pump putting medication in it 24/7. High winds can set it off, and bright sun. I had the vet look at it a couple months ago, to make sure all was well, and he said it looked great. The past week or so, it has been closed a lot more. Even at the vet they noticed it on the last colic visit, and I commented he is just like that at times. I have been rinsing it with some clear eyes, and tonight I see a white spot in the middle of it. I really do not think the spot was there yesterday. I am thinking maybe something hit it while trailering, since we have some open slats on the trailer. I need to remember to put his fly mask on every time we trailer. So, back to the vet tomorrow........

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Home again

Hank home, and on grazing of 20 min. at a time again. Poor boy is gonna lose more weight, but don't want him to gorge himself. As it is, he can down alot of grass in 20 min! But he is in the stall tonight, where I can count poop piles, see that he goes pee, and look at water intake. He took a coupleBITES out of his salt block, and is drinking.Vet put him on sucralfate (Carafate) for possible colon ulcers. We have a 12 day supply. Then she is suggesting we try Succeed, some digestive stuff forhorses, to see if we can get him less gassy. But I need to read up on it, and ask questions.

Thankfully, no shots this time. I made an excel sheet where I log in what he eats when, how many poo piles I count at what time, and any other notations that seem relevant. I'm kind of jumpy about him now.

Monday, August 18, 2008

All better...again

Vet called early this AM and he gets to come home. After the put him in the stall, he lay down, and just slept for a long time. She put him on fluids again, and when he woke up, he was perky and was looking great. Passing manure etc. I asked her about a more "gas free" diet, although all he gets right now is pasture grass. So we will talk about this more when we get him. It seems to me, both of these episodes, although very different, the common denominator was gas. And this horse can have a lot of gas, and farts (sorry, no mood for medical terms ) that smell like a skunk. I am wondering if he is eating something in the field that somehow is setting off his digestion into fits.

Colic again?

Late this afternoon, we were heading out the driveway and Hank trotted in front of the truck across the pasture to the barn, stopped, walked a circle, laid down, and looked at his tummy. Took him over to the front yard to watch a bit, and check him out. Yep, colic again. Temp 100, pulse only 40, minimal gut sounds on left side, a bit of the tin can sound on right. He was looking at right side, and when he would lay down, would usually do so on right, and try to roll a tad. So, we loaded him up, headed down to vet. This time, after checking him, the vet says it seems she feels his colon is flipped over the ligament between the kidney and the spleen. (look up nephrosplenic entrapment) He got some drugs, and then lounged for 20 min. as that will often right the issue inside them when they do this. He was looking better when we left, but surgery is often likely to right them when they do this. He was looking very tired when we left, as he was standing in the stocks as the watched him for signs of pain / discomfort. They were waiting for an owner to pick up another horse so he could have that stall, which was in the front barn. But he was chipper enough, just tired. And not looking like he was in pain.

I'm sure tired of this. Over 40 years of having horses, and very few colics over the years. Really should not complain when I look at the big picture, but two colics requiring vet care in a little over two weeks is frustrating. Oh, and this time when they refluxed him, he had very little food come up in the tube, where last time he had more. But this colic is different. Last time, gas on his right side, and this time more on the left. My head is starting to swim with all the different types of colic, where gas is located, symptoms etc. Left vet around 2AM to go home and try to sleep, hoping the phone does not ring.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What's one more cat

Well, after taking the kitten, who is now named Cedar to the vet for vaccinations, and having her a few days, she won our hearts, and looks like we own another cat. No way we could look for a home for this little cutie. I mean, what's one more cat when you already have so many.

Meanwhile, Hank is doing well. Back in the pasture, and we give him beet pulp mashes each day to keep things moving. He is more than happy to come up when called for his bucket of goo!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hank doing well, so decided to take him for an easy ride today. Met up with Dolly, and hubby came along and rode Gambler. Upon arrival at the trail head, we heard a meow coming from a cedar tree. We looked around, and found a kitten up on a branch above our heads. Hubby climbed tree to retrieve, and the cat jumped out, and ran under another tree. Dolly coaxed it out, and it came to her, and started purring. Neither of us needs another cat, but I had the tackroom that it could be locked in while we rode, and kept safe. Had a nice easy ride for a couple hours. Mostly walking. Hank seemed normal enough. Returned from ride, checked cat, and it was fine. Very friendly. So, we ended up taking her home. I can look for a home for her. She looks easy to place. Super friendly, and kind of pretty.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Three piles

Have been keeping Hank in stall, giving drugs as prescribed, and watching him like a hawk. Only a horse person would be excited to see THREE piles of poop in his stall. Good boy! I have him out all day in the small 1/2 acre field grazing. It has been super hot here in Texas, and I worry about him not drinking enough again. Checking his hydration often, and giving him some super wet mashes. Everything looks normal, and I am guessing this was just a case of him getting dehydrated and his system out of whack. Frustrating to not be able to go to the Bryce ride, but the last thing he needs is to haul Hank over 1000 miles and then ask him to do 50's, when we are not sure what set him off on the colic. During one of his penicillin shots, I was pulling back every 3-4cc's to check for blood, and after about 15cc's, I pulled and the syringe turned pink. I pulled the whole thing out quickly. Scares me to death that I could hit a vein which could kill a horse if you shoot penicillin direct into a vein. Tomorrow is the last of the gentocin shots, and his catheter can be removed. One less thing to deal with.

Friday, August 1, 2008

No Ulcers

The vet called, and he is feeling much better. They will scope him this afternoon for stomach ulcers, and I can bring him home this afternoon if all goes fine today. They let him graze a tiny bit yesterday afternoon, and he had a bit of oral water. They said he is VERY opinionated right now about those coming and going in the barn, and wants food. His stall is across from the feed room, and he lets anyone walking near it that HE wants them to give him some food! Some horses pop ulcers quickly. Some will pop them from the stress of being on a 24 hour fast before they scope. So, it will be interesting to see what the scope shows, as he would be the type to pop ulcers from the stress of all of this.

I asked about an X-Ray to see if they see a stone, as that is a method often used at the facilities in CA where they see a high number of entrotiths. (in fact, the number 1 reason for colic at one CA facility) . This vet does not have the right plate and high speed film to do that type of Xray, as they see so few stones in TX, they are not set up the same to look for them. The Vet was sounding positive about how he was feeling, but I still want to know "why" this happened.

I waited for the temps to cool down, and went down to get Hank in the evening. He is home now, and he is VERY hungry! I'm to not turn him out yet, and just hand graze him for 15-20 min. at a time for a couple days. I'll go buy more beet pulp tomorrow, and give him some more super wet mashes. I have him locked in the stall, with Gambler in the corral near him to keep him company. He looks sucked up like he just did a hard 100 miler, but very perky. The scope found NO ulcers. He is on Gentocin and Penicillin for a few days. They did both the tummy tap, where they stick a needle up into the girth area, draw off fluid, to see if it shows any toxins etc. So the drugs are to prevent infection from that, and the needle to let off the gas. She left the catheter in for me to give the gentocin. (another reason he is on lock down!) But right now, they have no idea why he coliced. And he is acting like nothing happened, and just wants FOOD. He must have heard my plans to go to the 5 day Bryce Canyon endurance ride, and decided the only way to get out of that was get sick, and spend the money.