Oh the last few days have been hectic. As much as I try to post daily, I’ve come to the conclusion that some days when things go all wrong, It’s just not going to happen. I wish I had the man power to post daily or multiple times a day like some of the big bloggers do, but with just me, a 2 month old, a farm full of animals & a husband that doesn’t get home from work until dark, I just don’t. This weekend has been incredibly long.
On thursday afternoon, right about the time Ryan was supposed to be getting home I looked out my kitchen window while doing dishes and saw all the horses walking up the fence from the far back corner of the pasture. The back part of the pasture is down a hill & hidden by trees, so during the day I often don’t see the horses until they come back up to the house to eat. My baby, Yankee, was walking very slowly behind everyone else. When he stopped to sniff the ground and dropped down to roll in the snow, I had a gut feeling that something was very wrong. I kept trying to tell myself that he was just enjoying the new snow we had gotten the night before(the first all winter). When Ryan got home a few minutes later I handed off the baby and grabbed a lead rope & halter to go catch him. When I walked up to him he had just tried to get up from a roll but didn’t even have the strength for that. He was sitting on his butt like a dog does and just shaking. Once I finally got him up he just stood there shaking & trying to sniff, bite & kick at his stomach. For those of you who aren’t horse people, these are all signs of Colic.
Wikipedia defines colic as follows:
Colic in horses is defined as abdominal pain, but it is a clinical sign rather than a diagnosis. The term colic can encompass all forms of gastrointestinal conditions which cause pain as well as other causes of abdominal pain not involving the gastrointestinal tract. The most common forms of colic are gastrointestinal in nature and are most often related to colonic disturbance. There are a variety of different causes of colic, some of which can prove fatal without surgical intervention. Colic surgery is usually an expensive procedure as it is major abdominal surgery, often with intensive aftercare. Among domesticated horses, colic is the leading cause of premature death. The incidence of colic in the general horse population has been estimated between 10 and 11 percent on an annual basis. It is important that any person who owns or works with horses be able to recognize the signs of colic and determine whether or not a veterinarian should be called.
In other words, colic is a stomach ache for the horse. If it gets bad enough, the horses intestines can twist causing a blockage that cannot be fixed without surgery. Colic is a very very serious & often expensive problem. It is also far to often fatal. We had been lucky enough to not have any horses colic on us but our luck ran out on thursday.
Once I got Yankee up & out of the pasture, we just started walking around in circles while Ryan called the vet. Walking helps prevent the horse from rolling which can cause the intestines to twist. The vet told us to go ahead and give a dose of banamine which is a pain reliever for livestock. It can give relief from the colic and sometimes even stop it completely. Within 30 minutes, Yankee was back from being totally zoned out & in huge amounts of pain to being his goofy, trying to eat your sweatshirt self. After calling the vet back we were told to not feed him that night and to give him a small amount of feed in the morning.
Friday morning rolls around and Yankee got a very small amount of hay that he seemed to do alright with. I went ahead and gave him a little more about 1pm. Shortly after, when I checked on him I was dismayed to find him colicing. Again. Another call to the vet, another shot of banamine. Again about half an hour later he’s back to his old self. He wasn’t in any pain at that point so the vet decided to wait until saturday morning to examine him.
Saturday morning, Ryan hauled Yankee to town to go see the vet. He did not see our regular vet, but rather one of the vets Ryan had been working with at work. Mostly because we still aren’t sure our regular vet would even drive out as far as our farm. We live 45 minutes away from the clinic. This other vet is only about 25 minutes away. The problem out here is that while the vets treat everything(our regular vets treat birds to cattle), they don’t really specialize in anything other than cattle. In order to find an “equine vet”, we would have to haul to a clinic in Wichita which is more than an hour & a half away.
The vet examined him & did a fecal exam. Yankee had plenty of gut sounds which is a great thing. In a horse, a silent gut = very bad. His fecal exam showed that he had a bunch of sand in his system which could have caused him to colic. The vet also thought it might be from his diet but couldn’t be sure. Ryan came home with a bunch of questions but not a whole lot of answer or direction.
The problem with Yankee is he is thin, he is always thin. He does much better during the summer but not nearly as well as some horses do. We have tried every different feed, supplement, medication, dewormers, etc. Everything we could think of for the last 3 years. We still don’t have any answers to why he is the way he is. It is very discouraging to not want to take your horse anywhere because people think you are starving your horse when he eats more than 3 other horses combined!
After this weekend we have some new direction with things to try. We will not give up until we find what works. Yankee is my big 1100lb baby. He’s a pain in the butt to ride but he is an incredibly honest horse. He is a great trail horse and will go over, under, through ANYTHING. He has never refused to do something I asked him to do on trail. I will not quit on my boy!
SO this whole fiasco is why I didn’t get any posts up on Friday or Saturday. I have this whole week all planned out & it should be good so I hope you check back daily! Thanks guys!