Saturday, January 24, 2009

And The Window of Opportunity Slammed Shut

With A Bout Of Colic!!

Stayed fairly moderate temperature-wise last night so I got up with hopes of catching a ride or two. I fed the Boys a nice warm, wet feed and then went out into the arena to poo pick as best I could. I worked for about an hour, then started to head back in only to see Toby lying down in Tucker's stall.

I watched him for a few minutes and noticed he was looking at his belly. Uh oh!! I got him up and put his halter on with the lunge line and he started pawing the ground. With him, that's a clear sign of an upset stomach. I took him out to the arena and walked him for a while, but he kept on showing signs of wanting to go down again, so it was back to the barn and a phone call to the vet. Dr. Perez called me back quickly and said she was on her way, about 30-40 minutes out.

I started walking Toby again, adding a bit of trot on the longe since getting his insides jiggling is often a way to break up any gas to help get his gut moving. He did drop a nice pile of manure, a good sign, but it didn't ease his discomfort.

Dr. Perez was soon here. She gave Toby a dose of banamine, and some tranquilizer which seemed to make him feel a little better. She checked his vital signs and listened to his gut. There were hardly any gut sounds at all--a bad sign. She did a rectal exam and said his secum was filled with gas. So the next step was to tube him with oil to break up any possible blockages.

But then, once she had the nasal tube in his stomach, liquid started coming out of it, another bad sign. Since horses cannot vomit, such reflux is an indication that something was keeping his stomach from emptying properly--another sign of a possible blockage. She essentially flushed his stomach, by adding some water and then using it to siphon out the contents of his tummy.

Then, it was a matter of waiting until the sedative wore off to see if he was feeling any relief. Soon, he lay down again, not the best sign, but as he lay there he started to pass some gas. We watched him for quite a while, did a bit of longeing again to see if that might help and finally, after about another hour, he seemed to be much brighter.

I have monitored him all day. I gave him a very small portion of alfalfa cubes well soaked in warm water and will do so again in another hour or so. I spent the afternoon stripping his stall of all the hay and old bedding so he has a nice fresh bed of shavings.

The "window of opportunity" in the title is the weather. It really became quite lovely this afternoon and after I hitched up the drag and groomed the arena, I may well have been able to ride at least a little. But then, I still had not stripped the stall, so tractor and I took another good span of time to do that, leaving the better part of the day eaten up. I still had plenty of daylight left but as the afternoon wore on it got colder and colder until even my newly groomed arena was frozen back up into icy ridges.

Just to show you how cool my vets are, when I came inside after a quick shopping trip to get some milk, there was a message on my answering machine from Dr. Perez, checking up on Toby. I did not call her back, as she said she was actually hoping NOT to hear from me but she also assured me that if I needed her she would be on her way.

The other Boys were quite interested in all the activity today, taking every opportunity to "help" in whatever way might call the most attention to them. That included such assistance as: walking into Toby's longeing circle, standing in the stall with the lying down Toby, nuzzling the vet as she listened to Toby's tummy in the barn aisle, observing at close quarters the tubing, and grabbing Tobys halter when he hung his head out the stall door when he was starting to feel a little better.

I just came back in after checking on the patient and so far, so good. I will feel better when I see some fresh manure in the stall, but he hasn't had anything to eat all day--prior to the two little feeds of wet cubes and he did pass manure twice this morning during the episode. Still I will be on "Poo patrol" for the remainder of the night.

Just another one of those little "joys" of owning a horse. *sigh*


  1. Colic is such a worry but it sounds like he is feeling better and hopefully that will continue. Any idea what caused it?


  2. {{{{{healing vibes}}}} to Tobby, Colics are so worrying. I am glad you have lots of experience. You described what I have seen done by our vet here.

    Fingers crossed for Tobby!

  3. Whew, what a worry. I hope things are OK now...


  4. oh dear, hope he's ok, never like hearing about colic cases....