Blood work Update: Getting worried about my horse - not eating
I know this is going to be vague, but if anyone has any ideas, please let me know. My horse, Fox, is a 17 year old TB. It is just so worrying because it is very out of character for my horse.
So I was out at the stable today, like most days and my horse was wonderful during my ride.
So I fed him his dinner grain, like normal. I was waiting for him to finishing eating. I thought he was eating slower, but it was cold and I was it always seems longer then. However he stopped eating the grain. *REDFLAGS* went off everywhere in my head. Fox never leaves any food behind, he is a vacuum cleaner. So I start to freak. I call my trainer down, who lives above the stable. He is very lethargic, however he had pooped not 1/2 an hour before during my ride.
So my trainer thought it might be the new bag of grain because he was not showing any other symptoms of colic. He is not pawing or looking at his sides. So we try a different grain. Still not even that interested in the grain. Normally if I have a bucket of grain in his stall, he is mugging me trying to get at it. Fox is doing none of these things. Acts not interested in it at all. We took his temp, it was normal. We still gave him some banimine just in case. He did poop again in the middle of us doing all of these things.
He was acting a little more energetic when I left. We put him in a different stall for overnight instead of turning him out. My trainer has a camera on it so she can see Fox from her bedroom. She is going to keep an eye on him for me tonight.
She called about 4 hours later with an update. He is not eating and is drinking a lot of water, just not acting right. She suggested having the vet some out and do some blood test on Monday to make sure nothing internally is going on.
Last edited by sheltona01; Dec. 7, 2010 at 11:00 AM.
It sounds like you have done all you can do for tonight. Will he eat hay? If yes but refusing grain I would be concerned about ulcers. If no, I'd be more concerned about colic.
Personally I would call my vet in the am and tell her what happened as a heads up. Might have been better to do that before the banamine but your trainer probably knows how your vet wants things handled.
I know some people aren't alarmed by a horse not eating but I am... They are creatures of habit who love food, so any change is worth noting. Hope things turn out fine.
"Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
--- The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.
Thank you both for the quick replies. My trainer has been in the area since the early 80's, she is very experienced. Also the main vet was headed to the hospital on Friday with a possible broken leg during a farm call.
If he is not better in the morning, then I will call them. I am just a paranoid owner and he was acting completely normal until after my ride today.
Sundance_Solo: I looked up the signs of kidney issues in horses on the web after you said something. He is showing no other signs of the disease. He is actually just gained weight and looks fabulous. This Aug. I moved him half way across the country and he lost the weight in the move.
I just lost a horse this year to kidney disease, so please get some blood work done. The only symptom he had was that he began to not eat any feed, he would graze (and he was on a no-hay diet due to colic surgery 14 months before that). At least that way you can rule that out, and if you catch it quickly, there might be a chance to save his life.
I have a thread about the experience out here somewhere.
There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams
Well hopefully it isn't his kidneys then. He could be a little colicky or something and he just doesn't exhibit "normal" symptoms.
Something else I thought of, could he have possibly eaten something toxic?
Could be a lot of things - certainly ulcers come to mind, possiby Lyme a.e. he's just not feeling well.
Do you add water to his feed and if so, is it colder water now that the temps have turned? I only ask because my horse stopped eating when the water that was added to his feed was too cold. Added warmer water and he was fine. We had moved to a new barn that has an underground water source that is ice cold. Took us a bit to figure it out. Slim chance that's it but thought I'd mention.
Keep us posted - sounds like you have a wonderful barn manager - and hope he's okay!
A few things. If he is not eating then I would not offer him any food for at least 12 hours. This is because he could be beginning of impaction and banamine may make him THINK he wants to eat, which could be a very bad thing. I don't have a problem with gving banamine under these circumstances, BUT I usually FIRST take the horses temp, as a fever will also cause them to stop eating. Once you administer banamine however, you cannot rely on the temperature, since banamine reduces fever. The first thing I want to know is, does horse have a temp or not. So I would ask your BO to take his temp sunday BEFORE giving any drugs (altho is he had a fever the banamine last night could have reduced it, so still not a true indicator.
My mare stopped eating last year. We thought lyme, ulcers, etc, etc. In fact, my local vet said, well, she is getting old(15 years) as the reasoning for her not eating like she use to!!!!!!!.
This fall she choked twice, and second one was quite bad. Took her to the clinic to be scoped, and they also checked her teeth...which looked horrendous! She is in the process of having multiple teeth removed.
Now, yes, I do have her teeth checked yearly. I also had an equine vet who specializes in dental check them this summer, and he felt they were fine.
well, her teeth had more points, waves, as well as rotted teeth, even I could see it when her mouth was opened.
So...have his teeth checked, with a speculum, under sedation and with a light by a qualified dental vet. Its an area we, or at least I, have assumed that if a vet checks them and tells me they are ok, I believe them.
never again...I want a light, speculum and sedation to do a thorough inspection.
As soon as I woke up this morning, I headed to the stable.
He did poop and pee like normal last night. A little more urine than normal, but he was drinking a lot of water. He did not eat all of the hay in his stall from overnight.
Otherwise he was looking like his normal self. He ate his breakfast normally according the the staff. When I arrived he was eating his hay and looking like his normal self. Took his temperature. Last night it was 100.3 and this morning it was 98.3. It is cold here and I had him naked for about an hour before taking it.
Time for the bad news. I thought there was a cut on his leg. Assumed he got it getting up from laying down last night. He had shaving on his blanket and in his tail. Was cleaning it out and found a tick in it. Upon closer look, it was a bite with a red inflammable area around it. Took pictures of it and saved the tick. The vet is coming out tomorrow to run blood work.
We are not giving him any more drugs and he will be on lite work until at least Wednesday.
I would have called the vet because his symptoms were so vague. He could have gone downhill very quickly. Not saying you did the wrong thing by not getting the vet out asap, you know your horse better than anyone so you're the best judge.
You guys have good vets.
When my mare choked, and was still very depressed, not eating and a 103 temp after a full dose of banamine, vet would not come out...refused, when I directly asked her to come out.
I don't know how long you have to wait for tick results. Might want to give cornell a call, if that is where you send it, to find out if after being bitten, there is a waiting period for the disease to develop and for them to get accurate results.
I think the tick itself can be tested however.
I highly suggest for your own peace of mind that you get the book Hands on Horsecare published by Practical Horseman. It's a HUGE book of flow charts, costs $30 and even someone with zero experience with horses can use it with confidence.
I've been in horses 30 years, helped many horses through colic and ZERO bit at their sides, or kicked their bellies.
NQR off feed, you and your vet will need:
gut sound frequency in all four quadrants
last BM, and quality
food refusal? hay, grain, grass?
All these vitals should be step one before further assessing or administering meds. Having this information will let you know if it's time to call the vet and freakout or not.
fivehorses: I understand what you mean. I grew up in Iowa in a small town. Our vet then was a farm vet that also did horses. So I guess I am not use to calling the vet until it is looking very serious.
At the time I was thinking colic and he was not showing the typical signs. I was there with him for the first 2 to 3 hours and he was not getting worse. He was actually looking a little better. That is why I was not too worried with my trainer looking in on him. If it would have continued to the next day, I would have called them out.
I did save the tick, so hopefully they can test it. I still think I am going to have his blood work done, just for my own peace of mind.
Petstorejunkie: I am always looking for a book with something like it. Thank you! I will add it to my xmas list.