We lost our old grey mare yesterday. I walked out in the morning to feed and she was down. I called the vet to ask for advice and they said they would have someone out as soon as possible but try to get her up. She was listless and her eyes were watering. She has clear discharge out her nose and was drooling. It took a while to get her up but she finally made it. I had to move her front feet out in front of her so she could get up. Once up she just stood with her head down. She was shaking and could not walk. When she would shift her weight her knees would buckle and she would almost go back down. The vet arrived but we had already made the decision it was time to say goodbye. She looked like she was mentally gone and was in so much pain. We got her 6 years ago because her owner could not afford to feed her. She was sound and still loved to go. She had always been an easy keeper through the winter. Lately though she had been dropping weight like crazy. I had her teeth done and put her on beet pulp with her senior feed. I just have no idea what could have gone so horribly wrong. Was there something i missed? Something else i could have done? She was the horse my hubby learned to ride on last year and was always a spitfire. She was loved dearly and i wish i could have done more for her.
She was listless and her eyes were watering. She has clear discharge out her nose and was drooling. It took a while to get her up but she finally made it. I had to move her front feet out in front of her so she could get up. Once up she just stood with her head down. She was shaking and could not walk. When she would shift her weight her knees would buckle and she would almost go back down.
I am so very sorry for your loss.
The symptoms sound a lot like botulism - shaking/buckling in the knees, nose discharge, drooling - and that it came on quickly (and doesn't seem to be typical colic symptoms). I've seen botulism in a horse once - horrible. He also didn't make it. It comes on quickly - and there's little you can do to reverse the symptoms. The vet said it was the first time she had seen botulism in her entire 30+ years as a vet in the area. It is not common, but does happen. http://www.equisearch.com/horses_care/beware-botulism/
If there's any chance that's what it was, double-check all your hay, water, etc. We don't know why this one horse got it (large boarding facility) - as no one else was affected. Most likely, it was a rodent in the hay (from when the hay was cut - not necessarily still there when he ate it). The barn had the entire water system tested and it wasn't in there (thank goodness!).
Your mare is lucky to have had such loving people take over her care in her later years.
Oh I am so sorry for you loss.... sounds like you did everything you go do for her but now she's no longer in pain and running in greener pastures... I know how much it hurts to loose a beloved pet. It hurts but it does get better, just remember to hold on to the good memories never let those go!!!
Thank you for all the kind words! She was only 21 and was a tb cross i think. She had a hard life. When young they tried to make her into a barrel horse, she kicked a man square in the chest and almost killed him. She was then sent to mackinac island to be a trail horse. The lady we got her from purchased her from the trail riding company. Before we got her she got her from legs stuck in a round bale feeder and cut her pasterns down to the bone and almost was put down. When we got her she was unrideable for the first year and had to have shots everyday. She was a tough girl!
Considering she was dropping weight like crazy and the state you found her in, coupled with the fact she was an older gray, I would guess a melanoma developed somewhere that was affecting her ability to eat, and then eventually probably impinging somewhere on her spine making it difficult for her to breathe/stand. There would have been no outward clues and no real course of treatment, so don't beat yourself up for "missing something." They are usually found around the tail, under the chin and in other benign places but can develop internally in areas that cause problems. http://www.vetmed.vt.edu/research/ceco/melanoma.asp
Sorry for your loss! I hope you and your husband can cherish your fond memories of her.