Friends horse was 16 years old. Last week the horse was acting NQR and seemed to have trouble breathing. Vet came and thought it was an allergic reaction, gave banamine, dex, prednisone and "something else" (she can't remember), plus he gave prednisone pills for the week. Horse was fine for a few days and then started acting NQR again yesterday, but all the while in good weight, eating, drinking and pooping. She called the vet and he told her to bring him in - as she and her husband went out to load him he looked fine. Even darted off when he saw them back the trailer up to the gate, but walked on perfectly fine. As her husband was tying him he went down. He was dead right there in the trailer. A lot of blood from the nose.
The vet came right over and opened his neck and said his lymph nodes were 10 times their normal size and his trachea was the color of buttermilk and bumpy (as opposed to pinkish and glassy). He also noted the back of the tongue was discolored. The vet took the trachea and lymph nodes sample but my friend opted to keep him home and bury him because she was pretty traumatized enough and couldn't handle the thought of taking him in for a full necropsy.
There are so many unfortunate possibilities; we and our horses have such finely tuned and complex systems; it's hard to say; the vet is going to get a blood work up, is he?. Could he possibly have been stung by something in the pasture? praying for comfort for all who grieve his loss
It was terribly shocking - my friend is absolutely devastated. She's had him and his companion for 10 years - he was a gorgeous palomino dream horse. Worse, that very morning she had an old family cow die while calving. Her husband had to bury 3 animals in one day - she was already a mess over the way the cow died. She's having a tough day today....I feel terrible for her.
An aneurism is what the guess is right now, but would it bleed like that?
Buddy, what is GPM? ETA: I figured that out. Interesting as he had bastard strangles from a vax 4 years ago. Is there any correlation?
A ruptured aneurysm would produce tons of blood, but does not cause swollen lymph nodes AFAIK. I've had a young horse turn up dead (very shocking, not a mark on him)(found him first thing in the morning when I went out to feed) with blood coming out his nose and the only guess from the vet was aneurysm. And we have certainly heard of many competition horses that have succumbed to them.
Maybe a combination of several things since an aneurism would not usually have NQR symptoms as described for a week. Those usually picture of good health horses drop like rocks. He may have had some type of cancer that affected his lymphatic system, they get that like we can. He could also have had some internal bleeding for whatever reason. But it sounds like he just went from some type natural cause or causes.
I don't think she should blame herself in any way for missing anything or somehow contributing to his demise. She did the best she could.
Too bad. At least, he did not suffer long and she was spared having to make THE decision.
Oh, he could have been older then 6 when she bought him 10 years ago-maybe alot older. Wouldn't be unusual at all especially if there are no papers and the breeder is unknown.
When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.
Oh wow, what a tough series of events. So sorry for your friends.
Did vet consider guttural pouch mycosis as a possibility? guttural pouch mycosis in Merck manual. The fungus can weaken the artery and cause sudden hemorrhage. Some form of cancer might be another possibility.