UPDATE #27: Jingles working! Colicky horse at vet clinic
I think I have just enough energy to write out a request for jingles for my new guy, Brolio...
I got the call last night (12/27) at 5:30 that he was down in his stall, trying to roll. I gave the OK for Banamine, hauled on my carhart coveralls, called the Vet to give a heads up and sped to the barn in a freezing rain. He seemed OK when I arrived, he had been walked for 20min and seemed content to stand tied in his stall, he was interested in food. I walked him for another 20min, produced a small dry pile of manure. Gave him a small bran mash, which he ate half of. BO/trainer and I decided to leave him in his stall for a little while, pulled his hay out and left the water, as he seemed to be on the mend.
Check at 7, he seemed fine, content in his stall. Check at 8:30, he was laying down and not happy, got him up and walked him around the indoor. He kept looking at his sides and trying to roll if we slowed down. Called the vet out (my vet is on vacation, so the other vet clinic covering). Vet arrived at 9pm, gave him some sedative, said his vitals were good (HR, temp and capillary refill normal). Rectal "showed" some distension, no impaction. NG tube was used to give some water, electrolytes and some stomach soothing/muscle relaxing drug (I don't really remember, it just wasn't oil). Asked if horse was a surgical candidate, I just about fell over. We weren't at that point yet, but she wanted me prepared... Bro seemed more comfortable after the tubing. Vet said to do 2hr checks and left some Xylazine to give IM if he became "dramatically painful."
I stayed the night at my trainer's (house is on same property) in a spare bedroom. We left him tied in his stall with access to his water, but unable to eat. Midnight he seemed perkier, brighter. I walked another 15min in the indoor, he held his head higher and wasn't trying to roll. 2am he was laying down "sternally", curled up, no distress. I still made him get up, which he did and promptly shook the straw off, walked the aisleway for another 15min. 4am check (vet had said if he was good at 2, he should be fine from then on, but I didn't feel like chancing it) he was standing content in his stall with a manure pile behind him. Trainer checked at 6am, said he seemed status quo.
8am/feed time, Bro is hungry! Gave another bran mash, which he happily ate most of. He still didn't seem 100% to me though. Vet called to check up, told her my night and how I thought he wasn't quite done yet. She said to turn him out in a small paddock with no hay until about noon, when we could slowly give hay and to make sure someone could keep an eye on him(no problem, farm help that day is a knowledgable horse person and a friend). I left at 9:30 for a short work function and would be back at noon(and was going to be away from my phone from 10:30-11:30). Got back to my car at 11:30, I have a text from trainer that he started going down again and the vet was on her way. Trainer's husband (experienced horseman) gave the xylazine IM while waiting for the vet.
Speed back to barn, quickly change back into barn clothes, meet vet and friend at Bro's stall where vet is starting another NG tube. Another rectal showed he had now progressed(regressed?) to an impaction where the tract takes a sudden decrease in diameter, so she gave him 1g mineral oil, more banamine and suggested taking him to the clinic at least for overnight as he would probably need more tubings. Trainer's hubby hooks up their small trailer as I walk Bro in the indoor some more. Seems much more comfortable to vet after the oil. Talk to vet about causes/prevention, she's comfortable saying that this should be a one time thing cause by a perfect storm that lead him to become dehydrated. Vet doesn't believe there to be any twisting since his vascular system is not showing signs of stress or a blockage. Vet heads out to another call, trainer and I load him up and trailer him to the clinic.
Arrive at clinic at 1pm, one manure pile is awaiting as we unload. Bro was happy to walk through the drifted snow to his stall for the night. He was NOT happy when they put a muzzle on him so he wouldn't eat his bedding! I left him in his heavyweight blanket (he hasn't really eaten all night and it's chilly out) as well as leaving a fleece sheet should he need something different. Finally dragged myself back home at 4pm, ate some "lunch" (at that point I had been going off one cup of coffee and one crumpet...) and got a phone call from the vet as I pulled in my driveway. Bro was having another pain episode, tubed him with epsom salts and water. Vet thinks the impaction moving is making him uncomfortable, she wanted to put him on IV fluids and needed my OK. I gave it and now waiting for the next update (fingers crossed nothing before 8pm).
I am completely and utterly exhausted. My physical reserves are just about nil. My mental state has been on a roller coaster ride since the first call. I think I grabbed a total of 4 hours of sleep last night and 3 miles walking in the dead, cold of night. If he gets worse and surgery is the only option, he will not be coming home. He's not insured and I'm unemployed, I just have no means for a colic surgery in the budget right now. Trying to stay positive, I know he's in good hands at the clinic, but it's hard not to be able to check up on him myself. I know Bro is stressed from the colic and subsequent "starvation diet" he's needed today, he wants to eat, but the vet says "no way, jose!" after tubing.
I'm off to make an offering to whatever deity can turn this around...
Last edited by Heliodoro; Dec. 30, 2012 at 10:55 AM.
Jingles from Idaho! I just went through this exact same thing with my 16 year old gelding a few weeks ago. My guy recovered, although it took several days and three vet visits (one a night time farm call and then two trips to my usual vet the next day when he was back from the equine vet conference in California).
I am sure your guy will recover as well!!!
Is there any chance this could be an ulcer that's perforating? I assume vet did a rectal, and that's how the impaction was found? Or did he find flaccid?
I did ask about the possibility of ulcers as he's only been off the track since Sept, the vet didn't seem to think this was ulcer related. She could feel where the impaction was ("roughly 20' from the end" where-ever THAT is...) from the second rectal this am/afternoon.
Sending good thoughts! I know how agonizing it can be. Hopefully the iv fluids help. Several years back my mare colicked and we had to tube her a bunch of times to get the darn impaction moving. It was horrible. She stayed at the barn though. I did decide if surgery had to be done it wasn't an option. Thankfully after 3 1/2 days she was passing manure with a couple of bumpy trailer rides thrown in that seemed to help. Of course a day later she had a gas colic but was ok after that.
Has made me super paranoid ever since with cold snaps.
Missouri Fox Trotters-To ride one is to own one
Standardbreds, so much more then a harness racing horse.
The IV fluids really did the trick with Star when he had an impaction colic four years ago. He was too impacted to tube at the beginning and got continuous IV fluids--I forget how many L total, but it was a lot. He went through some painful episodes, but the impaction broke after about two days at the clinic. I think his was in the same area as Bro's. Definitely stressful though.
Last night's report wasn't exactly glowing before I finally dragged myself to bed, cellphone at the ready. Bro was still having pain episodes about every 2hrs, but were being managed with only xylazine (apparently the weakest sedative) which I was told was working in his favor. Unfortunately, another rectal revealed his bowels had changed not for the better, more distension. Vascular signs were still holding steady, so vet wasn't "alarmed" but "wary." I was basically told that if surgery was an option to send him to Cornell then... Since that is not in the cards, I relayed that and vet said they would continue what they had been doing, managing pain, tubing, monitoring through rectals, IV fluids and walking. I was told he had a 60% chance of making it through this...
So I didn't sleep all that well with that last report. Woke up a few times early in the morning and kept telling myself that no news was good news... Finally awoke to the vet calling at 6:45 that Bro had oily manure in his stall!! He seemed in really good spirits, would really like that hay she keeps waving under his nose! She was just checking in on him today, she's not the vet on call for the weekend so the on call vet will do a rectal later this am. Hubby and I are going to head out shortly to go see him ourselves, I'll stop by the barn and grab some grain for him(since yesterday he was to get 0 food). The vet managing his care suggested he stay for another night to make sure he stays stable, since he was so up and down ever since the start.
So I'm cautiously optimistic at this point. Yesterday he seemed to be doing so well and then he impacted. Until I get the lastest report from the on call vet and see him with my own eyes again, I won't be doing any presumtious happy dances. But considering what I went to bed with, I'm feeling relieved at this point, really glad I took him to the clinic yesterday!