Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Back to (Quasi-) Normal

Since Salem has been back to his usual goofball self since last Friday, I decided it was high time to let him go back to his daily pasture romps with his BFF Cloud. These two are hilarious--Cloud is somewhere between 25 and 30, but he's still pretty feisty and full of spit and vinegar, and he and Salem get along like ebony and ivory. They have a weird May-December sado-masochistic semi-homo-erotic relationship, but it works for them. :-)

They wander all over the pasture, alternating grazing with a little bit of playing/running/bucking/biting. I've never seen Salem like any horse as much as he likes Cloud. Granted, he does also really like biting him, but the good thing is that Cloud seems to like it. :-) Like I said, they're a little bit sado-masochistic and Salem is definitely the alpha, but they're a very good match.

I also did a really quick impromptu photo shoot with Salem for a little side project that I've been working on lately. Unfortunately, Salem is no model. No matter how many times I told him to "Smize" a la Tyra Banks, most of my pics ended up like this:

Yeah. Not exactly great. Luckily, this was just a little unofficial thing, so hopefully next time will be better! Oh, well. My horse is healthy and happy and I am thanking my lucky stars for that!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Out of The Woods

So thankful that this boy is still just fine
*knocks on wood* Well, I don't have any exciting updates yet, but fortunately I have a good update after we had a minor scare last week.
Wednesday evening, I got to the barn and Salem was out in the pasture with his BFF Cloud. As I walked past his stall, I noticed that his evening grain was still in his feed bin, but I figured he had just been fed and then turned out before he could finish. I shot a text to the caretaker. She answered, "I gave them an hour after feeding before I put them in the pasture." Uh-oh. When it comes to grain, Salem is pretty much the Tasmanian Devil and tears through his food with much gusto. Something was definitely not right. 
In the pasture, he seemed okay but not great--he was a little lethargic and he wouldn't eat his apple that he usually gobbles greedily. Red flag #2, so I took him in and looked him over. His gums looked good, gut sounds were strong, and his temp was normal (after I had a total blonde moment and thought the thermometer was reading 110.5, which I thankfully reasoned was just my thermometer malfunctioning and started ranting about what a cheap POS it was until I realized it was actually reading 101.5). So, I took a peek in his paddock and there were only three piles of manure out there instead of his usual 10-ish. Red flag #3.
I was about to call the vet, but after our last false alarm I decided to wait it out a bit and see what we had. I knew immediately that it wasn't a mystery freak-out like last time because Salem was perfectly calm and he had obviously not been pacing. A closer inspection of his grain revealed rat poop, which made me livid, as I have been complaining up and down about the rat problem and the BO is not solving it. Of course, I started worrying about lepto. And EHV-1 (I've been up to Wellington recently and there were confirmed cases there). The caretaker also told me that Salem had barely drank all day, and he's usually a pretty healthy drinker. On the outside I was calm but internally I was a typhoon.
Since Salem didn't seem to be in any distress, I decided to just give him some banamine and take him out for some hand-grazing and see how he did.
I love how these little green seed things get stuck on his muzzle. :-)
After several hours of steady grazing, no distress, and one normal-looking manure pile, I decided that Salem didn't need an emergency vet visit. I stayed until 2 am to make sure he was okay, and when I left him he was eating his nightly mash.

His goofy personality was still perfectly intact, lol.
(And, yes, he was wearing a turnout sheet and fly boots/mask, something he has been doing on
and off since October--we've had WAY more cold weather than usual, but
unfortunately the flies have never abated. Yuck!)
Late the next morning, I got a text that Salem hadn't finished his mash from the night before, and he had taken a really long time to eat his breakfast. I decided to swing by my vet's office to pick up more banamine, see if Salem could be squeezed into the schedule, and pre-pay a bit so I could stay ahead (we all know vet bills are never cheap, although thankfully mine is quite reasonable).
Thank goodness for my vet--soon after I got to the barn, I noticed that Salem hadn't touched his afternoon grain, and I was just getting worried when he called and said he was coming right over (I LOVE that he lives 5 minutes from Salem's farm!). Dr. F looked Salem over and said his TPR were normal, he had excellent gut sounds, there was nothing going in his mouth, and basically he looked really good. He said that he's seen quite a few colics lately from the weird weather, but Salem didn't appear to be colicky at all, so he gave me a week's worth of GastroGard to see if that would help anything. He said he could pull blood but didn't expect it to show anything; I decided to have him pull it just in case.
Goodbye, Money

 On Friday morning, Dr. F called and told me that, surprisingly, Salem's white blood cell count was a bit low. He said Salem most likely had some sort of infection (viral, probably), but since he didn't have a fever it was most likely minor and "we [could] just coast on this one." Thank goodness! :-) He said I should keep a close eye on Salem, have him take it easy (which is not to worry, as that is pretty much what he *always* does), and let him know if Salem wasn't getting better.
That evening, I was quite pleased to see that Salem's feed bin was empty and he had nine piles of manure in his paddock. I wanted to make sure he was okay, so I dumped another quart of grain in his bin to see what he would do. And thankfully:
I've never been so happy to see him being such a pig! He looks like he might have dropped a pound or two, but luckily he has plenty to spare. And *fingers crossed* he has been back to his usual self all weekend.
So, I think it's safe to say that my boy is just fine. Although he gave me a little bit of a scare, in the grand scheme of things it's pretty inconsequential. After watching my last horse drop dead from colic, I'm understandably a bit on edge every time there seems to be something a little off with Salem, but he's luckily still healthy as a horse.