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.


Anonymous said...

Those mystery illnesses are very disturbing - glad you kept a close eye on him and had the vet check him out. Colic scares me to death too. Hope he continues to do well.

eventer79 said...

Sheesh, going around, is it? They love to scare us! Very glad to hear he's ok!

Frizzle said...

Kate, yes, mystery illnesses are scary, but I was SO glad it wasn't colic. Although I've seen about 27,000 colics in my lifetime, the last one was like nothing I've seen before and I watched my horse die. I'm very grateful Salem was just fine.

Brena, I still have no idea what it was (virus, maybe?), although at first it did look like a colic. I read back a few posts on your blog and saw that Encore had a bit of a colic episode recently--so happy for you that his was also minor and he's back to kicking ass and taking names!

Val said...

Glad he's okay. It is completely justified to be super cautious about colic.

Harley drove me a little nuts last year when he would go through episodes of not wanting to finish his grain. He never lost his appetite for hay and did not have any symptoms that suggested colic or ulcers, except for quitting his grain. I kept thinking there was something wrong with the grain, but I never nailed down what the problem was. Hopefully, he doesn't do that again this year.

Frizzle said...

Val, that is very odd about Harley going off his grain. What type of grain is he eating? Maybe the formula could have changed if it's not a fixed formula grain, and he didn't like the change? At least he's doing alright--I swear our horses sit around scheming up ways to make us worry, lol!

Val said...

Not quite the same as fixed formula, but Purina advertises "Constant Nutrition" formulation. He eats Ultium and has done so without a hiccup for years.

I was more worried that the store had old bags or something of that matter. He remained totally fine in every other way and didn't even lose weight, so it is also possible that he just didn't need as much grain anymore and that is a very good thing!

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

I would have been scared as well...sheesh, those mystery ailments cause US-double up on that Gastrogaurd order. Who am I kidding? Filet for them, Ramen for us.
Saley looks great despite the hiccup and hoping it stays all 'normal' for the long haul. The Rat poo---um, wtf!?!! That would make my skin crawl...

Frizzle said...

Lol, yes Kristen I have been considering GG-ing myself (too bad it's like $27,000 a tube!).

And, yeah, I have been PISSED about the rats!! I've been complaining forever, and the last few weeks there has been been rat poop in Salem's feeder on and off. It's because a rat is living under the tack room next to Saley's stall and it burrows a hole through the shavings to come out and crawl around in Salem's feed bin. I've been cleaning/bleaching the feed bin every day and it's getting so old! I'm going to buy one of those electrocution rat traps because the BO refuses to buy one (says they're too expensive) and keeps putting rat poison down, which is not working (not to mention it's dangerous around the horses and dogs!).

Anyways. At least Salem is okay and I am very thankful for that! :-)

Achieve1dream said...

I'm so glad Salem is okay! Scary!

The whole situation with the rats must be so frustrating!! Do they sweep out their feed room every day? That's something my trainer was adamant about at the barn I used to work for. Also you might get him a removable bucket that hangs over the stall wall instead of using that manger. Then it could be taken out and put upside down when he's done eating. I don't know if they would do that for you, but it's an idea. I found mouse poop in Chrome's bucket so that's what I've been doing. :)