Sunday, December 16, 2012

Happy Holidays

Granite had his third vet visit on Friday. His temperature has stayed normal and he seems to be responding really well to his pain meds (now on once daily previcox). The treatment plan is to keep him in his stall and small paddock for another month when we will ultrasound again and pull more blood work to make sure his spleen has gone back to normal and the ab muscle has repaired. Although I basically called off purchasing any more Christmas gift the bills have set me back so far, but this was the best case diagnosis and the big guy is feeling better now. So, I'm a relatively happy horse mom.

I'm really looking forward to the holidays. After work this week I'll go to my parent's house on the Outer Banks. The best part is that TK will be with me for the first time this year. We'll return to our home for his birthday on the 27th. He will be 29. Where does the time go? The next day, we pack up with his family and head to Asheville, NC to spend 4 days enjoying the family's company and the beautiful mountains. To top off the great vacation, TK and I will spend new years eve with my favorite band: The Avett Brothers. I. Can't. Wait. But, 11 days without my Granite will be tough. I'm just glad he has our amazing Barn Owner to watch after him and that he is feeling better going into the holidays.

I'm sorry I've been absent most of the year. I guess I just didn't have anything moving to write. I'm glad I've been able to follow along with your lives.

Wishing you all a Happy Holiday!
From Me, Granite, Little Daphne Dog, and TK <3

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Mystery Solved.... Hopefully: The Diagnosis.

I'm writing this with a (large) glass of Merlot in my hand.... just sayin. 

It was a stressful day, but I think it turned out as best as it possibly could.

I couldn't coerce my horse in the trailer without feeding or working/upsetting him (two things I was instructed not to do). So ,my (amazing) vet already had a back up plan. She, another vet and two vet student interns rolled up to the barn with the ultrasound. The other vet, whom I had never met, we very sweet but I nearly cursed when she said "this is such a fascinating case." I was all "oh no sweetheart, this is scary, not interesting!"

But anyhoo. They gave granite a really cool hair cut (bless his pea pickin heart). And ultrasounded his lower belly (the suspect of much of the pain). After lots of srunched noses and Hmmm and Ummms. The verdict was that there were no foreign bodies in his tummy. But there appears to be a torn abdominal muscle, swollen spleen, hematoma, and a possible bruised rib. She pulled more blood work to be sure that nothing else had come up since monday. She did another rectal exam and the only thing she could feel was the swollen spleen, everything else was normal back there. 

We are guessing he was kicked or wiped out reallly hard playing in the pasture or fell ON something (rock or stump or something). It started fairly mild so perhaps it got worse while he was playing in the pasture. 

Either way we are doing some strong antibiotics to prevent abscess, low-dose ulcerguard and banamine. Oh yeah, and 6 weeks restricted turn out (in a small lot, by himself). He gets more antibiotic shots on Monday and then a re-check with the vet on Friday (assuming the second blood panel comes back normally).

I'm SUPER broke after these two visits and meds and the like but this is basically the best possible scenario. No surgery or lingering/reoccuring issues. Just G being a goof-head and hurting himself.

He was such a champ today for the whole thing. Very patient and tolerant even though he wasn't feeling good. 

I'm just glad that I think (hope) that we have our answer and my boy will start to feel better soon.

Thanks for all of the suggestions and mostly the thoughts and prayers. I think I will actually maybe get some sleep tonight and not have nightmares of waking up to my horse being dead. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Riddle-- Also Known as 'Stump the Vet'

Granite is sick.

Want to help try to solve the puzzle... or maybe just put bets on what the vet finds?

here is how it went down:

2 weeks ago, Monday the 19th. I hopped on bareback at dusk to get a short ride in after work before it got completely black (we don't have lights). We walked to the right and when I asked him to bend to the left he pinned his ears and tried to bite my foot (Granite doesnt do that). We repeated that twice before I jumped off and called it game-over. He was hurting. He got a new buddy in his pasture that day (not new to him or the farm, just to the pasture) and I had heard that they were all running around that day playing. I assumed maybe he had gotten kicked. No marks. Just sensitivity at the girth on the left side. We keep him in the stall overnight to monitor, just in case he is colicky.He came through just fine.

He got the next day off, I worked late.

Wednesday the 21st, repeat same situation. Dusk bareback ride, not happy with left leg pressure. Trainer was there to witness this and said "maybe ulcers." Still seemed to only have sensitivity to pressure on the left. His back felt fine. No reactions.

I monitored the situation the rest of that week and even managed to ride for 15min (just walk/trot) that weekend. He didn't like being girthed and was a bit irritated at upward transitions, but nothing violent or ill-willed.

The next week, I start to notice both sides getting a negative reaction when pressed. And now moving more toward the lower belly with little reaction near the girth.

Is it his sheath? Last winter he had very similar issues but with a good cleaning (we last cleaned in July), they resolved.

Cleaned his sheath and couldn't come to the barn the next day but I made it out Friday the 30th. He is OUCHY. All near his groin, flank, lower belly. He is eating, drinking, pooping, peeing, grazing, playing in the pasture normally (all along) but is very sensitive in the low belly.

Saturday (the 1st) I try the Maalox test for ulcers. No improvement. At. All. I monitor him for a few hours. Plays in the pasture, eats, does normal horsie things. Normal stool.

Sunday morning I get a call from the Barn Owner. G just isnt right. His eyes are dull. He is in pain. I call the on-call vet. Fortunately, its "our" vet at the practice. She asks for his temp. Its normal. I tell her about all the other normal things he is doing. She determines he can wait until Monday (my credit cards says thanks).

Monday the 3rd of December she does a thorough exam finding the pain in the places I do. She does a rectal exam, and oral exam, sedates and cleans sheath (finds nothing-- compliments me on doing a decent job myself). She determines that we will treat for ulcers with gastro guard and run blood panel and stool sample. After a few days we will reevaluate and possibly scope for ulcers.

Tuesday morning Blood work comes back perfect. No signs of infection. Electrolytes are good. No high white blood cell count. Other medical stuff I dont understand is all good. No sediment or worms in the stool... lovely. Continue treatment with gastroguard.

Tuesday evening I'm at a late meeting for work. I get a call that G is pacing and while he ate his grain, he wont touch his hay. I rush out and call the vet. We see him poop (its normal) and his temp is fine. We have no banamine on hand but she suggests bute for pain bc he doesn't have diarrhea. She decides that he needs to be scoped asap.

I dont have a trailer and my big horse won't fit in the barn owners (who just started her new job last week anyway). I can't get a ride for today (Wednesday). So, the vet says thats OK. I go pick up banamine. She says we will keep gastroguarding. He goes in for scope and (ultrasound maybe?) tomorrow (thursday the 6th) at 11:30. He hasn't loaded in a trailer in a long time and he can't eat before hand. So that and the fact that I have no idea how I'm going to pay for it is an entirely different world of worry.

But for now.... any bets on whats wrong with my horse. ANYONE had something similar. Pain is is only symptom. I'm at a loss. Maybe he ate something (there is a double-sided  latch missing from his stall door)?

Keep your fingers crossed for us. He is miserable. As of lunch today he had also not had any water since last night. That worries me too.