Friday, July 23, 2010

Not Horsin' Around

Oh my.....what a week!  I wish I was expressing that in exhaustion from too much fun.  Instead, I've been soundly humbled by a sick horse. 

Yodi has been ever-so-slowly declining in outward signs of health for about the last 60 days.  I've been watching it happen, and waiting for it to turn around on its own or reach a point where I felt the need to do something.  But.....its been subtle.  His coat is dry and his skin is flaky.  I justified it by the very wet, moist Spring and Early Summer that we've had.......which followed a miserably wet Winter.  Was he losing a little weight through the topline?  One day I would think so.......the next day not so much.

Well......about 10 days ago, he was suddenly swelling in certain areas and seemed less "perky".  We immediately stepped up to the plate and started watching him more closely, but last Friday, the vet came out for a visit.  He tranquilized him for a tricky procedure, and I was really hoping for a simple infection to step out and say, "Hi!"  No such luck.  No infection.  And no sounds of lung congestion despite a dry cough with no nasal discharge.  And no fever.  So we sat back and observed for a few more days.

By this past Monday, he was showing signs of severe dehydration with soreness still acute in his spine.  Four horse-savvy adults attempted to pull blood out of him for testing before we figured out that our vacu-tainers were defective.  (Twenty+ needle holes later!  Geez......I love this horse.  He stood like a charm and would have happily drawn his own blood if he could hold the needles in his hooves.  We all decided that when the next set of riding students are ready to learn to give vaccines, THIS will be the horse we will use because he never raised a fuss.)  We finally got blood out of him using a syringe, I ran it to the vet courier, and it returned 24 hours later with signs of a depressed liver enzyme, and no other significant offages.

My vet was totally confused with the liver enzyme.  There aren't a lot of things that cause this number to go too low, and none of them fit Yodi's symptoms or life.  So.....I personally spoke with a Veterinarian at WSU's Diagnostic Labs and he graciously offered to review the results.  I faxed them over to Pullman, and am still waiting to hear an opinion or suggestion from them. 

Fortunately, while waiting for a determination of the next step, Yodi's swelling, all-over body soreness, and dehydration have resolved.  He's still coughing, but I'm watering his hay for the time being to lower the irritation of inhaled dust.  His spine is still sore, but a bit better after a full week of rest and spoiling.  I've stepped up the insect repellants, and altered his feed slightly to add electrolytes. 

Once I hear from WSU, I'll know what step comes next.  For the time being, I'm hoping that we're past the worst?  Not quite sure what caused any of this, and we still have his coat and skin condition to address.  But its been a LONG WEEK! 

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