Monday, November 1, 2010

Shadowfax has a mild colic episode

This morning when Foxfire went out to give the horses their morning grain, Shadowfax didn't come to his stall as usual. That was strange to begin with. Then even when Foxfire led him to his stall, he showed no interest in his grain. That was just unheard of. Shadowfax loves food, any food, especially his grain. At meal times, he follows us from the backyard gate to his stall, making hmmm hmmm hmmm sounds. And as soon as we've dumped the grain in his bucket and given him permission to come eat, he dives in very enthusiastically. He has to wait to get permission, because when we first got him, he was a bit pushy about food and we had to teach him manners.

Anyway, for him not to immediately dive into his feed meant that there was something wrong. Foxfire came in and woke me up and said I should come check on Shadowfax. When I made it to the pasture, poor Shadowfax was just standing in his stall looking extremely apathetic and lethargic. He is normally very alert and curious about everything going on, but not this morning. He barely even reacted to my voice and my touch. I put my head up against his stomach and listened for gut sounds. There were some very faint sounds, but not his usual noisy gurgling that you can hear just standing next to him. We decided that he was probably colicing.

Foxfire had to get to work, so I called Dr A's answering service (It was about 20 minutes before her office opened)and waited for her to call back. At 8:05, I still hadn't heard from her, so I called her office. This time her normal receptionist answered and we discussed Shadowfax's symptoms. As we were talking, Shadowfax actually started looking better. He started looking around, then moving around a little, then wandered over to where Ziggy was and started to graze. TR said not to let him graze if he hadn't pooped, so I went over, haltered him and led him back into his stall. Since Shadowfax wasn't in obvious distress, Dr A said she couldn't make it over until 11am. But that if he started showing signs of distress to call her back.

Shadowfax kept getting better and better. And as he felt better, he got more and more frustrated about being kept in his stall. We normally only put our horses into their stalls at feeding time. So for him to be in his stall and not be eating confused and annoyed him. However, aside from looking aggrieved, he was looking pretty much back to normal. But he still hadn't pooped. And when I listened to his stomach, his gut sounds were still VERY faint.

I did some work in the yard while I kept an eye on him. Then eventually went inside to get something to drink and to sit down. I checked on him every 15 minutes to make sure he was still alright and to look for poop. About 10 minutes after Dr A's receptionist called to say that Dr A was on the way, Shadowfax pooped. It wasn't a very big poop and it was rather loose, but it was poop and that was a good sign.

Dr A arrived, looked at his poop, listened to his gut sounds and decided that she still wanted to tube him and give him some oil to help clean out any problems he might still have in his digestive tract. Poor Shadowfax did not understand what was being done to him at all and he acted pretty scared. He actually stopped breathing for a while when they first put the tube down his nostril, then finally he had to take a huge breath. After that, he relaxed slightly and behaved well for the rest of the procedure. I'm pretty sure he'd never been tubed before since both his previous owners said that he had never coliced. It's no wonder he freaked out a little.

Anyway, Dr A said to let Shadowfax out of his stall after Ziggy and the donkeys finished eating the fresh hay that I'd thrown out for them. (They'd finished off our round bale and we weren't getting another one delivered until the next day.) And that it was okay for him to graze the grass. But to not give him any grain for dinner, just a flake of hay or preferably, alfalfa. Tomorrow morning he gets half of his usual grain and he can eat hay and graze and then tomorrow evening he can resume his normal feeding schedule.

Shadowfax was quite happy to get out of his stall when I finally let him out. He went over to where the herd was grazing and joined them. He was completely back to his usual alert self. But I did keep going out to check on him fairly regularly. I can see him out the window now, grazing with the donkeys. I am so relieved that it was such a minor episode and that he got over it so quickly. I don't know what caused it. I wonder if the flood washed something bad into our pasture that he ate and if that was what caused the problem. We did clean the pasture of debris as thoroughly as possible before letting the horses back onto it, but we could have missed something. However, none of the other equines seem to have had any problems. I suppose it could be just one of those things. It is colic season. Anyway, it seems to be over now, and Shadowfax seems fine. So that's good.

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