No Time To Wait
During a week of ongoing rain, Foster, our former racehorse, limped in from the pasture, not able to put pressure on his back leg. When we see this, we normally pick our horses hooves and often find just a simple pea gravel rock lodged in mud will be causing discomfort. Sure enough, after picking his hoof, we discovered a few rocks and mud, and thought that would give him relief. But 15 minutes later he walked into a stall, and laid down. Not to sleep or rest, but in pain - which he showed by reaching his head up, towards his stomach. That's never a good sign - and always an emergency.
Get Him Moving
We forced him to stand up, and immediately sent videos to our vet. He still wouldn’t put pressure on his leg, and so we weren't sure if he was experiencing an abscess in the hoof, or pain in the stomach (colic). The signs he was displaying signal both. Colic would be the most serious, so after following instructions to administer a shot of Banamine pain killer, and wait 1 hour to see if he improved, we went ahead and arranged a transport to Weems and Stephens, the closest equine hospital, and brought him in right away.
After bloodwork and xrays, we're told his condition is quite serious. He was, in fact colicking, from dehydration and reflux. Our ranch has 7 water troughs that are filled daily, so it was shocking to find out he was dehydrated! Dr. Splawn said they had 8 other horses admitted for the same symptoms that morning. And explained that even people don't drink enough water everyday. Horses are just like humans. With the heat and his hoff abscess, he probably was already not feeling well, and it may have led him to not want to drink.
The reflux he was suffering from was a buildup of fluid in the gut that horses cannot get rid of on their own (horses cannot throw up). So if we had not rushed him to the hospital, his stomach would have continued to fill up with the fluid and it could have been fatal. The Weems team expelled the gut fluid, drained his abscess, and poulticed the hoof.
Foster was admitted to the hospital with an I.V. bag that attaches to a pully-system in the ceiling. He would spend two nights there, getting fluids and healing. When he returned, we would continue to poultice his foot for 2 weeks. We are so happy to have our retiree back home and thriving again!