Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cruiser Dodges a Bullet—I Hope

Cruiser Dodges a Bullet—I Hope

It was a very rough weekend. I went out to ride Dante on Friday night in the arena. (I was giving Cole a break.) When I brought him back into the barn, Cruiser was laying down. That alone wouldn’t have been alarming, except that Kevin mentioned he was laying down earlier. He was on his side and breathing hard. I thought I would lure him to get up to make sure he was alright. I grabbed his hay cubes that had been soaking and put them in his stall. He immediately got up. I went to unsaddle Dante, looked back at Cruiser and he was standing in his hay cube dish instead of eating out of it. I got scared. He then lay back down, and I grabbed the phone to call the vet.

Of course, it was the emergency vet at this time of the night, and I didn’t know her. I told her what was happening. She said she was out walking her dog and would call me when she got back in. By the time she got back, Cruise seemed perfectly normal—and was trying to get to the hay cubes I had taken away from him. He didn’t have a fever, either. I was worried he may have gotten the virus that Ranger had a few weeks ago. She said not to give him any food and see how he was in the morning.

The next morning, he was fine. Ellen and I went riding, came back and he still looked good, so I gave him some hay cubes. Ellen went out to ride Ranger, and I walked with her. When we returned, Cruiser still seemed good, so I took him on his half hour walk. He then had his lunch, and I went home.

A few hours later, I got the call. Cruiser was lying on his side and breathing hard. Kevin lives very close to the barn, so he went to check. I didn’t wait to hear from him, but called the vet right away. It was the same emergency vet since it was the weekend. She was way out on the other side of the world and couldn’t make it for an hour and a half.

I went out to the barn to find Kevin leading Cruiser. He kept wanting to lay down. This was serious. When the vet finally arrived, when she saw him, she told me she didn’t have a good feeling about it. We brought him back to his stall. She gave him a tranquilizer and a shot of Banamine. She then examined him and tubed him. He had passed plenty of manure while we were waiting for the vet, so an impaction seemed unlikely. She couldn’t find anything apparently wrong, and that was a good sign, but it could be a sign that things were more complicated. The biggest problem—his age. She felt it was serious enough that she gave me the “talk.” If he doesn’t improve in 48 hours, it will be time to end his suffering. He was no candidate for surgery, and if I took him to a clinic for further examination, I wouldn’t like what I saw—and couldn’t do anything about it. Though, she did say that he looked very healthy and that was something in his favor.

When the tranquilizer wore off, he immediately tried to lie down. She said that was a very bad sign. We pulled him out of his stall and kept him walking. Every time I tried to put him back in his stall, he tried to lie down, again. When the vet left, she told me I could give him another dose of Banamine and it would take about 45 minutes to work. I did, but it didn’t. 45 minutes came and left. I would allow him to stand as long as he was comfortable. When he felt bad, he wanted to walk. A few times, he nearly knocked me over in his desire to be moving. We would walk a few minutes, and then I would try standing, again. Eventually, I realized that I could have him stand by the mounting block and then I could sit down. Kevin got us some dinner from Burger King, and we ate in shifts.

Almost an hour and a half from the time I gave him the Banamine, I had him standing by the mounting block and one of the boarders was talking to Kevin and me. I was just watching Cruiser and noticed his eyelids were getting heavy. Could it be? Yes! He was falling asleep! I let him rest a few minutes, took him back to his stall and right away, he fell asleep standing up. The worst was over.

Kevin and I went back to his house for a few hours. When I came back, Cruiser looked fine, just tired. I led him around to make sure. Then—back to Kevin’s for a few hours and then back to check on him. All was the same. I went home. I knew they did the AM feeding about 5:00 AM, so I slept—waiting for the phone call—and it didn’t come.

I went back to the barn in the morning, and he looked good. I called the vet, and she said we could feed him some hay cubes and see what happened. I waited to feed him so we could make sure he was alright. The vet had said we had to remain vigilant for the next 24 hours. Ellen and I were there all morning, riding the other horses, and when he still seemed healthy, I figured I could go home for a few hours. I gave him the cubes—made them really soupy—not the way he likes them. He nibbled at them. When the other horses got their grain and he didn’t, he was very upset. He stopped eating his cubes and stood by his grain dish. He was going back and forth. Finally, he took his hoof and flipped the hay cube dish upside down. I went to get him some hay to soak and Ellen scooped the mush back into his dish. He started to eat then, since at least it wasn’t soupy. He dug into the soaked hay, too.

The day before, it seemed that the colic showed up about 3 hours after feeding. I had time to walk the dog, take a shower and get a nap in before the call would come—but it never did. I went out to see him in the late afternoon, gave him more cubes, back to Kevin’s for a few hours and then back to the barn for another small meal of hay cubes.

We have been giving him many small meals, and he hasn’t gotten any grain, yet. Maybe in a few days. He seems 100% normal. Since we don’t know what caused it all, we don’t know if it will happen again. He has never been a colicky horse. Time will tell, but in the meantime, I am just thankful I still have my wonderful Cruiser.


achieve1dream said...

So scary!!! I'm glad he's okay. Please keep us updated.

Saiph A said...

I'm so glad he's okay! What a terrifying experience! Let us know how he continues to do.

Allison B said...

So so scary! Please let us know how he is doing!

aurora said...

I hope he dodges a bullet too. Colic is scary and no fun. You did good.

Judi said...

Cruiser is doing well--I have a lot to be thankful about this Thanksgiving. My sister, Ellen is a different story. More on that, soon.

achieve1dream said...

Is your sister okay??

Judi said...

She'll live--she broke her ankle.

achieve1dream said...

Ouch!! That sucks. :( Today and yesterday have been really bad days for a lot of people I know and for family.... :( I hope your sister heals quickly.