Graycie. She doesn’t owe me a thing, she’s already given me more than I have a right to ask for. So. We’ve been struggling to diagnose her problem. EPM? Negative. Lymes? Negative. Female issue? Nicest uterus and ovaries you’ve ever seen.
Last Saturday I came home from a lesson on Bird with Elizabeth and JK ran out of the barn and told me he’d take care of the Bird. Graycie was sick and I needed to attend to that. 103.2 temperature. That’s serious, Banamine IV brings it down to 99.3 in about an hour. You’ve got to get the temp down when it’s that high for fear of founder. Then of course she’s not eating and drinking like she should so I’m worried about colic. It’s times like these that you realize these magnificent creatures are so fragile.
I check her periodically through the night and she is fine, but as morning breaks she’s back in the 103 range. More Banamine and bute and the temp goes down. She’s eating and drinking, but not enough, so I’m watchful. The thing about colic is the earlier you catch it the better your chances. My motto is do anything to keep them from rolling – ANYTHING. So later in the day she seems much better and I’m starting to feel happy. Paranoid happy, but happy none the less.
The next morning she’s 101.2, but the banamine and bute don’t get the temp down nearly as quickly and she’s now starting to show signs of colic. At this point she will not be left alone. Some one will watch her constantly until the crises is over. I’m scared because this is going on too long. I feel like I’m watching the lumberjacks cut down the biggest red wood in the forest. I want to say, Stop! Now the forest is never going to be the same again. I can feel I’m losing my girl, but I’m not ready. The brilliant light isn’t in her eyes like it has been since she was a yearling. I give her ace to make her comfortable and stop the urge to roll. We walk her around my farm. She periodically stops to pick grass which makes me feel bad because normally she would take this opportunity to grab as much grass as she can. Punkie is upset because he knows something is wrong. He’s not out with the Bi*ch. He’s turned out with a nice gelding. Punk watches us go around the farm.
You know it’s always like this – I get to the field in the back and here comes Bird and Bear. “Whatcha doing? Why are you walking her?” She picks grass and I look at my boys looking at us and I think to myself, Bear’s eye looks funny. So I walk over to find that somehow he’s ripped his lower eye lid. He’s in a flex fence with no trees or anything, so how he did it I’ll never know, but there it is. Normally I’d be freaking out over that, but I’ve got Graycie here and she’s not doing well. I can see his eye ball is fine so I just stick to Graycie and have JK bring in Bird and Bear when he arrives.
I use race track vets. In fact Morgan has taken care of Graycie for most of her racing career and he still takes care of her now. He’s a great vet, but the catch is they can’t come out in the morning. So I decide to call another vet. He tells me she’s had the temp too long and she’s probably getting ready to break loose with diarrhea that’s why she’s feeling colicky. If I want to take her to a clinic they might be able to save her, but it just depends on how much money I want to spend. He’s seen people throw $40K at a horse only to lose it. Besides a clinic probably won’t take her for fear of salmonella unless they have an isolation stall available. It just depends on how valuable the horse is. I think to myself, she’s valuable to me. At any rate he tells me to give her antibiotics, but they won’t help for at least 24 hours. He offers to come out in the afternoon if I want. I think to myself, no thanks.
Great. Now, basically I have a vet telling me my horse is going to die. I realize she could die, but I’m not ready. I’m still on do something to save the horse. I call Morgan. Can I say Thank God for Morgan?? I start the call with “I am very upset.” I proceed to tell him about my experience with the farm vet. Can I say Thank God for Morgan?? He says to me first of all forget about the fever for now. We need to address the colic. As for diarrhea, she doesn’t have it right now, so it’s not an issue. It’s most likely that her stomach is aggravated from the NSAIDS used to treat the fever so we need to get some Gastrogard into her. I tell him I’ve had her on Neighlox in the feed since I started giving her the NSAIDS. I give her the Gastrogard and then take her on a van ride. She poops and seems to settle. By the way, Punkie stood at the gate the entire time we were gone and screamed his head off.
During a time like this a good vet is better than two martinis. By afternoon Graycie is acting better than she has in days. I decide to remain paranoid just the same. The next morning, she eats up but an hour later is acting uncomfortable again. TQ and a walk seem to help. We decide that she needs the Gastrogard and Neighlox before being fed and that’s the new routine. I make this oatmeal type mixture out of Neighlox for all my horses at the track. They get a dose syringe a couple hours before training. I’ve not done that on the farm, I just put it in the feed, but I’m rethinking that.
So yesterday Graycie did her famous victory gallop in her field for the first time in a long time. She gallops with her nose pointed to the sky. She’s done that since she was a baby. Do you think that it’s been ulcers that were bothering her all these months?