22 January 2012

Colic and a dust storm ...

Last night just before dark a 'cool' weather front passed through the valley of the sun, the wind kicked up pretty good. I was over to take care of Traveler and he was acting really strangely. I'm thinking he had a 'bellyache' and I'm guessing on this  'bellyache' thing ... . I'd given him his apples and carrots which I do in the evening with his alfalfa. He ate that stuff, pawed the alfalfa and walked away... Hrrrumph? I wonder what's up with that? Then he promptly laid down and rolled. He often rolls when I turn him into the pasture, but in his stall? Not usually. RED FLAG! Colic?

I've seen the symptoms of colic in other horses, so I'm attentive when Traveler seems to be out of sorts. They can't tell us when they have a belly ache or some other malady, but they do exhibit out of the ordinary symptoms when they're not feeling up to snuff...

I'd recently changed providers for his alfalfa, and I thought the quality was about the same, so, I didn't think much of it, until last night... then I remembered what another 'horse person' friend had said.. his horses had had episodes of colic when he'd changed providers, too.  Maybe this change of alfalfa is causing the 'bellyache'? Doesn't make any kind of sense to me, it's been a couple of weeks since I changed providers.

I turned him into the pasture so he could roll without getting hung up in the fence of his stall. I tried to chase him around a little bit and he didn't seem interested in that game... something's definitely up.

Now, where to I have the stuff stashed to make a 'cowboy' cocktail for the symptoms? I need pepto bismal, clear mineral oil, and a couple of ounces of Jack Daniels (any other whiskey works too).  I know I have some of the stuff handy, but crap, I don't have the keys to get into where it is, they're on the other key ring at home...

I keep telling myself ...'don't panic, you caught this in time' as I jump in the truck and head for the CVS pharmacy.  CVS has everything I need to make this 'cowboy cocktail' including the whiskey.

Head back to Traveler. I don't have anything to mix the cocktail in... jump in the truck again and come home .... need the keys, need the other bigger bottle of Jack Daniels, the syringe I use to get it into him, and something to mix it up in. Round and round in circles looking for what I need.... my place is a disaster area with half packed boxes... back to Traveler.

Now, he's starting to freak out .... the wind has kicked up to 25-30 mph.  He doesn't like the wind, gets freaky and jumpy. I don't know many horses who enjoy high wind, but he definitely doesn't. The dust has blotted out the Estrella Mountains and weak sunlight to the west... hurry, h-u-r-r-y, H-U-R-R-Y!!!! Get the cocktail mixed, climbed through the fence with the cocktail and halter/lead rope. Took a minute to get him to stand still while I got a halter on him and tied him to the fence... He's not happy about being tied to the fence, he wants back in his stall right now!

Need both hands to load the syringe, and he won't stand still, he's bumping me. The dust is getting in my eyes... I grabbed his halter and steadied his head so I could get at his mouth (aim is better) and push the plunger. Yay! Got it! He makes a funny face and looks at me as if to say, 'what's this crap!'

Loaded the plunger again, it's not the right size so I'm going to have to dose him two more times. Got him dosed and immediately headed for his pen.. He's all over me, bumping me with his shoulder, walking on top of me, so I picked up the pace to his pen before he could knock me down or step on my sneakered foot ... Ahh, safety and security, only he's not happy when I tie him to the fence outside his pen... and he watches my every move while I hang a 1/2 barrel feeder on the fence.

I need to get his feed off the sandy ground. That's probably part of the problem too, I'm thinking .... Got the feeder up. Opened another bale, tossed in a 1/2 of a 1/2 a flake, and loaded the stuff he turned his nose up at some fresher alfalfa into the feeder along with some orange flavored Metamucil. This I use because it has psyllium husk in it which also helps to move sand out of his stomach and intestines...

Oh, oh something new! He stands behind the feeder more than a nose next length away, stretching toward it as if it's going to bite him, and has to snuffle it before he decides it's okay .... it's not going to 'get him', he grabs what's in it and settles in ....

I walk around his pen checking poohs. There's nothing recent, so I know he hasn't poohed in a couple of hours, and I hadn't heard any gastric noises in his belly when I listened... sighing .... I hope this 'cowboy remedy' works. I clean his water barrel so he has fresh when he needs it, and leave him to his feed.

I'm glad to say ... when I went to feed this morning, a little earlier than usual, he is fine and dandy... cleaned up everything in the feeder and whatever he dropped on the ground... another dose of Metamucil with his feed this morning should do the trick. Good fresh pooh on the ground in four or five places, so that's a promising sign too... caught it in time.

I should note, we had a good dust storm last night too. It came full force after dark. There's still a lot of dust in the air this morning ...