Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Uphill Downhill Uphill

Well, I spoke too soon about Licorice.  I got a call yesterday from my trainer saying Licorice looked off.  She said she thought he might colic and his poop went from normal back to cow pie diarrhea to overly dry normal.  We called the vet who was 60 minutes out.  In vet speak, that means about two to three hours.  By the time the vet arrived, Licorice had tried to go down and roll twice.  His nostrils were flared from pain and he was pawing at his belly and swinging his head.

The vet listened to his gut.  One side sounded normal.  The other side sounded inconsistent, which is about what you'd expect from a horse that has had diarrhea for seven days.  So, he sedated Licorice and stuck his arm up his behind to find out what's what.

The good news:  he found nothing.  The frustrating news:  he found nothing.  There was some expected inflammation (again, after diarrhea for seven days that's not surprising) and a few slightly dryer than normal stools, but no red flags.

So, then he got a half dose of Banamine by injection.  Banamine acts an anti inflammatory and a pain medication to help keep Licorice uncomfortable.

Next up, Licorice got a tube up his nose and down to his stomach and was pumped full of water and mineral oil.  My vet said he normally uses milk of magnesia but he was concerned about the level of inflammation inside Licorice.  Especially since he went from cow pie diarrhea to normal to diarrhea to dry.  If there were some extra dry stools in there, he wanted to flush them out gently.

The vet said to keep him off dry foods entirely and give him warm mashes.  We were also cleared for grazing as long as he continued to look okay.

I went home and got my stuff for the long night ahead, had a hot dinner and a hot bath and came back ready.

The first thing we figured out is that Licorice doesn't like warm mashes, or cold mashes.  He does not like bran mashes.  Or oat mashes.  Or alfalfa pellets soaked in warm water.  He does not want beet pulp.  Licorice wants hay.  He was increasingly crabby as all the other horses got hay and he didn't.

It was pouring down rain when I took Licorice out for his first graze.  I let him graze for thirty minutes, then took him back to his stall to see how he fared.  He took a nap and a poop and I huddled under two down sleeping bags, failing at catching some sleep.

Two hours later, we were back out in the pouring rain and he was grazing again.  He was happy to graze but I was cold and tired.  After thirty minutes I called it good and put him back in his stall.

I didn't sleep at all last night.  Partly because I was cold and sleeping on a lawn chair and I'm just not good at that.  I would not make a good adventurer.  I don't like being cold and uncomfortable.  Partly I didn't sleep because the other horses were so loud.  I didn't realize that horses are like cats and like the have parties at 3am.  And the snoring.  Oh. My. God. The. Snoring.  Oxford was across the aisle from Licorice and I and I checked him three times before I realized he wasn't dying, he was snoring!

I ended up leaping out of my sleeping bags about every twenty minutes because one of the horses would shift, lay down, get up, kick something and I would be sure it was Licorice going down and rolling.  Every two hours, I took Licorice out for thirty minutes of grazing.  By this morning, he was looking much better and I was looking much worse.

At seven a.m. I rolled on home and into bed for a few hours.  Last update was that he was beginning to pass the mineral oil, and he ate his mash breakfast.  Will probably head back out this afternoon for more hand grazing.

So....lesson learned about horses.  It's not over until it's over.  I'm not calling this until it's been gone for a few weeks.

Also, despite my bone aching, head pounding, dry mouthed tiredness, I would do it again.  It's my pony and I'm starting to suspect he might be that heart horse everyone talks about (shhhhh...it's too early in our relationship to drop the HH phrase!).  He was worth every lost hour of sleep, every dollar spent on multiple vet visits (I haven't gotten the bill yet.  Merry Christmas family, we bought ourselves a well horse!) and every new worry line on my face.


  1. Aw, you're such a good horse mom. Pouring rain! I hope he keeps looking better.

  2. Hope he's finally on the mend. Good for you for going the extra mile for your good boy.

  3. I hope he is feeling much better very soon, and you are back to getting a full nights sleep too!

  4. Urgh just been reading your last posts. Get better Licorice!!!!

  5. hang in there. Have they sent the test away for Potomac?? I know it takes time, but it does seem symptomatic.

  6. Continuing to send healing thoughts your way! Get better soon Licorice!