Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Cure

Rex can hardly stand my big, bay, barrel horse, Roy.  
Rex - and I quote - says my horse "is a puss" and that "we've injected more penicillin into that nag than into any other horse on the place!"

I'll have to admit, Roy is accident prone. However, the good ones always are and I think Roy is so smart and talented!

For example, in mid April when the grass was growing like gang busters, I started to acclimate Roy to being turned out on pasture by letting him graze for two or three hours a day for three or four days. When I felt he was going to handle the Yellow Hop (a high protein forage much like grain) and not get sick, I turned him out full time. What I didn't plan for was Roy pushing his way into our shop during the night, getting into a five gallon bucket of 14% (protein) steer pellets, then exiting and spending the rest of the night feasting on Yellow Hop!

When I went out at around 7:00 am the next morning, Roy was standing in one spot with his head down and didn't even seem to care when I grabbed his bucket. This normally bring him trotting over, jabbering up a storm. But he just stood, and never looked up. I walked over with a halter and slipped it over his head. He wouldn't follow. In fact, he acted like he wanted to lay down and felt hot.

I led him round and round. Meanwhile, Rex went looking to see if he could figure out what "my nag got into" and discovered the open panel going into the shop and the empty bucket.

"Looks like the stupid son-of-a-bitch has made himself sick!" Rex yelled from the shop door. I knew Roy had done it to himself, but that didn't make him dumb, that just made him a pig!

I administered Banamine for pain and a little Dexamethazone to keep inflammation and stress to a minimum, as it appeared Roy was trying to "tie up", or twist a gut. And we walked and walked and walked. Trick is to keep a horse moving when they are in a jam like that, and not let it lay down and roll because that can result in a twisted gut, and death.

Walking and movement also helps to "move things along" internally, with end goal being a healthy bowel movement. When that is achieved, one can assume the horse is going to recover. But Roy wasn't co-operating.

Nearly three hours had passed and nothing. But my barrel horse really wanted to lay, so I kept walking. Cell phones are grand - I called a friend, a fellow horse lover and owner of her own barrel horse, and asked her advice. Now she and I have traveled to a few rodeos together, and she knows Roy and his habits quite well.

"Thing is, Eileen, you have to outsmart Roy!", stated my friend. "Hell! Roy always takes a poop in my clean trailer when we load him up!"

She was right! Could that work? It was worth a try. Even though our trailer wasn't hooked, I marched Roy right over there. "Wanna go barrel race?", I asked Roy - just to make it seem more real to him. He loaded right up and I tied him in his usual spot. He stood, head cranked around at me as I stood at the trailer door. Figuring he needed some privacy, I closed the door and snuck around the side where I could peek through a slat and keep an eye on any progress. He knew where I was and stared blankly at the slat where my beady eyes were peering through at him. Nothing.

"He's a smart horse. He knows the trailer's not hooked up!", I reasoned to myself. So, I backed the pickup to the trailer and hitched it up, leaving the truck running. I walked around the end of the trailer and stood up on the wheel well, looking over the top of Roy and asked, "Are you ready to go to the barrel race?"

Roy seemed to get excited, lifting his head so that he could peer out the top slat. He started to sway back and forth, and nickered. He slowly lifted his tail, and I could hear him strain. And then, voila! Success!

I texted this photo to my friend with the message, "You're a genius!"

So I think this needs to be published in some medical magazine. I'm sure this "Cure" for colic would be of interest to the veterinary world! ;)