Tag: colic

Incision Site Still Swollen

belly1.jpgIsis still has quite a bit of swelling on the incision site. I’m going to have the vet out to check it hopefully tomorrow or on Monday. Isis is sore, which I suppose is to be expected. When I place my hand near the incision site, she lifts her back leg to threaten a “don’t do that.”

She still seems to be eating the grain with the corn oil. Maybe this will work. I hope so.

It was so gorgeous today: clear blue skies and mild weather. Almost a little chilly. Perfect riding weather. I got to the barn with just enough time to throw a saddle on someone… I miss riding her. Rajiyyah’s training isn’t at the same level as Isis’ so it’s hard to just throw the saddle on her and go have fun. Maybe in a month or so she’ll be closer to doing that. Right now, she is still shying too much at “boogers” around the ring.

Maybe tomorrow I can get out to the barn earlier. To do that, I need to log off of here and go to bed so I can be at work at a reasonable time.

Grain Goes a Long Way

The vet said that Isis could indeed begin having grain again. She is allowed a cup of grain two to three times per day along with a quarter cup of corn oil morning and evening. I have my doubts whether Isis will actually eat the corn oil. She has objected before to things being in her grain. We will see. The corn oil is a high fat supplement that can help horses with insulin resistance gain weight. With an IR horse, you don’t want to add a lot of grain to their diet. Instead, you look for other ways to increase their calories without increasing the starch or sugars.

After a week on this regimen, she’ll be allowed to have 1 1/2 cups of grain 2-3 times per day with a third of a cup of corn oil twice per day. She can also go back on her regular hoof/coat anti-rainrot supplement (yay!).

The Bay and the Gray

This week has been a study in opposites. Isis is a more mature, mellow mare whose Egyptian and Crabbet bloodlines mean that she has the looks with a lot of common sense. Rajiyyah is a straight Egyptian, so she has lots of looks and not as much common sense. She is a sweet, intelligent horse who will listen when you say it’s all right. She is very spirited but doesn’t have a mean bone in her body.

Isis is glad to be home and has been making steady progress. The rainrot is starting to disappear. The swelling on her neck is slowly disappearing. Her incision looks good. No heat, although there is still some swelling. Last night I took her for a walk and graze on the road (the “runway”) between the back pastures. It’s a good little walk up a slow incline with tasty mowed grass (lots of clover). Isis immediately headed towards the runway and we were off up the hill. Rajiyyah heard Isis and charged down the hill to walk and trot along the fenceline where Isis was grazing. When the other horses in an adjoining pasture cantered up, Rajiyyah took off with her tail over her back just prancing and playing. Isis kept grazing. Rajiyyah bolted around,kicked up her heels, reared, and came back next to Isis by the fence. Snorted. Isis kept grazing. Rajiyyah raced around some more. Isis kept grazing. Finally, Rajiyyah stopped and stomped her leg and whinnied. Without seeming to notice Rajiyyay, Isis walked farther up the runway and kept grazing.

Silly kids.

Bay Mare Boogies On!

Okay, have to make this fast because I’m still at work. The vet just called. Isis is doing GREAT! She’s truly the Miracle Mare(tm)! She is grazing at regular intervals and can’t get enough of it. Apparently she is knickering at every person who walks by, “Please take me out.”

She will get some wet hay tomorrow and more grazing. On Sunday she will get as much hay as she wants. Monday or Tuesday she may get to come home!

Party on, Isis! That’s my girl!

(Bouncing off to my meeting again…)

Tuesday update

I just talked to the vet. He said that the toxins in Isis’ system are gone (yay!). Unfortunately, her small intestines still aren’t showing any motility. It may take several days for motility to return. It’s not unusual for intestines that were as badly damaged as hers to take a few days to recover. The vet said he’s seen this before. Right now, she is static: mobility isn’t present, but at least she isn’t getting worse. There is a possibility that motility won’t return; but it is too early to know.

Poor Isis had the nose tube put back in last night; she won’t be happy about that. He said they are going to start taking her for walks and just let her get out for a while.

On a good financial note… The insurance company said that they can process partial bills. So if I get an itemized bill for the current charges, the insurance company can start processing (and hopefully have a check to me that I can turn over without having to take out a loan).

The reduced toxins mean less chance of laminitis. Also, the vet said that the digital pulse is something to watch but wasn’t too worrisome. A fluxuating digital pulse could be an indication just of the stress she’s been through. A steady digital pulse could indicate something more serious.

The vet said that she’s a fighter and she’s a very sweet mare. He knows how to get on my good side. 🙂

Guardedly optimistic

The Bay Wonder Mare is a marvel. The way she was today versus on Saturday is worlds different. She felt so much better. When I went into her stall, she was very talkative. She nickered when I put my hand on her forehead, like she does in the field when I greet her. She nickered again when my hand stroked near the halter clip — a sound she always makes when I take off her grazing muzzle.

She seemed much improved today. I was elated when I saw how much better her attitude was today — until the vet student mentioned that Isis has had digital pulses today. That’s not good. She was also shifting her weight from one foot to the other. It could be from discomfort. It made me leery. She shifted her feet like that last time she had laminitis. The shifting could be discomfort from the surgery or it could be something else. So we’re watching her.

So (finally) some good news. And some caution. Laminitis could be very bad, or mild, or not happen at all. Here’s hoping the “L” word doesn’t enter the picture at all.

Isis, Day 3

Monday update

I just spoke with the vet. He said Isis is doing about as expected, which is pretty good considering everything her small intestines have been through. She had some issues with electrolyte levels today. That has been corrected and is being monitored. She still doesn’t have any motility in her small intestines and may not for another 24-72 hours. It all depends upon how she starts healing.

She was transferred from the emergency vet to a regular vet today. Well, he’s not just a regular vet, he happens to be a specialist in insulin resistance. Isis is truly in the best possible hands for her case.

Rollercoaster ride

This morning I was in a good mood. I hadn’t heard from the vet clinic — and no news is good news. As soon as I walked into the clinic, the vet said that she was just about to call me. Isis had had a minor colic episode that morning. Not much, but enough to cause concern. If the colic worsened or she didn’t respond to pain medications, then we would have to examine what might be causing her pain. If we had to go back in for another surgery, would we have an option of removnig parts of her small intestings (if any of it had died instead of recovered from the surgery)? The vet gently let me know that I have to make a decision that would break my heart. She wasn’t saying it would even happen; just that I needed to be prepared in case it had.

I never thought I might lose Isis to anything except either laminitis or old age. Colic simply never entered the picture. She had been through a lot of stressful events and had never become upset. How could the mare who had been through laminitis twice, pulled tendons, full-body rainrot, and fly-bit sensitivity possibly have something else that she couldn’t deal with? She’s a strong resliant mare. She is also very gentle and loving.

I had to step back outside of the clinic. I couldn’t sit there and look at Isis and process the possibility that I might have to decide to put her to sleep. Even now, typing these words, it is something from which I shy away. If it would be best for her, I could make that decision. Just not right now when she seemed to be doing well…

I called my Mom and then my best friend, both times in tears. I didn’t know what to do, except that I had to process and calm down. They both helped calm me down. Seanachais even came out to the clinic and spent the day with me. I would have been a basket case with out her there. She’s been through similar things with her horses, including losing some to colic. She knew exactly what I was going through. She’s been out to ride Isis several times and knows her pretty well.

The vets managed Isis’ mild colic this morning and gave her a pain killer that seemed to help her a lot. A side-effect of this pain medication was that she became agitated and paced, which kinked up the IV line several times. Eventually, she calmed down.

Mel eventually dragged me out for something to eat. She knew I hadn’t been eating much. I couldn’t keep anything down and I had lost my appetite pretty early on in this affair. Some times you’re just too stressed to be able to eat. (Not a good diet plan.) We did some shopping and went out to see Rajiyyah. Something reassuring about seeing a healthy horse and being able be reminded that not every horse ends up in the hospital.

Isis had seven visitors today. 🙂 She has quite a fan club. The farm owners came out to see her. One of our boarders who is a vet student also dropped by. Another one of the boarders was on call at the vet hospital and kept an eye on Isis over Saturday night. The Bay Wonder Mare is definitely being watched over.

Tonight she was quiet and seemed to be resting. She still doesn’t have much motility in her small intestines, and this is worrisome. We’re also worried about whether how her small intestines are (or are not) healing. If her sections of her small intestines start dying because of the trauma from the colic, things may become quite grim.

Payment options, please

Anyone who has dealt with hospitals knows the daunting mixture of needing medical care and the dread of finding out how much it will cost. I found that out today after her surgery was over. (Eep!) Just like with people, before she was taken to the veterinary hospital, I had to notify her insurance agent of Isis’ condition, where we were going, vet’s name and number, and related information.

After Isis was in recovery, I spoke with the vets about the estimate and my payment options. I’m very glad that they are willing to work with clients because the estimated costs are several thousand (considerably more than I have handy). I got home tonight feeling slightly panicked. How am I going to pay for all of this?

My Mom reminded me to read Isis’ insurance policy. If everything goes well, it looks like most of her surgical expenses will be covered — except for any potential complications from laminitis. Because she had laminitis in the past, there is a rider on her policy excluding any coverage for laminitis. So long as her recovery goes smoothly and we don’t have any complications, we’re set.

Of course, next year there will probably be a new rider on her policy excluding coverage for colic.

Bay Wonder Mare in the hospital

Five second summary: Isis had colic surgery today (VERY BAD). I had written a long post about Isis being in the hospital with colic and a slippery-finger mistake caused me to delete the entire entry. It’s too raw to rewrite now.

She was okay at breakfast this moring. The barn manager called me at 9:30 AM, the vet was at the barn about an hour later, and Isis was at the hospital being prepped for emergency surgery by 11:30 or noon. She was out of surgery and in recovery by about 4:30 or so this afternoon. All praises be to close veterinary hospitals.

Isis in the hospital before surgeryOne day she was happy and being her normal playful self. The next she’s lying on her back on the operating table… and you don’t know if she will be there the next day. And this only after a month when she had been showing and doing so well. I’m still in shock…

During the surgery, the vets found a lipoma(1) that had wrapped around Isis’ small intestines. A lipoma is a fatty deposit in her abdomen that, in this case, was suspended from a stalk several inches long. The stalk got twisted around her intestines. On top of that, she part of her large intestine was twisted around, and she had a minor impaction-in-the-making towards her sicum. This type of colic is one of those fluke things that happens. You don’t know when it will strike, or what will happen. It wasn’t caused by any external factors. It was all internal. There was nothing that anyone could have done to prevent this. For being such big, powerful animals, horses are so fragile.

The barn owners were so awesome and supportive. Isis has been boarded at their barn for over eight years. I was one of their first boarders. Isis is like one of their family, just like she is mine. They hauled her in for me and stayed for several hours while we watched her go through tests and surgery.

I’m one of those people who would prefer to watch the surgery instead of waiting some place pacing and not knowing what is going on. As hard as it is to see a horse on her back and her intestines being examined, it’s harder still to be waiting and not knowing. Your imagination has an opportunity to run wild, and that is counter productive, especially when you have to keep your wits about you. I was grateful to the vets for keeping me posted during her surgery and letting me know what they found almost real-time. It was hard to watch, but at the same time, it was a relief to be included in the process.

Keeping focused on getting her care and how she was doing was the only thing that helped me keep my sanity during the day. All I could remember was the last time I’d been on my way to the hospital with a colicky horse. That horse was Isis’ grandmother, Indian Symphony. She died on the recovery table, and left an orphan three-month old chestnut filly (Isis’ dam).

I remembered Symphony’s surgery and the way the small intestines looked grey instead of bright pink. During Isis’ surgery, it was heartening to see that the intestines at least looked pink and had some mobility so they were still functioning. Some of the intestines did look red and aggrevated.

Surgery lasted about four hours. I stayed and watched most of it (except the initial incision, something about that I can’t watch). After she was sutured and closed, she was wheeled into the recovery room. While she was gradually coming around, the anesthesiologist came out and talked to me about her. The two vets who did the surgery also gave me updates. They were all very communicative and helpful. It was comforting and frightening at the same time. They were candid with me, which I appreciated.

They felt that she has a good chance to recover from the surgery (maybe 60%?). One major concern is that she has had laminitis in the past. Any shock or trauma can trigger laminits, as can excess toxins in a horse’s body. The surgery could have both factors. It is possible that she could have some toxicity from the damage caused by the colic. She was given anti-toxin medications as a preventative. Everything that can be done has been done to prevent complications. You just don’t know.

For now, it’s touch and go. I don’t know what will happen. I hope and I pray that my kid will get through this without any problems. Her recovery will be long and hard — 30 days stall rest after she comes home, 30 days small paddock turnout, 30 days pasture rest. It will be much worse than that if she has any complications.


(1) Lipoma: benign fatty tumors that develop on the mesentery around the digestive tract. Some are attached to the mesentery by a very long, narrow stalk. These pedunculated lipomas may entwine around intestine causing a strangulation obstruction. From Terminology Used in Equine Colic, Athletic Animals.