Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Ides of March

It has not been a good horse month. Last night, my barn lost their prized mare. She had delivered a beautiful filly less than 24 hours before she died and both were bright and doing well. 

We had been hanging around watching mom and baby for close to 2 hours just enjoying the antics of the little one and taking some care of her. 

Filly sleeping standing up. 
In case some of you guys can hear the voices - that's the barn/filly owner asking if I want to "wrassle" a baby and I respond "hell ya." I do not want anyone to misinterpret! She was talking about having me hold the filly while she applied some vaseline to her anus and underside of tail. I was really excited to get to hold the baby so close.

The mare went from looking amazing, to showing discomfort, to dead, in about 30 minutes. There was nothing wrong with her reproductive organs at all, so Dr. B thinks it was likely an aortic rupture or blood clot. I was consumed with trying to help without being in the way. Mostly I took the hard task of telling people as they arrived so the barn owners wouldn’t have to.  Then I assisted while they tried to get the filly to nurse from a bottle. 

That mare was the heart of the farm. 

This comes only 2 weeks after they lost a 3 year old mare to guttural pouch mycosis. Another horrible, fast, and tragic death.  The only positive is that, in these cases, neither could be predicted and neither mare would have suffered.

That brings me to my mystery gelding. Dr. B was out to see him on Sunday. I carefully described all of the behaviours that started up after he was out to see Willy in February. His mouth is fine, so the bit issue seems resolved and Dr.B wonders if wasn’t a metal allergy as he thought but perhaps a symptom of something else (given the new behaviours not present at the time). His sinuses sound clear and there are no other clinical signs to suggest what the problem is. I was assured that everything I describe is a clear pain response. He mentioned several times the possibility of a mass in his brain - I think he was preparing me.  For now, I wait for the results of his blood work (should be today). If nothing unusual shows up there he will be heading to the clinic for a few days to have a head x-ray and scope. I also want to get the chiropractor out but I think it’s better to get the vetting done first. 

*Update. Blood results show nothing abnormal so Willy will be going to the clinic for further soon as I can bare to mention it to two owners who have been up for days with foaling and then trying to feed an orphan filly...

For now, we can watch bits of our first-ever free-lunging session. He was pretty super, in my opinion. I was not so good with camera handling as I was (legitimately) more concerned about properly lunging him. *Dizziness warning - there are a few moments of potentially nausea inducing camera tilts. Sorry!




HorseOfCourse said...

I sincerely hope that you manage to solve the headshakes. Has been some discussions over here about photo sensitivity and neurological causes.

Jason said...

Ides indeed.

It's easy to feel for the BO in this case. We've sure been down the road of unexpected death a number of times and it doesn't get easier just because it's somewhat familiar.

Hope the month turns around for both the barn owner and, of course, for you and Willy too.

Once Upon an Equine said...

I'm so sorry about the mare. What a sad thing. What will they do with the orphaned foal?

Laura said...

I've been thinking about all these things since you told me... :-( I hope arrangements have been worked out for the foal...poor little thing.

I hope you can find some answers to Will's headshaking. What an awful thing for you to have to go through.

RuckusButt said...

HoC, some of the behaviours definitely make me think of neurological issues. No difference whether it's night or day though.

Jason - it sure is easy to feel for them. The next mare to foal also had complications and ended up being shipped with foal to St. Hye. Fortunately she is doing well now.

The orphan is doing very well and drinking her foal-lac like a champion (she hoovers it out of a bucket, would have nothing to do with a bottle). They have tried 2 different nurse mares and the one they got today seems to be working out great - an older Clyde mare :) Honestly, I don't even feel too sorry for her anymore - she clearly isn't feeling sorry for herself! The biggest concern right now is not turning her into a brat with all the human contact!