Ever since I brought Dulce home, I felt like I’ve been in a horse race with some sort of invisible issue. He seemed fine. He improved, but something gnawed at my gut. Something was stalking him, and all I could do was stay ahead of it without resolving it. Not my idea of fun.
Whenever a horse has a dull coat and is thin, you worm the horse. Worms are often the culprit. I wormed Dulce a week after he got here and at the end of May. He immediately responded by developing a shiny coat and putting a hundred pounds on. I thought I dotted that “i.”
I went out to catch Chaco to get looked at by the vet. Dulce was standing with him quietly when suddenly he went nuts. He ran hard, he tried to climb a fence, and paw his way through the barn wall. I caught him, and his eyes were wild. I finally got him to look at me, and he slowed down. I suspected a yellow jacket sting since Chaco recently was stung four times and behaved similarly. After searching his entire body, Ifound a sting in his groin area. I iced it and put a poultice of baking soda and tobacco on it. He immediately calmed down and went back to eating with Chaco.
I didn’t like it. I felt that gnawing feeling. I stayed home instead of heading to the vet, because I knew the stalker was lurking around. A few hours later I went out to feed them when I saw it. Dulce kicked at his stomach. Was it a fly? Another kick and another. No. He pawed at the ground, and I ran in with the lead rope and grabbed him before he could go down. I walked him in circles, and his stride shortened and shortened from the pain in his gut. I gave him a dose of banamine, loaded him in the trailer, closed the slant, and he began thrashing. It took every ounce of strength to not fall apart and close up that trailer. I jumped into the truck and hauled the heck out of there. I called my vet as I drove, but nobody answered; after hours. I felt Dulce moving around hard in the trailer, so I aimed for a washboard dirt road. I called my friend Jessica asking her to call the vet, because all I could hear in my head was, “No! No! No! Not again!”
The year anniversary of Shandoka’s death from colic was six days away; I couldn’t go through this again.
I drove over washboard, and Dulce stopped moving around. I headed to the BLM hitting whatever bump I found. I pulled over at the turn around to check on him. I dropped the window finding him calm and breathing normally. We averted the kink or twist or impaction or horrific gas bubble that was hitting him. I closed the window heading back to town. Jessica got a hold of Nikki at another vet clinic and she was waiting for me. I headed straight there behind every slow poke and hitting each light on the way.
By the time we got there his pain level dropped. I walked him in for the examination. What I found out was that his colon was tight and filled with gas. She tubed him, she did a fecal exam, and gave him some more medicine. He relaxed more. Since he has off and on diarrhea, if that doesn’t improve after the five day wormer, she suggested we give him a one time steroid to address possible inflammation of his intestinal tract. A plan, we have a plan.
The fecal exam showed a high number of stronglyles, and she wanted me to put him on Panacur Power Pack for five days, but they didn’t have any in stock. It would be in the next day.
How did he get this high worm count since I wormed him twice? Well, we’ll never know for sure. Since his teeth were never floated on the track, there is a chance he wasn’t wormed regularly. We claimed a couple of horses that had high worm counts due to this. Maybe they did worm him, so then how could it have happened? I know that he was wormed when he went to NTWO and the breeder. My guess is that if he was wormed on the track, when he developed the ulcers in his mouth and lost all the weight, he became the perfect host for a worm explosion. Then I moved him from Kentucky to Colorado inducing stress, creating an even better environment. His hay then changed, and being so different, it probably enhanced the environment for worms. The vet told me that even though he was wormed all of those times, the count was so high, that the over the counter wormers barely had any effect on them. All the previous wormers did was help him maintain. Whatever the cause or reason, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is that now I have to be grateful to a yellow jacket for creating this situation, which brought the stalker out in the open. I’m hoping this is only an acute situation and the colic will not become a chronic issue.
The problem after visiting the vet became getting the Power Pack. For four days I waited. I’m not good at being patient especially when I saw Dulce spiral around the colic drain. I felt like he and I were walking along a cliff trying to not fall off the edge. Every morning I needed to give him banamine. I’ve slept outside by him each night getting up whenever he needed to be walked or showed the beginning signs of distress. After I publish this, I’m heading out to spend another night with my horses, Chewy and the Milky Way.
After a heated discussion with UPS, I finally got the wormer yesterday. He is now on his second of five doses. I’m seeing some improvements already, although we aren’t out of the woods yet. I didn’t have to give him banamine this morning, and for the first time in a couple of weeks, he didn’t roll before he pooped after eating. I’m hoping the gas in his colon is moving out of his system with those worms.
Monday is our last round of the wormer. We’ll see what happens after that.