Jaz colicked on Wednesday, October 28. I took him to my regular vet (Dr. G), they tubed him, and I took him to Heather's. He improved, and I brought him home on Saturday, November 7. Sunday, November 8, he did it again. I couldn't get hold of a vet less than 30 miles away. I took him back to Heather's, where they loaded him up with Banamine. As soon as it wore off, he started again, and a local vet was called (Dr. H). He said it was gas colic, gave him meds for it. Heather said he acted off the whole week following. All these times, it never got to the point of wild thrashing, rolling, or kicking his belly. We'd give him Banamine, he'd poop, and in a short while, he was ready to eat again.
foreshadow |fôr'•sh•adō| verb [ trans. ]
be a warning or indication of (a future event) : it foreshadowed my preoccupation with jazz.
I found it funny that the dictionary example mentioned jazz. I didn't make that up.
I visited him at Heather's on Sunday, November 15, and he was down again. It was no different from the other incidents. By this time, we all agreed something else had to be going on. I pointed out a tender spot on his offside flank to Heather. I noticed he'd been goosier than normal the last few times I rode him, but when I mentioned it to the vets, they all said it was probably unrelated.
I made an appointment for Monday, November 16 at a huge clinic called Performance Equine Associates. Of course, Jaz seemed fine. Bloodwork and vitals were normal. We showed Dr. E the goosey spot before they doped him up, but he, too, said it was unrelated. Dr. E found nothing abnormal in the initial stages of the rectal exam. When he was in up to his shoulder — Jaz was so stoned he didn't bat an eye — he thought he felt a tumor. The ultrasound showed something entirely different: a bulging spot in an artery with a honeycomb pattern of damage.
Strongylus vulgaris in the cranial mesenteric artery — blood worms. The artery is just below that goosey spot on Jaz's back. He doesn't drink enough when it gets cooler, which makes the poo hard, which puts pressure on that area when he tries to pass it. When he's able to poop, relief.
Normal diet. He got tubed with 275 ml of Panacur, and Heather has to take him back the next two days to do it again. 1 gram Bute per day. They will ultrasound again after 30 days of stall/pen rest. Two weeks after the last dose of Panacur, 400 kg dose Quest.
Unusual signs, like numbness or other neurological anomalies, which are indications a clot has dislodged. Dr. E was optimistic, but made it clear we could still lose him.
Where we are now:
Heather says Jaz is already feeling better. This afternoon will be the final mega dose of Panacur at the vet.
My continuing lesson:
All equine professionals have their own idea of how things should be done and what's right/best for horses.
• I followed Dr. G's worming instructions to the letter: daily wormer and Ivermectin in April and October. Dr. E says strongyles are making a comeback because they have become resistant to the limited array of drugs currently available. He gave me an elaborate rotational worming schedule developed for this climate.
• Dr. E asked me when Jaz's teeth were floated last. Not since I've had him. I ask Dr. G every time he sees my horses if they need it. He always checks their teeth. Poco has had his done once since I got him, but Dr. G has said both Boyz are fine. Dr. E says all horses should have their teeth floated once a year, some even twice a year. He did, however, say Jaz's teeth look fine, so go figure.
I started down the primrose path of guilt, but aborted the trip when I remembered: all you can do is the best you can do. This did not happen because of my neglect or irresponsibility. Now I know things I didn't know before. Will I change vets? No. Dr. G is actually a great vet who has more than satisfactorily cared for all our animals for 10 years. I made him a copy of all the paperwork from Dr. E and sent him a letter detailing everything that happened since he last saw Jaz. He'll call me and we'll talk about it. Do I now have a list of 5-6 vets to call if he's not available (instead of just 1)? You betcha.
But why not switch to Dr. E? It's 2 miles from Heather but more than 20 from here. Performance is a center specializing in reproduction and severe trauma cases. It's extremely expen$ive. Would I use them again if I felt it was warranted? Absolutely.
The adventure was not without it's comic moment. Jaz is famously goosey about his tail, butt, and boy parts. When I try to clean that boy's sheath, he sucks it up so tight you can be in up past your elbow and not reach it. When Dr. E was done and writing up the diagnosis, I grabbed a handful of wet paper towels and cleaned that thing like it's never been cleaned. It's an ill wind indeed that blows no good.
Thank you all for the good wishes for my little man.
Any many, many thanks to Heather, Jason, Nita, and Jim for nursing Jaz. You guys are the BEST. I see homemade pies in your future...