Friday, February 24, 2012

Cabbage Patch Kidz

Just when I thought (again) about possibly shutting down my blog due to a lack of activity, an unwelcome adventure ensued. Although great blog fodder, I could have done without the entire incident.

The weather has been seasonable and pleasant, but temps dropped sharply and the wind picked up Thursday (2/23/2012) afternoon/evening. I got a call from Heather telling me Jaz was off and, oh yeah, there are two other horses in the same paddock – Doodles and Poko – with the same symptoms. Heather said she’d keep an eye on them and keep me posted. Not 5 minutes later, I got the call that they were all showing symptoms of colic.

Jaz has earned his moniker “our delicate grey flower,” so I wasn’t particularly surprised or concerned that he was off, although he has been much hardier since we treated him for strongyles infestation (2009). Doodles has severe ulcers, so no big shock there either. What sent my brain into alert mode was that Poko was also in distress. Poko has a cast iron constitution. In the entire 5 years I owned him, he never cost me a dime at the vet other than annual exams and teeth floating.

My immediate thought was they ate something they shouldn’t have. Poko will eat anything. Jae walked the fence line and, sure enough, found cabbage leaves, of all things. We don’t think it was malicious; probably the kids across the road intending to give them a treat. Regardless of the intent, the damage was done. Heather and Jae used longe whips to get all the horses in that paddock moving. In addition to the three patients, there was Diesel (OTTB), Red (American Cream Draft colt), and my Daltrey. I was still on the other end of the phone line, so I can only go by what I was told, which was that it took more than a little effort to keep those poor boys vertical and moving. They said Jaz was moaning loudly.

Poko was drenched in sweat and appeared to be in the most critical state, followed by Jaz, then Doodles. It makes sense since that is the order of dominance, meaning Poko probably ate most of the “treat.” Due to a rash of routine equine emergencies (inevitable when you have 30 head), Heather found herself out of drugs after dosing Poko. He and Doodles began to calm down and show signs of lessening discomfort, but they were still unable to keep Jaz on his feet. Heather wisely decided to call Dr. G, and I got dressed and gathered my stuff to join them.

God bless our vet. He’s such a good guy. It was after hours and he suggested we might avoid a farm call by having me go by the clinic (which is on the way to the farm) and pick up a hidden cache of Banamine. We were to inject Jaz, watch him awhile, check vitals, etc., and decide from there whether we needed Dr. G to come and tube him.

I barely recognized my horse. Had I not known it was him, I would have sworn it was a mare in labor. He had no top line, that’s how bloated he was. He was down in his stall and we had to force him up. About 45 minutes after the injection, Dr. G called just as Jaz released an enormous fart, some loose poo and a sigh. He remained up and even began nosing his bedding. We felt confident he’d be okay, although Heather and I sat around in the barn a bit longer just to be sure. I was having a beer at home when all this started, so had tossed a couple in my truck, which we enjoyed as we kept our vigil. She and Jae checked him hourly through the night.

Reports Friday were that Poko and Doodles are fine. Jaz is eating, but not with much gusto. I’m hopeful he’ll be okay for our pony party on Sunday. Heather’s going to try and track down the well-meaning party so we don’t have a repeat of this adventure. Horses + cruciferous vegetables es no bueno.


Anonymous said...

Cabbage + horses = bad news. Glad everyone is feeling a bit better!

Jeni said...

So glad it all ended well for everyone involved.

Dreaming said...

What a scary situation. I never realized cabbage was bad for horses.... how strange that there were cabbage leaves in the paddock (pasture?). That's pretty scary.
Glad the problems have all seemed to have been overcome.

RoSe said...

Good grief, cabbage...who knew such a green could cause such problems, so glad all is OK.

Crystal said...

So scary! Had no idea till yesterday horses couldnt have cabbage.

cdncowgirl said...

Well I'm glad you're still blogging but holy moley what a way to get inspired!

Sure hope Heather can get the word out, I'm sure it was well meaning but the outcome could have been so much worse.

aurora said...

How quickly things can change...glad everyone is a-okay! I've had a slow activity start to the blog year as well, from all perspectives. Not sure why, other then it is what it is.

the7msn said...

What's not to love about a vet who keeps a hidden cache of banamine?

lytha said...

i had no idea cabbage was poisonous.

it's so scary that we cannot control what strangers hand over a fenceline.

tonight we were hiking and came to the haflinger farm that has big lengthy warning signs on their fences, giving all the reasons people should not give treats to the horses. on the list was "horses get cavities from too many treats." WTH!? no really? come on, they made that one up! (tell me if i'm wrong)

also they say, very nicely, at the bottom of the signs, "if you realy would like to give the horses some treats, please come to the barn and we'll dole it out in appropriate amounts as a reward for a job well done"

very nice signs (but what's with the cavities!).

makes me want to put up signs but the neighbors around here are all horse saavy - most germans are cuz horses are such a part of the culture.

the only time this has happened was when i discovered a pile of carrots on my fenceline. that was nice!

i'm so sorry that jaz and poco were so ill. i cannot imagine baasha colicking - he never has. i'd be beside myself. so glad you have a good vet.

Kitty said...

It is so hard to watch sick horses! Glad he is feeling better!

Rising Rainbow said...

I didn't know that cabbage was bad for horses either but I think it's good that there was evidence to tell what the problem was. Also, I'm like Carson and think it's pretty cool your vet has a cache for such emergencies.

Hope by now his eating is back where it belongs and that future inspiration comes from good stuff. Nobody needs this kind of drama.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Whew! I'm glad they all pulled through!


Desert Rose said..., I also did not know cabbage was so distresful to equines!!! Love the idea of the signs!
You know...I also think about not blogging anymore...but for those of us who have followed you for YEARS and will read your blog anytime you post....please don't stop sharing your horses/your story with us!

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