I guess I'm the one who gets to break the bad news. When I left a lodge full of people (literally, 26 of us!) this morning to go feed, I knew something was wrong. GunDiva's horse wouldn't come when called. I put feed in the others' bowls and called Estes again. This time she came over very slowly and stuck her nose in the bowl, then gave me a pathetic look, "I just can't eat right now." Oh-oh.
"So, Estes, what's wrong?" To this she walked over to a soft spot, laid down and curled herself into a ball.
I hop through the fence, grabbing a piece of twine on the way. "Come on, girl, let's walk!" A few times around the corral and I started hearing gut sounds. Another half dozen times around and she laid down and stretched this time. More walking, a few 'Hershey's squirts' and I thought we were making progress. She appeared much better, followed me around a few more times, voluntarily with some little trots, then headed for her bowl. I wasn't much worried as I had seen Jesse clean it out. I was just glad to see her show interest.
I headed back to the lodge to help with dishes, then back out to check. Good gut sounds, good look in her eye, gentle tail swishing, so I thought we had beat it this time. Back to the lodge to start changing rooms.
Phone rings: Compass calling to say Estes is down-and not looking good. Back out to the corral. This time it was pretty apparent we needed to do more. Had to struggle to get her up, walking, walking, walking. Wrangler helping take turns to keep her on her feet. Notice what she is passing is full of sand. Call GunDiva, call the vet - both of whom are on their way up in a rush. Decide to do an IV Banamine and keep her moving. I found myself talking under my breath; more chanting, really, "You will NOT die on my shift. Keep moving!"
Bless her heart; she kept pace with all of us and did keep moving. Once she did go down and got her feet tangled in the rails when she rolled, but we were able to keep her from casting and got her moving again. Once the Banamine started taking effect, she started moving a little easier. GunDiva and the vet showed up a few minutes apart. Poor Estes got tubed and lubed; new experiences for all of us. She was an absolute jewel through all of this.
Five hours later. Now she seems to be resting. Vet says we are not out of this yet; it will take about a week to get all the sand out of her system and we will probably see more colic. We've put mats down under the feeders and will start psyllium treatments tomorrow. Bill just came back from checking and said she has minimal gut sounds. We are just waiting for the orange Metamucil to do its job; the vet would actually like her to lie down and rest. We worked so hard keeping her up, I think she's afraid to lie down now. Looking around the corral, I think she pooped out a good deal of the sand before we even noticed this morning, as the vet just got some sandy stuff and some good looking stuff, too. Hoping that's a good sign.
GunDiva is staying the night, on vigil. Estes's to have another shot of Banamine in a couple of hours.
I asked the vet why only Estes is having problems, as all the horses eat together and the same stuff. He believes Mustangs tend to move sand through their systems better (gut of iron, he says) and they tend to NOT snuff up ground as they eat. No matter; they are all getting treated this week! I'm thinking this could be part of the reason Jesse gets touchy around the loins and rather grouchy at this time of year - every year. Then she has a couple loose movements and she's all better. Hmmmm?
We are always learning with horses.