Friday, May 30, 2008

Panama pulled through!

I just wanted to let everyone know that Panama pulled through and is doing fine now. He definitely appeared colicky, but it passed quickly, so I think the impaction was probably caused by too much gas in his intestines.

Here's the full story, which I didn't have time to write earlier:

The barn's owner, Karen, called me at about 2:15 this afternoon to report that Panama was behaving rather strangely. After about three hours of grazing on the green pasture (a length of time that he's more than used to by now), she had found him lying down in the mud. She got him to stand up, but he still didn't graze much — he just nibbled at it, like a kid playing with his vegetables.

For Panama, not grazing when there's green grass like that nearby is cause enough for concern, but Karen also noticed that he was acting lethargic. He was carrying his head very low and seemed not to have much energy.

When she called me, we decided that perhaps he had gotten overheated in the pasture. Karen took him back to his favorite trough in the back pasture to get a drink, and he did drink a little. Then she put him in his stall, which we agreed would be good to do, in case he was overheated.

In his stall, Panama kept trying to roll, which is strange behavior for him. Karen put his halter and lead rope on and started walking him up and down the driveway on another of the boarder's suggestion — the other boarder lost a horse to colic last winter. Then Karen called me. It was about 2:45, only half an hour since her last call.

When I heard how the situation had progressed, I was instantly concerned. Since I didn't have access to a car today, Karen called another one of the boarders, and she was able to come pick me up.

By the time we got to the barn, Panama was already doing better. He had pooped, and was no longer constantly trying to roll — though he was still doing this really weird move periodically, like his legs were about to give out and cause him to collapse. He was also kicking his stomach with his back legs, and his belly appeared to be a little bloated.

I walked Panama around a little more while Karen tried (and failed) to find the thermometer she keeps at the barn. (I didn't mind too much, as he didn't feel feverish to me, and I really wasn't looking forward to inserting a thermometer into his anus for the very first time.) We also looked for Butte, which can be given to a horse to help him get past a mild colic, but since Panama seemed to be improving I didn't give him that either.

I took Panama out back and lunged him then, as lunging is one of the things you are supposed to do for a colicky horse — the motion and staying on their feet can help them to pass a mild impaction. Panama certainly wasn't acting sick — in fact, he wanted to RUN RUN RUN, and I had to coax him down from a canter several times! I lunged him for about 20 minutes, then took him back inside the barn and put him in the cross ties.

By this point, Panama was acting completely back to normal. I brushed him, and he acted impatient to go graze. To see if he would try to roll, I turned him out briefly into the green pasture with the other horses. He ate but did not roll.

When the other horses all came in for their grain a few minutes later, I left Panama in the back pasture, which is mostly dirt — he had hay in his stall that I needed to clear out, as a horse that has colicked isn't supposed to eat for a few hours after recovering. He clearly knew that it was grain time, and acted very anxious to get into his stall. He kept trying to push through the gate, which was very cute, and whinnying and nickering to me, which was even cuter. I'll post pictures and videos later.

And actually, I have lots to catch up on from this week, so I'll try to do that this weekend. For now, it's enough just to know that Panama is okay!



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