You may have seen our ‘Vet Bill Special’ recently. This blog is to explain the reason for this!
Each morning my first job for the day is to feed the horses. They get a hard feed morning and night, and when doing so I always do a quick poo count to make sure it’s coming out as well as it goes in.
This particular Sunday morning as I walked out, Angus was laying down. Not hugely unusual, they are very relaxed kids, and do like their ground time. Usually however, when food is approaching, they are instantly up and at the gate. This time Angus wasn’t. He was just a bit slow to get moving. I wasn’t too concerned at this point, I mean I do like a sleep in on Sunday mornings too.
I put feeds out, did a poo count, all horses were eating and there were ample poos, so off I went inside to have my morning coffee. Later in the morning we were outside to do some work on the horse truck. I look over and again notice Angus down, then up then down, instantly I realised he wasn’t ‘right’.
I went to check on him and realised he hadn’t eaten much of his breakfast. I admit I did panic a little bit. Instantly I called the vet. I knew it wasn’t colic as there were poos, but he was flat, very lethargic, and his whole body was quivering. I took his temp, and while it was slightly elevated, it wasn’t excessive.
Vet was an hour away, so I took Angus out of the yard and got him to walk a bit. My 10yo son has a special bond with Angus, so I called him out to come and comfort him. At this point I thought Angus was a goner (perhaps I was over reacting a bit) but he really did look so terrible. Patrick was in tears, and I did warn him that it might be his time.
We tried offering Angus some lucerne. Usually they can’t resist, but he just wasn’t interested. We gave him a bucket of molasses water, and he had a couple of sips. Then he laid down again.
The wait for the vet, even though it wasn’t really that long, seemed to drag on for ever. Angus had a couple more sips of molasses water, then stood up and started picking at grass.
Then the second guessing started. ‘Should I get the vet?’ It’s not colic, he won’t need a drench, am I over reacting. Can I really afford this vet bill when he’s probably fine. Fortunately I was able to call an experienced friend who talked me through understanding my own decision.
By the time the vet arrived, he had stopped shaking. His temp had climbed a little bit more, but he wasn’t looking as terrible.
The vet was totally understanding to me being a blithering idiot, rambling about his entire medical history (read the sand blog and you may understand why)- basically this isn’t the first time Angus has had us very worried, but every other time (but one) has been colic related.
Angus’s vitals were all in acceptable range, and the vet agreed that it wasn’t a colic that we were dealing with. He suggested that it is most likely a virus, as there have been some horse viruses going around. This is the most reasonable explanation, however our other horses have shown no signs of it.
He prescribed antibiotics- while ineffective against a virus, if there was something else going on, they would help, and wouldn’t hurt if there wasn’t. Also bute morning and night while he was not right. He took bloods to test, in case there was no improvement.
For the rest of Sunday I made sure to keep a VERY close eye on Angus, and offer 4 hourly mushy feeds, poo checks and temperature checks (even my 10yo son knows how to stick the thermometer up a horses bum these days). He was still flat, but perked up every time he had a drink of molasses water.
Sunday evening, still stressing about Angus, and vet bill, I put out the ‘vet bill special’ on socials, offering our ‘wine tour for 7, usually $650 for $500, but it needed to be paid upfront, and purchasers take the tour during winter. This was very well received and has definitely taken the financial pressure off of my decision to call the vet!
Monday lunch time I had to replace the round bale in their yard, so let clydies and delinquents out. Off they trotted, up the hill and away. Once round was replaced, I called, they hooned down to yards. Angus has seemed fine since! We finished his course of antibiotics, but there has been no sign of whatever was troubling him.
In true form, my overthinking kicks in. Was I wrong to offer vet special, given how speedily he recovered. If I announce he is fine, is it going to look like the vet special was shonky. (Seriously sometimes I get angry with myself… I mean, the purchasers are still having their discount tour)..
As for Angus, he seems fine. Hesitantly I did a job with him and Henry on the following Tuesday- it was a very easy one, and he was monitored carefully. He then had a fortnight to recover. We are going to do some more investigations. I think he does unusual wees. They are short and frequent, and usually horses do less wees but longer, so I will be taking him in for scans on his kidneys/urinary tract. Whether that has anything to do with his ‘episode’ I don’t know, but I would like to rule it out.
If I get any conclusive answers, I will most definitely share it with you in another blog.