Saturday, May 16, 2015

Copper, Copper, Copper

This morning we were woken up by a banging that we've never heard before.  I rolled out of bed to look out the window and saw Copper with his front leg in the rubber trough banging it around.  I climbed back in bed, looked at Jay and said, "this time it's your horse".  Usually it's Skeeter who is the trouble-maker, but Copper does have an odd sense of humor sometimes.  We eventually got out of bed and fed, but Copper was off his feed a bit.  He'd take a few bites, then go lay down and stretch out. 

After a few moments, he'd get back up, paw the ground, eat a few bites, lay down and stretch out.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  I wasn't entirely sure he was colicking, but I knew he wasn't feeling well.  He had good gut sounds and wasn't kicking at his belly or even trying to roll, but he just wasn't right.

Just to be on the safe side, I wanted to give him some banamine, but couldn't find any.  What I thought was banamine was bute, so I called my neighbor to see if she had any.  Luckily, she did and was willing to give me some.

Copper was pretty good about letting me shoot it in his mouth and started feeling better pretty quickly, so I thought that if it was colic, we'd caught it pretty early. I headed into town to do some errands, and about half an hour before I was about to head home I got a text from L.E. saying that Copper was laying down, but she got him back up and moving.  That's when I decided it was time to consider a vet.

I called Mom, who called her (our) vet while I was driving home.  Because the ultimate plan is to have the horses up the hill, I hadn't gotten around to finding a new one.  Our vet doesn't practice this far north, so he gave me the name of the vet he'd done his internship with, so I called that vet when I got home.  Unfortunately, the second vet was unavailable, but was willing to refer me to a third vet.

Copper didn't look horrible when I got home, but he didn't look great either and I was wavering on whether or not to have a vet come out.  I watched him for a bit and when he started wanting to roll and kick, I decided to bite the bullet and call the third vet.

And the third vet referred me to a fourth vet, because he was off to another emergency, but told me that if the fourth vet couldn't make it out, he'd be willing to come by.  Holy cow, I was getting dizzy with the run-around.  The fourth vet was out of town, so back to the third vet.  He told me to start walking Copper and he'd be over as soon as he was done with his office emergency.

Of course, the minute I start walking Copper, he started looking better.  Jerk.  It did give us some bonding time, I suppose.  I don't handle him often, other than a few minutes here and there, so walking laps around the pen was good for both of us. 

The vet wasn't exactly thrilled when he found out Copper was a mustang and (mostly) joking said that if he'd known that he wouldn't have taken the call.  You know, a mustang is just a horse.  Each horse has a different personality; some are angels, some are assholes.  Lucky for the vet, it was the angel, not the asshole, was the one who wasn't feeling well.

I wasn't sure how he'd do with being handled by someone he'd never met before, and I didn't know how he'd react to all the "stuff" that goes along with colic treatment.  He was unbelievably good.  It took some time to get the tube down his throat, but he was never mean or panicky, he just didn't get it.  Eventually, he figured out to swallow instead of cough and down the tube went.  After an initial step back or two, he stood still and let the vet pump in the water and mineral oil.  He breathed a sign of relief when the vet took the tube out, but was still pretty calm.  He took both IV injections like a pro, with just a flick of the ear. 

It came time for the palpation exam and Copper said, "no thank you".  He was polite about it, but he said nope and meant it.  The vet said that he could feel some feces, but was certain that Copper would be passing it soon.  Because the vet was so uncomfortable being on the south end of Copper, and was still convinced that Copper was going to kick the tar out of him*, I didn't have him push the issue.  I told him that if he felt he didn't need to palpate, then it was no big deal to skip that part of the exam.

I couldn't be more proud of how Copper did with a stranger poking and prodding him.  He was so amazing, like a dead broke horse.  And then it was time to go back into the pen.  That was one giant NOPE.  It took us longer to convince him to go back in the pen than the whole of his treatment.  Jerk.

Jay and I just got back in from checking on him and he's looking a lot better.  He was never as sick as Estes, but I'm fairly certain I am suffering from colic PTSD thanks to her.  It's such a fine line with colic - can it be treated without the vet and resolve, or is the horse going to go south quickly?  Ugh.  I hate it.  I'm sure I made the right decision in calling the vet out and having him treat Copper, but it was a tough decision to make since he wasn't nearly as sick as Estes - there were no clear-cut signs of colic.

I don't work tomorrow, so I'll get to stay home and keep an eye on him to make sure he's out of the woods for real.

*I did tell the vet that Copper has never offered a kick; he's an evader, not a kicker.  If he doesn't want to do something, he'll just go away.  Sometimes going away involves rearing and spinning, but I was ready for that.


Allenspark Lodge said...

Good stuff. Think of the money spent as having another trainer work on the horse. Doing really mean $#!T to him. I'm sure they BOTH learned a lot.

Momma Fargo said...

So glad he is better. Colic sucks. I hate it. It stresses me so. Not to mention the poor horsey.