Thursday, March 03, 2005

Colic is the number one killer of horses. But it looks like it didn't manage to do old Emma in... Whew! I do not know how I would have told my little niece, Aly, that her beloved pony was no more. But wow, what a gruelling and hideous couple of days it has been.

We checked on the horses at about 11pm on Tuesday night, after a late shift at the bookstore, and found Emma (THE most adorable Section A Welsh Pony on the planet) in some serious discomfort - rolling in her paddock, drenched from nose to tail, completely not interested in even thinking about food (not at all like her...)

It was pretty obvious this was a classic case of colic. Called the vet who came out and gave her a shot of pain killers and then Dani and I stayed up all night, alternately walking her and letting her rest. By 3AM the painkiller seemed to be wearing off and we had a phone consultation with the vet... continued the walk-rest routine all night. At 8AM the vet was back with another shot of painkillers and, since there hadn't been even a morsel of manure all night, the decision to do a stomach tube procedure. However, he only had horse-sized tubes and his partner is more the colic specialist, so we had to wait another four hours until the second vet could arrive.

Poor Emma! After sticking a tube down her throat he let the excess air bubble out before pumping her full of mineral oil and water. If she felt gross before, she certainly felt rotten after that. More painkillers and an endless cycle of walking her for fifteen minutes and then letting her rest. We tried to tempt her with a little grass - nothing. Poor thing was totally depressed, her head hanging down (not a good thing as she was so backed up that the mineral oil mixture would start to dribble out her nose...).

Dani and I set up camp again, this time with one proper bed in the tack room (the night before we had a pile of blankets in her stall and switched back and forth every fifteen minutes) and a corner with blankets in Emma's stall so at least one of us would be comfortable during our sleep phases. Since the vet said the process of clearing the impaction could last anywhere from a few hours to several days (!!!!), we settled in for the long haul with longer shifts on duty and sleeping.

Finally, at about 1AM, a dribble of liquid manure!!!! Then, another squirt and Emma took a bit of hay. Then, a gushing splurt (sorry so graphic, but why wouldn't I share?) and she had a drink. After that, every fifteen minutes she pooped a little more and ate and drank a little more. She has continued to improve all night and now (it's just after lunch), she is resting in her stall, a pile of respectable-if-still-a-bit-soft manure beside her. So, we hope the worst is over! We've come back to the house more than ready for showers and a hot breakfast and a pile of stinking blankets to wash. After a couple of nights like that I really have to wonder why I persist with this animal-keeping business. Needless to say, this is why emails and phonecalls have gone unanswered, work has been left undone.