Over the past 24 hours, we have learned more than we ever wanted to know about colic. The most important lesson is, I never want my horses to experience this again.
I have heard and read stories of equine colic from friends and acquaintances, and many times the ending is heartbreaking. I consider us very fortunate that, at least as of this time today, our story has a happy ending.
It began yesterday during my daily evening rounds to feed and check on the animals. While caring for the boys in the buck pen, Shiloh came eagerly walking up to the fence that was between us. It is normal for him and Freckles to greet me any time I'm in the pasture, usually hoping for a treat or at the very least a pat and a hug. This time, however, Shiloh was alone. These two are never apart by choice, and complain bitterly if they are forced. I quickly jumped in the gator and drove down the pasture calling for Freckles, Shiloh flew past me. .
There she was, lying in a shady area near a brush pile. The dirt under her was flattened as if she had been there for a while. She saw me and struggled to her feet. At that moment I wasn't sure what was wrong, but I knew it was definitely something out of the ordinary.
She followed Shiloh, trotting back to the open pasture where John was working in the garden. I told him that something was wrong with Freckles, When we both turned to look at her, she had laid down in the middle of the field and was rolling back and forth on her back.
My first thought was, Freckles has colic. We stood her up and noticed her abdomen was distended and very firm. She was in obvious pain. I did the only thing any modern farmer would do and googled 'horse colic.' The symptoms were classic.
We both agreed it was time to call the vet. John grabbed her halter and started walking her. One hour later, I was meeting Dr. Walker and family and driving them up the hill.
He examined her, and treated her with medications, educating us all the while. The next few hours would be up to us to monitor her, and call him if needed.
By this time, it was 9:30 pm.
Connor came to help us build a coral in the pasture to keep the horses from wandering away during the night. Freckles was exhausted. Her skin was cool and clammy, and her eyes glassy, still drunk from the pain medication. We continued to walk her and keep her on her feet.
At around eleven she was standing. We decided to get cleaned up and I would go back to check on her at midnight.
She was sitting on the ground with her head up, but not rolling. I coaxed her up and walked her for a while. Seeming status quo, i went back down the hill.
Two hours later, I was back with her. This time she seemed to be in pain again, wanting to roll. I forced her up and administered another dose of pain medication, this time orally.
I could not leave her side. We walked slowly back and forth, she was weak and panting, begging to lay down. Each time I stopped her. This went on for more than two hours. Finally, she laid down and would not get up. Her head was up, so I stood, bracing my body against her neck reminding her not to roll. If at any time I walked away, she tried to stretch out. I sat beside her and held her head up, talking to her and begging her to stay, Shiloh needs her. I thought I was going to lose her. Her breath was shallow, and she could barely hold up her head. I could feel myself getting weary,
Just in time,(5 am) John called my cell. "I'm coming. Get her up" he said. She finally stood up for me, and we walked again, for three more hours. As the sun came up, she seemed to gain energy and her stomach was gurgling. By 9 am, she was licking salt and drinking water and finally - Poop!
I'ml not confident its over, but things are definitely improving.
Special thanks to Dr. Walker and the Equine Center for his compassionate care.
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My name is Christy Franklin.