Thursday, April 17, 2008

That Time of Year

Silk isn’t feeling good. She didn’t drink her water last night. The temperature outdoors is going up and down and up like a yo-yo. My horse’s temperature is normal. She’s leaving mushy cowpies in the corral, not her usual nuggets. Now, her belly is itchy like it was last fall when the black flies were so bad. Fortunately, I washed her underside while it was in the 70’s this afternoon. She’s dry and seems happier. Her appetite is okay, and I gave her some Fiberpsyll (made by Select). It has psyllium, wheat bran and beet pulp which usually gets her back to normal pretty quickly.

My big fear is that we will have a replay of last Spring’s nightmare. Around this time of year, I came out to feed dinner to the horses, and Silk refused to eat. I was rushing to pick up my husband at the airport, so I had to leave her for several nervous hours. When I got back, things weren’t any better so I called the vet. Our favorite doctor was at a horse show. I spoke to the vet on-duty, and we began treating her like it might be colic. The next morning, she wasn’t feeling any better, so he came out and “tubed” her. Her temperature was a bit high, and she was really listless. For another day, we struggled along with a slight improvement.

On Day 3, I had a meeting about an hour away from our house. My husband was home, and he kept checking on Silk. As I was driving home, he called me to say that she really didn’t look good. I raced back, took her temperature and was horrified to find it was 104 degrees. I frantically called the vet again and began walking her, still thinking colic. Luckily, the preferred doctor was back. and she drove here at breakneck speed while I shoved Banamine into my poor horse. Silk appeared to be going into shock.

She went down on the ground, with a look in her eyes like she was going to leave me. Somehow, I got her to stand up and I just kept walking her in the blazing hot sun, even though it was the last thing in the world that either of us wanted to do. I begged her to hang on. I could see how she was suffering, and I kept reminding her of several other times that she had been hurt and I had made it better. I promised her that if she would just stay with me, help was on the way. My husband hovered around us, while we trudged in a circle, and I prayed. It was really terrifying. About ten endless minutes later, the vet came tearing into my driveway.

The doctor took one look at Silk and said, “She’s been bit by an Ehrlichia tick.” A what??? She gave her a huge dose of Tetracycline and explained to me that this evil bug was a mutant of the Lyme tick. She showed me that the whites of Silk’s eyes were yellowish, and coupled with the symptoms that mimicked colic and the high temperature, it was a good indication of what was wrong. We started a month-long treatment of anti-biotics, and within two days, Silk was feeling better. I felt so fortunate to have a smart vet who knew about this new tick and cared about us enough to drive 90 mph to get here.

So, tonight, I’ve done a “tick check”, and I’m being a vigilant mom. Silk drank some water and I’ll check on her again in a little while. At least this year, I know what to look for and I’ve got my vet’s home number. Hopefully, I won’t have to use it.


Pony Girl said...

Victoria, I hope Silk is okay! You are a good horse mommy and you know your horses normal behavior patterns so well, that helps in times like these. I worry incessantly about My Boy getting colic, yet despite all the preventives we do, there are some things out of our control. Keep us posted!!

Cassi said...

oh my what a scare!!! so glad she is on the mend!!! that is an amazing vet!!!

billie said...

Sending good thoughts for Silk.

The local feed store is getting guinea keets on April 23 and I am still trying to decide if I can handle taking care of them for 6 months until they're big enough to be independent.

Meanwhile, like you, I'm doing tick checks and using DE in the spots on the horses where the ticks like to attach.

Grey Horse Matters said...

I hope she feels better by the morning and it's not a tick born situation again. Maybe it is just the sudden change in weather we have been seeing in the past few days and she is not used to it yet. Or something simple like that. Keep us updated on how she is doing.

detroit dog said...

Very scary. I do hope that she'll be fine; you obviously do your best to take care of your girls - they couldn't ask for better. And that's a wonderful vet you have. It's going to be a tough couple of days for you. Best wishes....

the7msn said...

My stomach is in knots for you and all of us here are sending you virtual hugs. Keep us posted on her progress.

Fiberpsyll is a great product - I use it too. All the boys get it 5 days a month to move any sand out of their guts. And I keep a product on hand called Fastrack, by Conklin. Vets carry it and you can also get it on the Valley Vet website. It's a probiotic that helps get the gut back to normal in times of stress or feed changes. And it's easier to feed than yogurt after they've been on antibiotics for awhile.

Janet Roper said...

Ugh - I was holding my breath the entire time I read the post. You're a good mom and your ponies are lucky to have you! Shiloh and I are thinking of you.
Janet Roper