horse impaction colic, cast, pet health
and welfare educational for animal lovers, excerpts from The Glamorous Vets,
Singapore, sponsored by AsiaHomes Internet.
The horse has constipation
"The horse is cast, the horse is cast," shouted the manager, a horseman with over thirty years of experience in horse riding. I had approached him for help after seeing the thoroughbred lying with its belly in the air, hind legs flexed close to the body, front legs on one side against the wall of the rolling box.
The horse had looked at me with fear in its eyes, the whites of the eyes showing more than the pupil. It must have thought that I was a predator coming into the box at past nine in the evening? I did hear a few feeble kicks at the wooden wall of the rolling box - soft sounds likely to be missed by anyone in this isolated area.
It was in a vulnerable position. It was too exhausted. Its neck was clammy with cold sweat. Its ears were cold too as its body divert the blood from the peripheral skin circulation to its essential organs of the heart, lungs and kidneys. Even as I tickled its belly, it just could not respond to get up like a normal horse would have done so. It was in shock and would be dead in the morning. Horses would not survive being upside down for a few hours.
When a horse dies under veterinary treatment, the small veterinarian usually gets the blame. Not a good vet. Lack of experience. That's why the horse died.
Singapore has around one thousand horses in three major clubs. The clubs have their own veterinarians and close their practice to other vets. Therefore, it will be difficult to gain valuable hands on experience. However, I did practise equine medicine and surgery for eight years at a racing club more than ten years ago, but I was now a small animal veterinarian.
This was a horse with colic, a condition of pain due to spasm of its intestines. It was given liquid paraffin oil through the stomach twenty four hours ago, but it was still lying down and standing up. In the rolling box, it was digging the sand with its front paws, a symptom of colic, for the whole evening.
I could see a large depressed sand area very close to the wall. Its back was now trapped in this area. I needed help and the manager was waiting for me to call him. He was careful as the back legs of a horse could kill a man. He took a rope and looped it around the two hind legs. I caught hold of the two front legs and we pulled the horse from one side to the side closer to the centre of the rolling box. Once, it was out of the depressed area, it could stand up.
The neck was still cold although it was a warm evening. A dark bluish night sky with flowery stars. No high rise building could be seen to mar the beauty and tranquility of this stabled area.
Should I give it the intravenous drip to counteract the shock? It would need a large volume. It did not look too weak. I gave it the anti-spasmodic painkillers and an antibiotic.
More helpers arrived. The manager held the nose twitch so that I could insert the stomach tube. The horse resisted. It hated a tube going into its right nostril. A helper grabbed its left ear to prevent it from jerking its head up. The horse lowered its head to the sand level so that I could not insert the tube. I kneeled down to do so. The tube went past its nasal passages and there was an obstruction as it hit the common opening where the airway and gullet open.
I heard the sound of breathing. "Huh, huh, huh, huh". Regular sounds. The manager wanted to hear the sounds. The tube had entered the air way. The horse was in an awkward position and that was why the tube could not pass into the gullet. "Try the left side," the manager suggested. The tube went the same way.
The horse's head was pulled up a bit. I was familiar with the right side of the nostril for stomach tubing. This time, it went into the gullet. The manager wanted to hear the crackling sounds of the stomach. The sounds were like those heard when you crumble a plastic bag. Sharp and musical. The pump was ready. Water was poured into a pail and pumped into the stomach. Oil was then pumped.
"What would happen if the stomach tube was in the airway instead of the stomach?" the manager asked me. "It would be dead now," I said. "The horse would not be able to breathe as its lungs become clogged with water and oil." The horse did not drink after the stomach tubing. It must be quite traumatic. It looked all right. I waited another half an hour. Nothing happened. It was not lying down anymore.
Would this horse recover? Would he be belly up again? A veterinarian's reputation is on the line if the horse dies tomorrow.
|Day 1. 5
p.m. The trainer and manager said that the horse was not well. It
prefers to lay down.
Day 1. 10 p.m visit. Horse was stomach tubed and given paraffin oil.
Day 2. 9 a.m visit. Passed some stools. Keep lying down and standing up. Put to paddock. The manager was worried that it was not recovering.
Day 2 9 p.m. visit.
The horse was belly up and exhausted. A few feeble kicks but the horse could not turn itself to get up
|Day 3. 8 a.m visit. The horse back had been trapped in the depressed area in the sand yesterday and it was too exhausted to turn to get up when seen at 9 p.m yesterday. Human intervention needed to get it upright. It would have died.||Day 3. 8 a.m visit. Multiple foot prints of assistants last night to stomach tube the horse. Horse given three injections in the jugular vein.|
|Day 3 6 p.m visit.
Oil-stools have passed out. Horse no more lying down and standing up.
|Day 3. 6 p.m visit.
Eye conjunctiva back to pinkish colour
|Day 3. 6 p.m visit.
Eye conjunctiva back to pinkish colour. A cut below eye due to rolling and pawing.
|Day 3. 6 p.m visit.
Horse eating and drinking. Seems to be at peace.
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