It came from Cerra, my 6 year old QH mare who has had two big colics and one little one and today, thankfully, was another little one. It is a strange time of year for a horse to get a belly ache, but Cerra has always been my little problem child. She and Cheyenne started the day with the usual tiny amount of grain and sunflower seeds which serves only as a distraction while I put out the hay. I had extra cleanup by the box stall and instead of going directly to the hay she hung out at the stall. Not normal. I went in to visit and had my stethescope out immediately to listen for gut sounds. Gurgles. Good. She put her head into my body and just stood there while I stroked her head and said all the right things.
A horse with a belly ache can be a deadly event and I wasn't taking any chances after her previous scares and having lost Beau to an obstructed bowel.
I left her after our cuddle and went into the house and spied on her through the kitchen window. She left the box stall and started nibbling on breakfast while I made our own. We were only slightly done with our eggs when I saw her lying down and slowly looking at her left side--once...and again. The sick feeling in me was now beginning. I told Don I needed to get out to be with Cerra and told him about my suspicion about her and quietly prayed that she wasn't going to be having a vet visit today. Her last colic wasn't resolved until 15 hours had passed, she had a vet visit with a tubing, painkiller shots and constant walking for almost all of those hours.
I was thankful I had replaced my supply of Banamine last month after helping out a friend with the last of my tube. I gave her a dose of the muscle relaxant and hoped it would get straight to work. We started walking up and down the driveway--I gave her a belly message and it seemed to be annoying to her and decided a phenylbutazone dose was necessary for pain. By now she is getting used to me shooting gooky stuff down her throat and was relieved to find I had mixed the bute with molasses.
All of this activity and, quite frankly, all I need to know is if she could poop. Please POOP! We needed to go do some chores and I hit on an idea. If I can't watch her constantly I need to monitor if and when nature does call. I determined I could call on the ultimate fix-it-all to help me. You've got it--duct tape. A carefully placed stripe of duct tape across the area would tell me if she had any activity while I wasn't looking. Don and I did some outside chores and a run to the recycling center and returned to a horse with her duct tape still in place.
It was a nice day, so I decide it might be a good time to walk the "loop" with the girls. Cerra thought I was going to halter her to put more icky stuff into her and decided to head out. Cheyenne was more than willing and eventually Cerra came around to go with us. It was a great day for a walk and while I would have normally ridden the path, it was much more exercise walking through the snow. This was all fun and games but there was no poop--from either of them in the course of our 1.5 mile circle trail.
Fast forward--three HOURS later when the duct tape was finally disturbed. By then she was eating hay, drinking from the fountain, and napping in the sun. I'm so happy she didn't have a big issue of it this time but I still wonder why this is a reoccurring theme with her.