Ufta, 2021 was a YEAR! A lot of good, but it didn’t end well.
Jaguar colicked again the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Thankfully it turned out ok, but still required a night at the vet’s facility. And frustratingly, I think it very easily could have been prevented.
Boot City got me a truckload of sand for my arena for Christmas (YAY!) and the day the sand and a car part were delivered the horses were exceptionally frisky. To get them out of the way of the truck at the last minute I threw out a small flake of hay as a distraction. It wasn’t until the truck was driving away that I realized I had put hay out and Jaguar was turned out. He’s been off hay since he colicked in January 2021 when we determined he can no longer eat hay. I watched him for a minute and he seemed to have no interest in the hay so I didn’t think about it again until that afternoon when he wanted into the barn. I fed him some soaked cubes because it was only 3p and he usually goes in at 5p. I came back to feed and put the other horses in the barn around 5p and he was noticeably uncomfortable. By the time I finished feeding he wasn’t eating, was restless and pawing. Of course this was the same evening a few friends were coming over.
I called my vet’s office and spoke to the on-call veterinarian who advised giving him banamine then watching to see how he acted after an hour. My friends arrived just after I administered the banamine and we had a lovely chat for about an hour when I looked out the window to see him in his stall run rolling, not a good sign. I had already asked Boot City to hook up the trailer, just in case, so I called the clinic to let them know he hadn’t improved and that we were on our way. My friends left graciously, understanding the situation and we got the old man loaded into the trailer uneventfully.
We arrived at the clinic around 6p (thankfully it was an early arrival, usually this happens at zero dark thirty and no one gets any sleep) we unloaded and headed into the treatment area. The on-call veterinarian got him sedated and talked us through her plan of the usual tubing, fluids, etc. Due to his age he is not a surgery candidate so I made sure we had similar expectations for his treatment options should things go poorly. She let me know that she’d follow up with me later in the night, but no news is good news. I got a text around 9:30 or 10p that he was comfortable and seemed to be OK.
Jaguar and Simon already had dentals scheduled for the next morning, so I headed back to the clinic bright and early with Simon. By the time we got there Jaguar was done with his appointment! He had even been a good patient for his teeth, usually he’s AWFUL. My regular veterinarian had been out of town and our appointment was her first upon returning. She told me when I got there that the on-call vet had told her about Jaguar coming in so she had also kept an eye on him on the stall camera overnight. I LOVE my veterinary team!
It’s been a few days now and Jaguar seems to be back to his normal self. We have had a few wild temperature swings, which is when people swear horses start colicking more and he was fine through that. I’ll add, though, that I don’t believe in those temperature swings causing colic. I’ve read a lot of veterinary research and they have never found a correlation between temperature or pressure changes and colic. The more likely culprit is that owners change how they manage their horses when the weather gets bad; more stall time, less exercise, same water offering, etc. I make it a point to keep the management of my horses the same regardless of weather. I may add hot water to their water buckets when a freeze is impending or put them in the barn earlier when it’s pouring rain, but they still get turned out regardless and I feed all my adult horses soaked alfalfa cubes and beet pulp every day. Only once has one of my horses colicked during crazy weather (tornado warning) and it turned out that horse had been eating acorns by the bucketful.
Hopefully this is Jaguar’s last trip to the vet’s office for a few months (years?!) for anything other than dental maintenance. I learned my lesson and won’t leave ANY hay around him EVER again. I’m grateful he didn’t get an impaction, just gas likely caused by eating something he hasn’t eaten in 12 months.