Tuesday, April 19, 2016

dazed and confused

What do I do now?  How do I move on from this?
Why did this happen to me? Why to him?

His goofy self one day, gone the next... AA Knight Moves, Tesla, has crossed over the rainbow bridge to join Traveler.

The weekend started out like planned, Saturday morning karate graduation, Sunday volunteering in the kids area and then heading over to the barn to take Tesla for a last long leg stretch before No Frills. As we were finishing up the kids stuff, I notice a text from the barn owner - Tesla has a low grade fever and won't eat.  My plans change, I stop back at the house first for a few supplies and head to the barn.
Not feeling so hot when I first arrived
My endurance training and "knowing my horse" served me well...we knew what his normal temp should be, HR and gut sounds...how to check on hydration.  I grabbed my handheld HRM, listened to his gut, checked tenting and gums and called the vet, who would then be out within the hour.  While we waited I just groomed, braided his mane (since now it is getting hot), and loved on him.  Occasionally he would lay down, but not roll.  He passed a small amount of manure and then became a little more "standard" symptomatic, looking at his side, kicking up at stomach, continuing to stretch his head down and out. Still no rolling...

The vet arrives as promised, we discuss as he checks vitals. Fever had increased over the last hour, but still not exceptionally high.  We offer him some grass, which he has no interest, then move to tubing him.  No impaction noted, he was given banamine and bute, and perked up within a few minutes. The vet left with orders to monitor the fever, let him hand graze as long as he wants in the shade, and if he looked ok keep him in a small paddock overnight, no grain. Grass and hay only.  We grazed for a bit, he was noticeably happier and more alert, after about 15 or 20 min he wanted back to the stall for water, a welcome sign.  I left there with his fever continuing to diminish, and him lightly munching hay. The barn owner to follow up on the temp monitoring and keep me in the loop... The vet did not feel he was a critical case and we both thought this would resolve quickly. Blood was drawn to be run in the morning looking for signs of infection, and if none seen moving on to a Lyme test.

Grazing and drinking after treatment

I get home, relieved, have dinner with the family get kids to bed and come out to another text - Tesla is not acting right again. His fever is almost gone, but acting much more colicky; laying down, distressed, head/neck stretching in discomfort when standing.

I called the vet, who happens to live close to our house and we both head out to the barn again.  I arrive to a much different scene than I left.  They took him to the round pen to see if wanted to roll but all he wanted to do was lay down. He is sweating, but no fever.  Minimal gut sounds and has had diarrhea. He got up when coaxed to walk back to the stall for the vet examination; new assessment says we need to move him to the Equine Emergency clinic.  He needs fluids and constant monitoring because he stopped drinking again and his elytes are likely out of whack.  Vet feels he is dealing with some type of intestinal infection, unlikely for a twist, but his best chance is at Blue Ridge.  For some unknown reason when I headed out that night I grabbed the car, not the truck, so the barn owner helped transport Tesla in their stock trailer while I followed along behind.  We left him a box stall to lay down if needed, but I just watched him paw and spin the long drive out.

We arrive at the clinic and he is taken to an isolation stall. That alone is heart wrenching to me. I can't be in there to comfort him - all I can do is watch through the metal grates from outside as he struggles.  His fever is now gone, blood drawn and run, IV in place.  Results: He is leaking protein, WBC is considered "OK", elytes out of wack.  Needs fluids, but he has become painful enough that it would be dangerous to do so.  And then begins the fight to get that pain under control.  I can't describe the helplessness I felt watching him. His eyes meeting mine as he would lay on the bedding trying to get comfortable. I prayed for him to hang on, keep fighting.  Finally we have some relief, but the e-vet warns me that we can't continue down that path too many times.  The more it is used, the more it would adversely effect his recovery.  If his level of pain rises, the best idea would be surgery - and that is something I can't afford, nor holds guarantee that would work if we did.
I left him around 1230am, finally resting and about to be getting fluids.  Asked for many prayers for him to make it through. I couldn't stay with him or I would have not have left his side...My daughter had a surgery scheduled for Monday which needed us there at 630 am.  "Minor" thing for ear tube insertion, but she is my baby and needs me.

I got home ~1am, figuring if I didn't get a call on the drive we'd be OK.

The phone rang at 1:15 and my heart sunk. I went into the hall by the front door and just slid down the wall, listening to her to tell me that his pain is not able to be managed.  What should work for an hour is lasting 15minutes...they had reached the max of the narcotics/opiates that should be used... I gave the go ahead thru tears to euthanize him and end the suffering.  I'm torn apart inside...

So many questions...He was UTD on all his vax, regular worming as vet directed, picking up weight nicely, working well under saddle, healthy by all accounts from baseline blood work run this spring. Enjoying his Chiro and massage treatments to help out his SI and lower back... I checked in with the vet with his 'funny week'  in March, which he seemed to bounce back from quickly, so we just assumed stress of changes put him in a funk.  No warning... What happened?  How could this happen?

I spoke with Blue Ridge today, looking for answers... based on his pain levels they feel he had a twist somewhere.  While we couldn't see it on the ultrasound, it is limited in depth of usage, and there is no other thing that would cause him to be in that much pain.  He assured me there is nothing I could have done to prevent this, I didn't miss something... Still don't know what caused the original colic, could have been spring grass or some other random thing, but I did everything I could for him and gave him relief when options were exhausted. Closure, but doesn't help the pain.

I'm just at a loss...I knew when I lost Traveler that I would find a partner again soon, I had to.  Now, I'm reeling from losing another I'd bonded to, been developing a partnership with, in such short time after. We were just getting started...everything I was working on towards getting him home, dreaming of the day Tesla would be in my front yard... I don't know what to do with myself.  I want to crawl into a hole and retreat...I have nothing to retreat to. I'm lost, my heart broken again.

No Frills, April 2015 (Becky Pearman Photography)

Old Dominion, June 2015 (Becky Pearman Photography)

Gobble till you Wobble, Nov 2015 
Run free my black stallion, forever in my dreams.

1 comment:

  1. Griffin my heart really hurts for you. I sure know what it is like having to make a tough decision and weighing cost, possibility, probability, second guessing yourself...but you did right. The vet gave you your options and you had to make a choice. Allow yourself acceptance of that. Grieve the loss. Sending you a big fat Granny hug. I'm so sorry for your loss.