Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Medical Detective on the Way

A few months ago I had problems keeping weight on my horses regardless of how much hay I fed them, so I added in supplements.  Everyone gained weight and started looking healthier.  Then Bombay began losing weight again.  He used to have a very strong, muscular body, but now his belly is like a sack of potatoes beneath a rib cage and spine.  He looks like he has aged ten years in a matter of months.

So, I increased his feed and supplements and locked the horses in their stalls at meal times to make sure everyone got his fair share.  Bombay would gain weight, only to lose it again and require another increase in feed.  At the same time, he was developing behavioral issues like balking, nervousness, high headedness, and just all around being uncooperative.  Activities that had never been a problem in the past were now beginning to be a problem for him.

A variety of thoughts have run through my head.  His spine looks funky even though he walks just fine.  Maybe his back hurts.  Maybe the crack in his hoof is causing him pain.  But then the farrier said that even though the crack goes all the way through the hoof wall, it's not that big of a deal.  Then today it took Bombay seven hours to eat one flake of hay.

He had his head buried in the food trough each time I checked on him, so it wasn't that he was not interested in the hay, but he was eating ridiculously slow.  The other horses had cleaned their plates in two hours.  So, I checked his mouth and teeth, but didn't see anything, and he didn't seem sensitive having me touching him around and inside the mouth.

What is wrong with him is a mystery to me, so I set up an appointment with the vet.  In all the years I've owned horses, I have only had to call an equine vet twice for illnesses.  All other appointments were either preventative care or injuries.  She's going to have to do some detective work to figure it out, because I don't have much to go on other than a sour attitude, taking way too long to eat, and suddenly being a hard keeper.

Bombay is only 16, that's ten years younger than Lostine, and I think Lostine looks healthier than him.  He has a history of melanomas, and has this lump under his jaw that the vet thought might be a tumor, but she didn't seem concerned.  The lump has been there a long time now, hasn't grown in size, and doesn't seem to be causing any problems.

My husband thinks Bombay is depressed, so I've been making an effort to spend time doing something with him every day to see if I can get him out of his emotional funk.  But if the underlying issue is physical, I doubt I'll see any permanent change in his mood.  Hopefully, the problem will be obvious to the vet, and the solution be a simple fix.

After we get Bombay's issues dealt with, it will be Stewie's turn to see a vet, because his ear is still red and itchy despite us cleaning it and putting ear drops to kill mites in it twice a day for a couple of weeks.

Then it will be my turn to get caught up on my annual physical, because the prescription I take that helps me be a functioning member of society, as opposed to a home-bound hermit, has run out.  I was actually going to set up an appointment for myself today, but it seems Bombay and Stewie win in the triage department.


Dreaming said...

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could have one doctor to serve all medical needs for us, our horses and dogs? Good luck with Bombay. I hope there is a quick resolution for you.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Now I'm thinking he may have a gastric ulcer. That would make sense.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

So, I found this video on palpitating to detect ulcers in horses:

And I waited for daylight to try it on Bombay. He had no reaction to it beyond enjoying being petted. So, I don't think he has an ulcer now. Back to the drawing board.

Horseyhabit said...

Hope you can get some answers! :/ Poor guy..

& that bottom pic of Stewie & Midge is ADORABLE.. :)

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Horseyhabit - You don't know how long I've been trying to catch that shot. The dogs do that every night, but as soon as I make a move for my camera, they jump off the couch.

Venom said...

No doubt he has been wormed recently, but a fecal float may lend some valuable info, even if it just rules out parasites.
Ulcers of the mouth, throat, and gut should be easy to rule out with a quick scope (my vet has a tv screen so I can see what he sees) and if that is the problem it is a pretty simple fix.
Whenever an animal goes completely south all of a sudden it is a concern of course such ambiguous symptoms don't point the way clearly. In my experience, anytime it's one of those kind of things the animal never actually PRESENTS with the symptom for the vet to observe and then I get the 'she's crazy' eyes turned on me.
If it is an emotional thing, that can be SO hard to fix. But you know him best and I know you'll stick with it til you've figured it out.
I agree - Midge & Stewie and SO KEEYOOOT!

Katharine Swan said...

Has the vet been out yet? When Panama had ulcers, he had NO other signs of it, other than struggling to keep weight on him!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

No vet yet. I have to wait over a week to get someone out if it's not an emergency.

Katharine Swan said...

Yikes! Fingers crossed for you that it'll be soon!

achieve1dream said...

What are you deworming with? Have you used Quest? It gets stuff that all the others don't or so I've been told. I work out into my rotation at least once a year. My first thought was ulcers though. You feed alfalfa though don't you? That's supposed to act as a buffer for their stomach. You also have slow feed nets so that shouldn't be a problem. It's not a sand thing is it? I hope you've already figured the problem out and that my comment is pointless lol. I don't want Bombay to feel bad.

Oh and I meant to say on the farrier post that he has nothing to worry about because he has a fan in me even if none of the farriers have picked him. :-)

achieve1dream said...

P.S. I love the picture of the dogs!!!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I finally got Bombay's fecal and blood test results. The fecal was negative for worms. Everything was normal in the blood tests, except that one test showed inflammation and possibly an infection. She said a normal count is 400 and he was 600. However, no other tests suggested inflammation or infection, so it must have been mild. She said we could either redraw his blood to see if the count has come down or put him on antibiotics. He's much better now, so I opted to only have her out if he stopped eating again or looked sick or in pain.