Saturday, August 30, 2008

Nerve Damage?

As you may have noticed, I have not been faithful to my everyday blog lately. We have had some extra stress in our lives lately that I haven't written about here because it was just too sad and painful.

Garnet, one of our weanlings came down with either some kind of sickness or an injury, we are not sure what happened. We suspect some kind of nerve damage. It started out with him just not being able to stay with the foals. He is the oldest and had always been their leader and led them in running and playing. He would nicker at them but was reluctant to move and when he did move he took baby steps and acted as if every one was painful.

He had swelling on both sides of his neck like hard ridges, and one shoulder blade was much lower then the other. He acted as if all four feet were sore. We put him in a stall and started him on Banamine every four hours. He would not lay down, he didn't lay down for several days.

After awhile the ridges on his neck finally disappeared and his shoulder blades started looking normal again. He was able to flex his neck and lay down. Then his hind ankles started swelling, then it moved from his ankles to his right hind hock and his left hind thigh. His left hind thigh became so swollen that we were afraid that the skin would bust open.

He continued to eat grain well but he was losing a lot of weight. He was lying down most of the time and we couldn't get him up but he would occasionally get up on his own after he had banamine. His left hind leg, under the swelling was as cold as ice to touch and he drag that leg when he walked.

I talked to our Vet, who said to switch him to Bute because it is cheaper and might help more with the swelling. We switched and did see some improvement with the swelling. He also told me to start him on antibiotics, so we went from sticking him with a needle several times a day to just once. I crush his bute tablets and put them in applesauce, then syringe them into his mouth, he tolerates it and doesn't spit it out, so I guess it doesn't taste too bad.

He was really having a struggle getting to his feet and he was beating himself all up trying to get up in the stall, so we moved him back out to the pasture. The Vet had told me that there was hope as long as he could still get to his feet with the help of painkillers. But he said that if he got to the point that he could no longer get up, we would probably need to put him down.

This went on for a week and a half and on Wednesday morning, he couldn't get up. My DH was working that day and it was suppose to be sunny and hot. I had made up my mind to put him down that evening if he didn't get up that day. I continued his bute, carrying him water, applying fly spray and blue lotion on his many sores. He is covered in sores from both banging into things trying to get up and from just lying around so much.

But he did finally get up and walked a little bit, so we waited. He has been getting better ever since. He is well on the road to recovery now, he is still walking slow but he is staying with the others and is getting a little ornery about taking his medicine which is a good thing. I can, however, spray him with fly spray and blue medicine anywhere, anytime and he likes being brushed and having his throat scratched. So this horrible experience has been a benefit to a colt who would not let you touch him before he got sick.
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