It’s A Puzzlement

I wrote this a while ago and never posted it.  Just found it.

The title comes from the Broadway Play and movie “The King And I.”

Just couldn’t think of a title that expressed what I’m feeling and what this is about.  It’s almost like a TV detective program.  I’ve touched on these ideas before, but this week has been full of detective work.  Uncovering the hidden clues.  I really like this part of my job.  Sometimes I’m right, and then sometimes, not so much.

Case Number 1.  Got a new boarder in.  A very large Warm Blood who is down on his weight.  He’s 20.  Not old for me, but the owner and most of the world, consider him to be “Old.”  Went through the usual questions about a new horse in my care.  Got good information, but there were several pieces to the puzzle I thought were missing.  Like really why is he thin.  What the owner told me made perfect sense, but I was not comfortable with it all.  So sleuthing I will go.  He was on a well-known senior feed.  But I’ve seen this many times before.  For whatever reason, the feed just is not working for a horse.  Some horses may do exceptionally well on a feed and then you get another horse that does absolutely horrible on the same feed.  The amount she was feeding sounded fine, but I don’t know this horses metabolism, and previous living conditions, so it may not have been ideal for him.  She felt it was the heat of last summer.  Usually the heat doesn’t bother them that much, unless he was stressed on top of it.  I asked her if he could have Beet Pulp or Alfalfa Cubes?  She said that he had never had any.  She dropped off the two types of grain that he was getting so that I could gradually change him over.  She is a good, knowledgeable horsewoman, but she had barn help feeding him.  Sometimes we are so close to the situation that we miss the simplest thing.  It becomes so familiar to us that we just don’t pick up on it.  It occasionally requires a clear mind, a different view, and an outsider to see more clearly.

It’s like my husband the other day.  He was looking for his glasses and he got me to join in on the hunt.  You can’t see the forest for the trees.  He was wearing them.  So detective Diane went to the ingredients on the bags of feed. This is something I could actually view for myself.  Not many people read the ingredients.  At least not often.  Manufacturers do change what they put in.  Well the first and main ingredient on the one bag was Beet Pulp.  Not much in the way of grain at all.  The second bag, the first and main ingredient  was Alfalfa, not much in the way of grain either.  Now remember I not only asked her if he was getting Beet Pulp, but I also asked if he was getting Hay Cubes.  She said no.  Obviously she didn’t read the bag either.  So I was changing him over to my grain anyway, adding Beet Pulp and Alfalfa cubes.  His other odd behavior is that he licks everything.  Your hands, your face, hair, jacket, hat, gates.  So I put him on minerals and salt.  I spoke with my vet and she said if that didn’t work it might be behavioral.  Really???  You just never stop learning about horses.  He’s quiet where he eats and is in a pasture by himself so he doesn’t feel threaten or in competition for food or space.  He loves people.  Has hay in front of him all day.  Finding out what his real story is will take some time.  Any situation is like an onion.  You have to peel it back one layer at a time.  I’m confident that as long as he’s upright and breathing, with no hidden medical issues, that I will put weight on him and get him back to what he should be for his age.  He just had his teeth done and had been wormed, with all his shots, two weeks before he came, so we’re good in that department.

Case Number 2.  With the cold weather down here, horses have a tendency not to drink enough water, so they colic.  It sounds ridiculous to me, coming from the north where horses have to break through ice to get a drink.  I couldn’t believe it when I first heard about it.  But my guess is that it has something to do with the local hay that is grown down here.  Also it will be down to the 20’s than in a few hours back up to 70, then back down, you get the picture.  Anyway my Quarter Horse was looking a little off.  Didn’t want her grain, would pick at her hay.  Was down a lot.  So I treated her for mild Colic.  Gave her table salt to make her drink more, a little Banamine for the pain.  Took her off grain (she wasn’t eating it anyway) and removed her hay.  Now that’s being just plain mean, when at the time there wasn’t any pasture.  I feel, and they believe, I’m starving them to death.  They like to munch on hay all day even in the pasture when there is no grass.  I have to give the other two hay in their stalls so she wouldn’t get any.  I’ve got an ugly bunch of horses at this time.  It’s like one of those pictures in the movies that the eyes follow you.  They stand at the gate and just watch your every move.  I can hear the whispers.  “There goes our evil mom, trying to starve us.  Maybe she forgot, she’s old you know, try to get her attention again.”  The mare is passing normal manure, no temperature, gums look fine, drinking water, gut sounds are normal.  She is in heat and has had trouble with her ovaries before.  The other side of the coin, her stomach is sucked up in pain, not eating grain, down on the ground most of the day.  She’s alert, but just not normal.  Kept in touch with my vet and finally declared, none of it makes sense.  So bring out the big guns.  My vet came, agreed on my findings.  It’s not a normal colic.  Neither was Desert and we had to put him down.  So we ran bloods to see what everything else is doing.  Hopefully it isn’t a liver problem.   But it just my be those darn ovaries again, but she has never had this type of colic issue in the past.  I’m just gathering all the pieces to the puzzle and we’ll see what the picture turns out to be.

Well, five days later she’s back to normal.  Blood showed everything working fine.  We’re thinking the dreaded ovaries.  Usually she just gets sore in the back and doesn’t want to use her right hind leg.  This is a new twist.

The jury is still out on the final verdict.  We’re waiting for the next heat cycle to see if it happens again.  Part of me wants it to be ovaries and part of me doesn’t.  What’s the next step?  Acupuncture and if that doesn’t work,  Ultra Sound.

With horses, it’s not always a detective program.  Sometimes it feels more like the “X Files” and we’re waiting for the “Mother Ship.”

Because this post was lost and was written a year ago, bottom line on both cases –  The Warm Blood gained weight and was placed in a new home with a teenage girl.  My mare – it was ovaries, went into her next heat just fine. Both cases, solved and closed.  Can’t wait for me next adventure.

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