Sunday, 13 June 2010

June already....

Gosh, really can't believe we are on the second weekend in June already.  Haven't managed to post as things have been really hectic.

On the evening of Wednesday 2nd June, Brea, my quarter horse, colicked really badly .  I had been out cutting the grass as we were due to go to a friends' wedding that weekend, and my daughter had gone out to feed the horses (they get a handful of happy hoof and feed balancer every day).  My daughter came running in, Brea was down and she thought she was colicking.

When I got up to the field, poor Brea was flat out.  No noise, no movement, it was almost as if she was dead.  My husband had gone to phone the vet and I sat on the ground next to my mare, checking her pulse (racing) and started doing some of my Ttouch ear work on her.

Mark, the vet, arrived within 30 minutes at around 8.45pm.  By this time I'd managed to get Brea back up to her feet, and had walked her down the hill to our stables.  Brea's pulse was almost 70 bpm, there were no gut sounds and Mark decided to put a tube into her stomach incase we were dealing with grass sickness.  Thankfully, her stomach was clear but we were faced with what to do next.  The nearest vet hospital that can do abdominable surgery on horses is the Royal (Dick) Veterinary Hospital in Edinburgh.   It takes 4 hours to drive there under normal conditions but to transport a sick horse in a trailer would take over 5 hours.  Brea was in so much pain, things really were looking very bleak as we suspected a twisted gut, impacted colic or grass sickness.  However, I made the decision not to subject her to the long journey, if there really was nothing to be done to help her, I would rather she spent her last hours at home with us, rather than stressed out stuck in a trailer.

Mark gave Brea some painkillers and agreed to return within 4 hours at 12.30 am.  I spent the next few hours checking her every half an hour, doing more Ttouch earwork and also I managed to do some belly lifts with help from my husband.

Ttouch Ear work is one thing I wish every horse person knew how to do.  Basically, you make small circle and a quarter ttouches around the base of the horse's ears.  Then stroke the whole length of the ear, up to the tip and apply pressure to the shock point right at the tip of the ear.  By doing these ttouches around the ears you can help stabilise a horses temperature, respiration and  - this stops the animal going into shock and is exactly what to do when you are waiting for the vet or to aid recovery. - link to Linda Tellington-Jones website.   - UK Ttouch and Tteam website.

When Mark returned at 12.30am, Brea's condition was still looking very grim.  Although, her pulse had lowered to 44 bpm.  We agreed to keep monitoring her, with me checking her throughout the night, but with us both well aware that I may be calling Mark during the night to put my darling horse to sleep.

I checked Brea hourly during the night, (flashback to when the kids were babies and being up all night with them!).  At around 4.00 am when I had checked her, I was happy to hear slight gurgling and bubbling noises from her gut, she had been walking around with my other two horses normally.  (I can't believe how light it is here at 4.00 in the morning!).  I went back to bed, and slept until 6.30 am, the longest I'd left her - when I walked over the field I got the best welcome any horse owner ever gets, a lovely whicker from all 3 horses!

Mark, came back to check at 8.30 am.  I've never seen anyone so relieved as he did when he walked round the corner to see Brea standing quite happily at the gate.  I know that we both thought she wouldn't make it through the night.  We decided to not give her anymore painkillers and monitor her for the rest of the day.   

When Mark returned that evening, I was happy to report that Brea had been behaving normally the whole day, she was grazing and drinking (and poohing of course).  It had been a really close thing, and I am so thankful that we noticed as soon as we did that something was wrong.

My family and I decided not to travel down to England to our friends' wedding, luckily for us they are animal lovers too and knew that we couldn't leave a recovering animal (even though I have the best horse sitter around!).

We've now got the cover on our polytunnel, and have managed to plant most of our veggies in it.  And we have spent this weekend moving the chickens round to their new bit of garden - so things are slowly moving forward with the garden even if the weather has been wet and cold.  Some sunshine every now and again would be nice though too!

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