Friday, January 13, 2012


Well, Loretta's teeth were not the issue.

She started up yesterday after breakfast with her colicky symptoms. I spent most of yesterday and all night on colic watch. Of course, by the time the vet got here this afternoon, she was feeling back to normal. Which is good, except I wanted him to watch her while in agitation mode. Luckily I did have a few videos I had taken on my Iphone.

I had a different vet come out today to take a look at her. I have loved all the vets I have used in my area. I appreciate their different perspectives and feel everyone, although trained with the same basics, has had different experiences with horses in their practice. I felt the more opinions I could get, the better. Since this is the 4th time since the week before Christmas that Loretta has colicked, it's serious. In fact when I asked the Dr. how often they see horses like this, he said, "Oh, about one a year....maybe one every other year or so." Yikes. 

I can not explain what he told me, it was very medical. It has to do with tapeworm infestation. Actually, if you read this piece on tapeworm threat by Equimax it describes and shows photos of where these worms attach and how they can cause colic-producing issues. It was exactly what the vet was telling me today in vet lingo. At this point considering the chronic issue with colic and the evidence we have, it is his diagnosis, so to speak. She had a good wormer (Qwest Plus, given to me by the last vet that saw her) last Saturday after her teeth float appointment. However, it can take up to two or more weeks for the inflammation from any tapeworm damage to go down. The vet had the fibrinogen levels in her blood tested. A definition from Wikipedia: "It is used in veterinary medicine as an inflammatory marker: In horses, a level above the normal range of 1.0-4.0 g/L suggests some degree of systemic inflammatory response." Loretta's came back in the normal levels, which is good! For example, this would show that there was no chronic inflammation which could be from adhesions in the intestines.

I don't have a lot of history on Loretta other than what I have from the owner that had her before me (she only had her for 6 months.) I know she wormed her, and we wormed her in November. But before that, she could have gone a long time with little worming at a young age. The person who had her before the gal I bought her from supposedly got her from a "rescue situation." With younger horses, more frequent worming is important. It makes you realize how knowing your horse's history is so important, if it all possible. Sometimes though, we just don't.

At this point, we are just waiting it out. I have to give her Banamine when she has a colic episode and watch her. I just have to hope she starts to feel better in a few weeks. If these issues continue, the next step would be to take her to a clinic with ultrasound and scoping equipment to see if there is a larger issue, perhaps something else going on, or more severe damage from worms. I am keeping my fingers crossed the worming worked and this will resolve itself once the inflammation goes down.

I just keep my fingers crossed that her episodes are fewer and far between. I am to continue her on the same feed, adding bran mashes at night with Probiotics and Sand Clear. I had a great conversation with the on-call vet last night, about worrying about your horse. She is the same way I am about my animals. She said you can stay up all night watching for them to roll and it could happen in the hour you fall asleep. She said if they are going to twist a gut they will despite your best intentions of preventing it. I know I am doing the best I can to help my little mare through her ouchy tummy and just hope she is on the mend soon! I will keep you all posted as I know that I learn from all of your horse health experiences and hope you have learned something, too!!

Photo in this post was an out take from our photo shoot this past September. I can not believe how much darker bay Loretta is now with her winter coat!! She was almost gray in the summer, she was so roaned out! I did not realize this until I looked at these photos the other day.

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Ranch Girl


fernvalley01 said...

rotten that you are still struggling with this .I was so hopeful (as I know you were)that it was resolved . Best wishes , and I will keep a good thought and prayer

Reddunappy said...

I hope this does the trick for her!!! Hang in there!!

Fantastyk Voyager said...

It's good that you've got a cause. Now, she can get better.

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

I have been following along, but you have gotten such good advice, I haven't had anything to add. (Hard to believe, I know-LOL) Tapeworms is a new one on me. For horses anyway. I mean I know they can get them, just hadn't ever heard of them causing so much of a problem.

Hopefully this is the ticket this time and your guys' life returns to normal. It can drive a person crazy when a particular problem arises.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I'm glad the mystery was solved. It's tough not knowing. Like you said, the chronic nature of her episodes was worrisome.

Laura said...

Hopefully the wormer helps out after a couple of weeks! You may seem so flare up of the issues when the parasites die off...gross, I know.

There is a certain type of worm (totally forget which one) that can cause eye issues - that was one thing we suspected when Rusty had his eye troubles...)

Did your vet do a fecal test to see if the worm load was really heavy? I can't remember reading that...

Either way, I hope she starts feeling better soon!

Trainwreck said...

PG!! How are you?? You look gorgeous as always! so...did you find a Cowboy??? Hows your mom and sister? and all the other pony family members? Missed all this visiting. Hope to see you around;)

baystatebrumby said...

Eeew, tapeworms are so gross! How unfair that they are an issue for your pretty lady. How absoluetly terrible. But at least you have a real starting point. That is a positive thing. I also love all the vets I have used. They are all very different, all of them handy and humorous. Can you imagine being a vet? There si no way i could do it, I get too upset seeing animals in crisis. I bet when the vets come to your place, they get a good feeling about you. Begone tapeworms!!! Who do you think you are????
I hope Loretta gets better soon.