Thursday, May 31, 2007

More Colic

I guess I better slow down with the happy, raving reviews:-/ He coliced again tonight starting at about 5:30pm... So once again he's being starved. Dr. Olsen gave him some Bucospan to slow down his gut as it was hypermotil, but that only lasts 30 mins or so. Next step is to scope him for ulcers...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Today is the day...

Matt and I are going to go pick Lester up around 4:30pm today (Alabama time)! I'm more excited than nervous this time to get him home. I now know what NOT to do and let's hope that's enough. He has another 2 weeks of stall rest and hand walking/ grazing, then a couple of weeks just in a paddock and then the 3rd month he can go back out in the pasture.
His stall (3rd from the right) is all ready for him.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Well, it looks like we are going to wait until tomorrow to pick Lester up. It certainly won't hurt him to stay another night and this way it will give me a chance to get everything in place for his stall and me and the dogs in the apartment(there is an apt in the barn I can stay in temporarily). It will be much easier to do these things without Lester breathing down my neck, licking me or trying to take the rake away. :-) He's even been known to untie a bikini strap!
Ahhhh, one more night of being decision making free.....
But I can't wait to get this sweet face home again!!! The new student in charge of Less will be calling me later today with an evening update.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Happy Memorial Day...

Just got back from Auburn. The batteries in the camera died so we didn't get a lot of pictures this time:-( Joe met us up there and gave us the latest on Lester. He's passing A LOT of oil now and the evidence is all in his tail, all over hind legs and on his sides from swishing his tail. Talk about an oil mess, but I'd rather see that then none at all! The oil made Lester VERY very itchy, you can see here how much he enjoyed the scratching....he almost stomped on my foot a few times because he was having to rebalance himself as he was leaning into me so much. Joe said that they are going to give him a bath later to get as much as the oil off him as possible- I guess that answers my question whether his incision site can get wet???

We got to hand walk him as always and this time he didn't spend any time looking around, he just had his face planted down on the grass, he didn't even care about the drain that was directly in front of him. He didn't even want to lift his head for this photo opp.....

He's lost a total of almost 150 lbs! Even so he'll always be my little Pigman. I want to do my best at keeping the weight off him this time, but I imagine he'll balloon back out in no time. We got to talk to Dr. Downs, Lester's other surgeon and explain why we were back :-/ I confessed to over feeding him the first night back and he said for me to take it very slow with him and cut him back down to half of what he's getting here at the beginning- I agree and was planning on taking it much slower this next time.

I've decided to take Lester home to his usual farm this time. It makes the most sense, there is an apartment in the barn that I can stay in and keep him on his exact schedule he has had in Auburn and wean him off it slowly.
As long as everything keeps looking so good we will be able to bring him home in another day or so. Lester looked at the sewer caps/ man holes again today, but this time he got over them pretty quickly! Less is still getting a little bit of hay every few hours and he's also getting his senior feed again. I was able to give him a handful before I left so he was a happy boy for about the 5 seconds it took him to gobble it all down.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A good Sunday update!

I got the first update around noon today and he had some more oily poop so they increased his grazing schedule to about 10-15 minutes. I'm sure he was happy about that.
The next update was abou 30 minutes ago and even better! Joe said that he's passing a lot of the oil now along with some normal stool. He said they ran another ultrasound on him and everything looked as it should:-) I asked Joe if Dr. Harper was seeing what he wanted to see out of Lester and he said yes (no pun intended);-) With that news they have started giving him some hay, only handfulls every few hours.
Matt and I are going to go see tomorrow so I hope he's less grumpy. He seemed a bit grumpy yesterday because of the lack of food I think. I guess we are all grumpy when our tummy's are growling though.
Hopefully we'll get some good pics to share....

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Saturday night update

I didn't know if I was going to get an evening update or not, but Joe just called and said Lester is doing fine and about 4pm he had some poop that showed some oil. Let's hope that is the beginning to some messy things to come;-) I didn't know if Joe was on call or not, sounds like he may have just stopped by, but I was very happy to hear from him. I know no news is good news, but I still like and very much appreciate the calls that say he's still standing and pooping:-)

Saturday Update

Dr. Harper told me that they oiled him again (tube up the nose again and down into his stomach) this morning because they want to see this oil come through his system before they put him back on any feed. He's a little concerned that they never saw the oil from Thursday morning pass through him, BUT that could have been because when they refluxed him, it all came out that way. So hear's hoping for some oily poop!
I got there about 2pm Georgia time to see him. It was after visiting hours, but they are used to seeing me:-) When I arrived he was being assessed by a student- checking his vitals, unhooking the cathetor from the IV fluids (I thought this had been finished up last night, but I think it had just ran out right before I got there). The poop he had in his stall wasn't oily :-/, let's hope they see some soon.....I arrived just in time for a 5 minute grazing and 10-15 minute walk. Poor guy is so hungry, I feel bad, but we have to make sure things aren't going to get backed up again. I walked him past a window that showed our reflection, he had to stop and stare at himself for a good 3 minutes I'd say. He HATES the sewer caps that are around the barn area, we spent a good 3-5 mins staring at that as well and blowing at it. He finally was convinced enough it wasn't there to harm him, but he still wouldn't walk on it, he kept skirting around it just enough. But I was able to trick him into putting his right front foot on the one in front of his barn;-) I groomed and scratched him for a good hour I would say. His face is so itchy from all the abrasions he got 2 weeks ago. He only had 1 new one from Thursday's thrashing from that colic. His incision site still looks impressively clean and healthy.
I brought some hay and feed with me, but of course couldn't feed it to him. I felt really bad becasue when I dropped it off near the food room I walked back from the direction that his food would come and he gave me his best nicker hoping that I had returned with food:-/.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday's second update...

Still doing good:-) per Joe. He said they have kept him on his grazing schedule of every 4-6 hours and will probably offer him a handful of hay tomorrow and build from there. He's still checking on what we should mix the coastal hay with. Tomorrow I will bring a bale of "our" hay so that he can get started on that and also some equine senior and let them ease him into that as well.
Joe said that alot of people have made the comment of "I thought he went home" so he's having to explain why he's back. They don't mind that he's back though, they have all resumed to petting him and scratching his ears as they go by. He's on a end stall so he's really hard to resist. It makes me feel good to know he's getting extra love from the students because he craves human attention. How can anyone resist his face! I know I can't...

Friday's Update

Joe called (pic to the right)! Which is Lester's student that is looking after him right now. He was out grazing Lester when he called and said he's doing GREAT:-) Less is off the IV fluids and is back to drinking water. They will offer him some hay later today, and add it back slowly like last time. I asked Joe to check into what the vets thought about adding some type of mix to the coastal hay, like alfalfa perhaps. The best part is, well there are 2 best parts, but #1 is that his small intestines are no longer distended, yesterday they were by .5 cms, which isn't much, but like I said yesterday, I wasn't taking any chances. And the #2 best news is he's pooped 3 times. They believe it was an impaction, the oil that my vet gave him before heading back down to Auburn never made it through him, instead it was just refluxed out of his tummy when the tube went in during his work up. They want him to stay another night which is fine by me! Matt and I will go visit him tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Set Back

John, the barn owner and I brought Lester home on Weds. night, May 23rd. Lester had recovered so well in Auburn and was ready to come home. I had kept him there a few extra days just in case too. We got Less to his temporary home and unloaded him. He was very calm and reasonable about it all and settled in seemingly stressfree. I chose this particular place because I liked how "open" the front of the stall was. He seemed to like it too. After about 45 mins of a little handgrazing and hanging out in the stall eating some hay and drinking water, I gave him his 3 handfulls of Equine Senior and he ate it right up. I then took him for a little walk and grazing tour of the new place. He settled in better than I thought he would. He nosed a couple of the other horses and never squealed or misbehaved. I put him back in his stall around 8pm, gave him a bucket of fresh water and left him with about 3 flakes of hay for the night. He was checked on around 10pm and his bucket of water was refilled, no signs of colic or discomfort. Thursday morning I go to work and get a call about 8:45am that Lester was laying down this morning and he was pawing the ground and off his feed. I give my boss a wave (he was having a meeting) and told him that I HAD to go right then; he waved me on understandingly. While on the way I call the vet's office and get him in route. I think I only arrived about 10 minutes ahead of the vet. Lester was being walked in a familar circle and I was handed his leadrope. He seemed a little interested in grazing, but at the same time he was pawing and wanting to go down. A few times we just stood quietly in the shade. My other vet, Dr. McClendon came this time and checked him over. Lester was still in the VERY early stages of colic. He hadn't even broken a sweat yet and his heart-rate was 44 which is pretty normal. He palpated him and felt that the small intestines were a little distended, not bad, but considering his recent history it worried us a little. Lester got a shot of banamine and was refluxed with the same familiar tube up the nose to the stomach. He refluxed alot from his belly, which wasn't good. But the refluxing and banamine made him feel much better. He was no longer pawing or showing painful signs, but we all agreed that to be on the safe side he should go back down to Auburn. Dr. McClendon said that this wasn't an emergancy to get him back down there, but why take chances when we have come so far...And so the very gracious, John Parker came and picked him up and took him back down there. Driving down there I had plenty of time to think about how I should have adjusted him much much slower than I had:-( I should have played on the safter side of little to no hay- for gosh sakes his name is LESS IS MORE!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Thank Yous

I must add several huge THANK YOUs in this section. First goes to Laura Parker (and her little whippet, Ditto, too) for hearing Lester splashing around that morning and immediately knowing something was VERY wrong. Always follow your gut Laura because you are always right on with it! Thanks to Dr. Olsen for not wasting anytime getting to him and deciding that he HAD to go to Auburn and right then. You didn't give me ANY time to think it over which was good! After the surgery hurdle, began the anxious 48 hour period where ANYTHING could have gone wrong. THANK YOU Uncle Jim and Aunt Andy for letting Matt and I stay in your condo down in Auburn. It helped so much to be able to see him everyday, twice a day! Most of the staff were pretty used to seeing us and sometimes they just handed over the visitor's pass with no questions:-) I don't think I could have handle all this as well as I did without Matt. He was my rock during all this and was really there for Lester and myself. THANK YOU Matt for being so understanding and caring. Matt wouldn't let me stay in Auburn by myself incase the worst was to happen so THANK YOU Mom for coming down and taking his place, I enjoyed the time together. Dad, I know you were willing to come down, so THANK YOU for caring so much too. Lester had a lot of reflux the first couple of days, but this is pretty common. His vitals were checked often and it seemed liked each time they were better and better. His incision site amazingly stayed as clean and healthy as it could have. Lester had a lot of different students look after him, but Joe Atwel was his main student. After I returned home Joe kept me updated and gave me his cell phone number to call if I had any worries. It was so nice not having to go through the main office everytime! Lucky for Joe he called with only good updates! Joe said that during rounds Lester got a lot of attention being on the end stall, but I know Joe gave him a lot of extra attention too- how could he not?!:-) Obviously Dr. Waguespack and Dr. Downs did an outstanding job on Lester's life-saving surgery- Dr. Waguespack says we have to get through this next year to really be in the clear, but whether he lives another day or another 20 years, his life was still saved...We have had more good days then bad during recovery so it's been well worth it. I wasn't sure about bringing Lester "home" home, so I found him a temporary spot at a co-worker's family farm. CT and Jerri (I hope I spelled her name right!) Aldridge have the cutest farm in Newnan. It was very local to Less' other farm home and it was so gracious of them to let Lester come stay. The stall they had for him was so open and cozy and he settled right in. He only stayed there one night before we had to turn around and take him back to Auburn. Thank you Jerri and Keisha for knowing Lester wasn't "right" that morning and calling me so quickly. They are probably a little relieved to not have him come back just because he's so "fragile" :-/. They have Paso Fino's and Rocky Mountain horses that are so hearty and healthy looking! But I do sincerely appreciate the offer to let him stay. During Lester's second visit he was soley under the care of Dr. Harper and Dr. Hanson. They had watched over him before, after his surgery, but this time was when I had the most interaction with them. When we got Lester there he wasn't showing any painful signs, but his small intestines were a little distended (I was told that you shouldn't be able to feel the small intestines, that they should kinda "collapse"- not feel tube like) and he had a lot of reflux. But the mood was much much lighter than our first trip there so Lester and I just played it up that we had missed everyone;-) I even joked about getting a stall plate for "his" stall. Thanks for getting my boy back home...again! I like everyone there a lot, very generous, good-hearted people, but I don't want to see any of them for a long, long, long time! I have to thank the UDBB (Ultimate Dressage Forum) -and of course my gabbly friends- for all the well wishes,JINGLES and hugs you gave us through it all. It was good therapy to post about him, I should have started this blog sooner though;-)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The call every horse owner dreads

It was a typical Saturday morning. No alarm was set, but Limo, my mutant hound is wide awake and ready to be fed. She was EXTRA obnoxious this particular morning and I do believe now she heard my cell phone ringing in the next room. It's a little past 8am and I FINALLY cave and get up to feed the dogs. This is when I first heard my phone. I see that it's my friend and farm owner, Laura so I answer, thinking she's going to rag on me to get my butt out of bed and come ride and clean stalls. I wish now that the phone call had been about just that, but it wasn't. It's the phone call that every horse owner dreads to hear:-( Laura calmly, but in a very serious tone says the follwing, "Don't panic, but Lester is colicing bad and he probably needs to go to Auburn, I'm hooking up the truck and trailer now". So I quickly get dressed and throw on a hat and the whole time, I'm thinking that this could be the day that I lose my Lester forever. And I was not ready for that.
On the way I call Laura to get more of the story. She tells me to not be alarmed when I see his face, as he's scraped it up pretty bad from thrashing around in the wet sand. She said she was taking her dog back up to the kennel around 7:30am and heard "splashing". She turned and looked to see Less rolling then just laying on the lake bed. She and her dog ran over to check on him and she got him up and immediately knew he wasn't in good shape at all. His halter was hung on the other gate up the drive way so she ran and put her dog up and headed to get Lester. He knew she was there for him and started making his way towards her, almost falling into a ditch. Matt and I arrive at the farm and John Parker, the farm owner, is walking Less in a circle in front of the barn. With tears streaming down I reach them and the vet. Even with 100 mgs of banamine, an injectable pain medicine, Less was still trying to buckle down in pain. My vet, Dr. Olsen of Southern Crescent Equine Clinic, handed me a business card with Auburn's Large Animal Clinic number on it and said "I assume you want to do everything you can for him and his only hope is to go to Auburn." Lester is NOT insured, but YES I wanted to get down there and give him a chance. Lester loaded perfectly as he always does. Matt drove the trailer and did a beautiful job with the help of my back-seat driving.

Having never been to the clinic before and in a panic stricken mode I didn't know where to go or what to do. I was talking to a lady at the front desk over the phone as we pulled in and she told us where the trailer parking was; I hung up before I got the information that we had to "check him in" before unloading him in the proper location. Matt went into the building to check us in and I unloaded Lester in their main parking lot. He unloaded nicely and looked a lot better than before we left, but that didn't last. A student came out and had us load him back on the trailer- again he did it without hesitation. We unloaded him again, this time in the correct location. A female student took him from me and walked away and Matt and I followed. He was weighed (1249 lbs) and taken into the building to begin a work up on him. I was present for the whole exam, students were all over him, checking this and that, I stood by him where I thought I would be the least in the way and stroked his shoulder. Sometimes they asked me questions about his feed and history, sometimes they told me "what" they were seeing and "what" that meant, but honestly I didn't hear or take in much of it. At one point I was told that maybe he didn't need surgery and they could possible "jog" him to jolt "things" back in place (course they used more technical langauage, BUT again it went in one ear and out the other). The next thing I remember is some students poking into his abdomen and seeing blood drip down. They got two vials of blood and the vet, Dr. Pinto showed them to me and said "This is not good, is surgery an option for you." I said it was, and a whole new feeling of fear came over me.
The more Lester stood there in the little stall/ cross tie holding area the more painful he got so the girl took him to the hallway near the surgery room where it was shady and walked him. I was given the percentage rate of 60% that he would make it through surgery. Matt and I joined up with Lester and the girl, and I asked if I could walk him and she said sure and handed him over. With Lester being so doped up and in so much pain he wasn't Lester at all:-( but I felt like I had to "do" something for him. The female student returned with clippers and began shaving his belly. I told her to make it pretty, but I don't think she heard me;-) As always Lester stood there and let us do whatever we wanted to him. We walked until the surgeon(s) arrived. I wanted Lester to have a chance, but at the same time I was thinking about the cost, his life and everything in between...were we making the right decision? The thought of him going under terrified me because I have heard a few horror stories of horses waking up and breaking legs because they are so out of it (I now don't think this is the norm, and unless you have a crazy, untrusting horse, they will probably come to just fine). Having doubts, it was decided that the surgeon, Dr. Waguespack, would begin the surgery and see what we were dealing with and then come talk to Matt and I. I signed a waver between $5-7K and off he went into surgery. 45 minutes into it we were called to the door of the surgical room. Dr. Waguespack told us what he had found. He stood there in his scrubs covered in Lester's blood and flesh and said it was the worse of the two scenarios. First scenario was they would get in there and just have to move things around and second was that they would find dead intestines that had to be removed. He gave us more percentages that 80% he would walk out of the clinic alive and 60% that he could colic this bad again within a year. He said that after we made it past a year then he had a much better chance of it not happening again. He asked if Lester was insured and said with complications it could be rather pricey. My first and immediate thought was to let him go:-( -selfishly thinking I NEVER wanted to experience a moment like this again, but I decided to take the short time I had and make some phone calls. I first called my friend Mindy who has a colic surgery surviving horse and just bursted into tears. I finally mumbled what was going on and she told me her horse's story that she was going to do what ever it took to save her horse Ed and that he's been fine ever since. I also called Laura and asked her what I should do, not fair- I know, but I was at a loss. A thought entered my head of letting him go and using the money to buy a new horse, as fast as the thought had come up, it was back out of my head- the thought of another horse made me sick to my stomach and thus the decision was made to continue with the surgery and save him. Plus it helped when Matt hugged me and said "We can afford this." Lester had 15 ft of his small intestines removed, the technical term of his colic is called "epiploic foramen entrapment" and he also had a twist. The surgery was successful and besides the 13 ft of dying intestines that had to be removed (the extra 2 ft was so that they could resection with good/ living tissue) everthing else looked good.