Concerned for Hugo. - The Horse Forum

 
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post #1 of 8 Old 07-14-2011, 02:59 AM Thread Starter
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Concerned for Hugo.

I am a bit worried about one of my "older" geldings. He is only 18 so not technically old. He is very slightly under ideal weight at the moment, but by no means thin.

When I pulled his rug off yesterday I noticed he was very sunken in at his flanks like he hadn't been drinking. Now this is the horse who choked a few days ago so has been getting his feeds as soup so I know he has been getting some water, although maybe not as much as he needs.

So I gave him the once over and noticed that his eyes were a bit dull and his anus is really sunken in, like what you would see on an emaciated horse. My first thought was dehydration.

This morning his flanks are filled in again, his eyes are brighter, but his anus is still sunken in. The only other time I have seen it like that was after he colicked last year and was sick for 5 days.

My gut is telling me I need to have him looked at by a vet, but am hoping that you guys might be able to give me some advice and ideas to avoid that if possible. I will absolutely call the vet if necessary, but if I can resolve it at home that would be ideal.

This is him yesterday after I pulled his rug off, he was a bit sweaty on the shoulders.


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post #2 of 8 Old 07-14-2011, 07:09 AM
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HC, After a choke their throats are raw and swallowing is painful, so it makes sense to me that he may not be eating or drinking normally yet

I would keep him by himself if you manage it, and continue with the soft food and monitor water intake if you can.

I'd be more worried about dehydration at this point - I check by pinching a fold of skin up on the neck and seeing how quickly it snaps back. I'd also be checking the color of his muscosa and cap refill.

However, if this was my horse, I would wait a few more days before calling the vet. To me, what you're seeing is to be expected in a horse after a major chocking incicent. That's not to say that calling the vet now isn't an excellent idea and what I call "cheap sleep" but that I don't think you're being horrible or neglectful by waiting. If at any point signs of dehydration increase, well, then yes, I'd be on the phone to the vet.

Last edited by maura; 07-14-2011 at 07:35 AM.
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post #3 of 8 Old 07-14-2011, 07:15 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maura View Post
HC, After a choke their throats are raw and swallowing is painful, so it makes sense to me that he may not be eating or drinking normally yet

I would keep him by himself if you manage it, and continue with the soft food and monitor water intake if you can.

I'd be more worried about dehydration at this point - I check by pinching a fold of skin up on the neck and seeing how quickly it snaps back. I'd also be checking the color of his muscosa and cap refill.

However, if this was my horse, I would wait a few more days before calling the vet. To me, what you're seeing is to be expected in a horse after a major chokcing incicent. That's not to say that calling the vet now isn't an excellent idea and what I call "cheap sleep" but that I don't think you're being horrible or neglectful by waiting. If at any pint signs of dehydration increase, well, then yes, I'd be on the phone to the vet.
Thanks Maura. I am glad that I am not being too horrible by playing wait and see at this stage.

I did check his mucosa (pink) and cap refill (normal) when I first noticed he was off. Didn't even think to do the pinch test.

I can definitely bring him up and yard him for a few days. Only reason I haven't is because that would mean taking him off the good pasture! Might throw some electrolytes in his water too.

He is less sunken in this evening, although still a little dopey looking.

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post #4 of 8 Old 07-14-2011, 07:22 AM
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Could his dull and sunken look be from simple lack of work and loss of muscle tone?

I know it is winter and yucky there.

If you are worried about his hydration level add some electrolytes to the mash you are feeding him. You can also make his mash more soup like than it already is.
You can also drench his hay with water, that gets more water into them.

From what you say about him, it sounds like he is the type of take a bit to recover from his issues. Since the gleam is back in his eye maybe just keep an eye on him for another day to see if he improves even more.



Another thought - hadn't you had a whole boat load of rain recently? He was getting quite a bit of moisture just grazing because of the rain and wet ground. Between being sick and the auto moisture intake from the grass he might just not be drinking quite as much as he should.

ETA - What Maura said.... (That is what happens when you leave the window open and get distracted by work.)
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post #5 of 8 Old 07-14-2011, 07:30 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Alwaysbehind View Post
Could his dull and sunken look be from simple lack of work and loss of muscle tone?

I know it is winter and yucky there.

If you are worried about his hydration level add some electrolytes to the mash you are feeding him. You can also make his mash more soup like than it already is.
You can also drench his hay with water, that gets more water into them.

From what you say about him, it sounds like he is the type of take a bit to recover from his issues. Since the gleam is back in his eye maybe just keep an eye on him for another day to see if he improves even more.



Another thought - hadn't you had a whole boat load of rain recently? He was getting quite a bit of moisture just grazing because of the rain and wet ground. Between being sick and the auto moisture intake from the grass he might just not be drinking quite as much as he should.
He has been semi-retired for almost 12 months now, so I don't think lack of work would be the issue as he has looked healthy before now. Obviously, not much by way of muscle, but otherwise healthy.

He is definitely the type to take a while to bounce back. Not to mention the horse that is always getting himself in to trouble, one way or another. Haha.

We did have a lot of rain the past few weeks and the grass was definitely full of moisture. It has been pretty dry now for a week or so and the grass is losing some moisture so that is definitely a possibility too.

Now that you guys have put my mind at ease as far as this not being a "call the vet this instant" kind of thing, I think I will keep monitoring him for a few days and hope he continues to improve. If he doesn't improve or, heaven forbid, gets worse I will call the vet out then.

Thank you!

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post #6 of 8 Old 07-14-2011, 07:49 AM
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If they only knew how much they make us worry.
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post #7 of 8 Old 07-14-2011, 01:45 PM
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I've never had to deal with a choke on one of my own horses but what Maura said sounds exceptionally logical. I would also give him a bit more time and monitor him closely.

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post #8 of 8 Old 07-14-2011, 05:46 PM
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You said he was in the good pasture? If so it is winter there now correct? During the winter when grass goes dormant it has more sugar in it. I am assuming that "winter" in australia is similar to winters in the USA where the grass goes dormant. If that is the case like I said the grass will have more sugar in it which should also help him with the dehydration and feed. BUT it could also be hindering him if he may have suddenly become diabetic and the high sugar grass is making him sick. A pony at my barn has this issue and she cannot eat grass.
Hopefully that all made sense.

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