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Sudden Death in Otherwise Healthy Mare

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  • Sudden death of a mare heart attack

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    10-19-2012, 01:04 AM
  #11
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilHorseOfDoom    
Poor thing - did she end up in a vegetative state? Or still functioning? Must have been horrible to watch, it's always awful when there's nothing you can do...
She actually was just about to race that day and she'd thrown a shoe, so we took her out of the cross ties to hold her while the blacksmith put on a new shoe, and then she just went into this crazed robotic state, if you could imagine a kid flipping and rotating a plastic toy horse around, that's what it looked like.

She had to stay at the track where we had travelled to because she obviously couldn't be transported. She stayed there for six months.....and believe it or not the owners sent her back to go into training again! I took care of her for the first week or so while she was at our barn after the accident, and she just walked robotically around her pen, was not very responsive to anything, not dangerous, just switched off, like she couldn't hear or see anything, or she could see and hear but just didn't produce any kind of describable response. The boss asked me to make the call and I said 'no' she should be turned out or perhaps later in the future be a brood mare.....but she was what I would call a functioning vegetable.
     
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    10-19-2012, 03:17 AM
  #12
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by Muppetgirl    
She actually was just about to race that day and she'd thrown a shoe, so we took her out of the cross ties to hold her while the blacksmith put on a new shoe, and then she just went into this crazed robotic state, if you could imagine a kid flipping and rotating a plastic toy horse around, that's what it looked like.

She had to stay at the track where we had travelled to because she obviously couldn't be transported. She stayed there for six months.....and believe it or not the owners sent her back to go into training again! I took care of her for the first week or so while she was at our barn after the accident, and she just walked robotically around her pen, was not very responsive to anything, not dangerous, just switched off, like she couldn't hear or see anything, or she could see and hear but just didn't produce any kind of describable response. The boss asked me to make the call and I said 'no' she should be turned out or perhaps later in the future be a brood mare.....but she was what I would call a functioning vegetable.
That is so sad! Can't believe the owners wanted her to continue racing! I've seen a lot of good and bad in the racing industry and that falls into my "bad" basket...I wonder how she would have been as a broodmare and if she would have cared for her foal or needed a foster mare? If I'm correct her instincts to eat and drink were uninhibited? But mothering is more complex than that, so I would be interested to see. Hmmm.

OP - yes, I would have been incredibly disappointed with that vet too! It really didn't sound like colic at all... But there are good vets and not-so-good vets it seems. I seem to have been lucky in my interactions with them (and with farriers - all mine have been brilliant!). Have you changed vets since? Or not much choice in your area?
     
    10-19-2012, 06:50 AM
  #13
Yearling
Could it be some kind of seizure? Sounds kind of like a mare out here in Hawaii. They assume she has a seizure disorder but no one knows for sure and there are only two eq vets on the island, neither of which I would let take care of my dog let alone my horse. The mare I'm talking about is a little different, but same style of collapsing. Don't let this change your mind. IMO, your going to make one hell of a vet, look how much you care. Just learn from what you feel the other vet could've done differently.
     
    10-19-2012, 08:07 AM
  #14
Foal
Goodness! That is terrifying! Nothing in that episode makes me think colic. At all. I don't blame you for searching for more answers.
     
    10-19-2012, 08:37 AM
  #15
Foal
EHOD-the mare was owned by a boarder, and the boarder used this vet. So, I didn't have my choice of who to call, and hasn't worked with this one before in order to know NOT to call her, unfortunately.

Army- she definitely had a seizure, without question. The question is: what caused the seizure (and everything else, for that matter)? Thank you very much for your support. It means a lot!

Krisfulc- thank you, and yes, it was terrifying, indeed.
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    10-19-2012, 09:35 AM
  #16
Banned
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilHorseOfDoom    
That is so sad! Can't believe the owners wanted her to continue racing! I've seen a lot of good and bad in the racing industry and that falls into my "bad" basket...I wonder how she would have been as a broodmare and if she would have cared for her foal or needed a foster mare? If I'm correct her instincts to eat and drink were uninhibited? But mothering is more complex than that, so I would be interested to see. Hmmm.

OP - yes, I would have been incredibly disappointed with that vet too! It really didn't sound like colic at all... But there are good vets and not-so-good vets it seems. I seem to have been lucky in my interactions with them (and with farriers - all mine have been brilliant!). Have you changed vets since? Or not much choice in your area?
I never did find out if she was used as a broodmare or not....certainly not a riding horse for sure.........yes she went from a horse with a whole lot of sass and personality, to a robot. Yes I think she would've just ignored the foal if she had one.......
     
    10-19-2012, 05:44 PM
  #17
Super Moderator
I do not think it was EEE or WEE or WNV because of the fast onset. VEE has not been around except one time back in the 70s. I saw hundreds of horses die then.

I do not think the horse 'bled out' because there is no place inside the skull for 4 or 5 gallons of blood. Only the stomach cavity can hold that much blood. The pale gums can also be from a catastrophic drop in blood pressure -- shock. That is what I would guess -- but then that is a symptom and not a cause.

The cause of the shock I would guess was a Cardiovascular brain event, either a stroke, aneurism, or some other brain bleed or a tumor that reached a vital spot. Head trauma (like a kick from another horse) could also be a cause.

Vets do not usually initiate postmortem exams unless they 'personally' want to know what happened. Someone has to pay for the exam and they usually are not cheap. If lab work (like tissue samples, etc) are sent in, they are VERY expensive. Someone has to order and pay for most exams. If a contagious disease is suspected, the State Vet may order one, but then they will usually shut down a place with a quarantine until results are back.
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    10-19-2012, 06:45 PM
  #18
Super Moderator
I go along with Cherie, I will also add that horses in a lot of pain will often stand with their head pressing against something or even rock banging their heads against the wall.

I had one brood mare that was not in foal that year. She was fine in the morning and then when I went to feed in the afternoon she started to trot across the field, suddenly staggered, went down, got up, was very disorientated, took off at a gallop and dropped dead before she had gone 100 yards. The only sign was blood from one nostril.
She too was very pale gummed.

The Hunt collected her and I went to see if anything was obvious, which it wasn't
My vet thought it was an aneurism in the brain.

These things happen, it is often put down to a heart attack but they are very rare in horses usually it is a bad internal bleed.
     
    10-19-2012, 07:11 PM
  #19
Showing
I don't know why you are doubting the vet, she went to school for a very long time. There are certain clinical signs they look for that may not be apparent to the layman.
     
    10-19-2012, 08:49 PM
  #20
Trained
How terrible.
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