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Sudden Death in Otherwise Healthy Mare

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  • Horses sudden death
  • Horse sudden death

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    10-19-2012, 09:04 PM
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One good reason is that almost every post I've done or had done was NOT what the Vet thought it was.

The one that comes to mind is the horse about 15 miles away in Mill Creek. A healthy, fat, well cared for 3 year old quit eating, lost about 200 to 300 pounds in about 3 or 4 days. He had no fever, just stood around depressed and not wanting to eat or drink.

Vet came out twice. He tubed him with fluids, gave him several IVs, Pulled blood for a Cogging (came back negative) even though the horse had no fever. Horse was dead one morning. The owner called me. He had called me a couple of times while the horse was sick but thankfully, I did not have time to go down to look at him. I did mention if he had asked the Vet about Rabies. I had seen a bull lose that much weight once with Rabies.

Vet diagnosed him with liver and kidney failure and thought they started when he ate a bad weed or ate too many acorns. I figured the liver and kidney failure were only symptoms and results of what was really wrong.

Long story short -- the owner insisted in sending his brain in to make sure he did not have Rabies because his kids and everyone had messed with his mouth trying to get him to eat something. He came back with rabies and 12 people including the Vet had to have the full series of rabies shots.

I also had a TB stallion that I was going to stand for a man in New Mexico. He had raced 96 times (cheap) and had won about $200,000.00 way back in the early 70s and was still sound. He was a sprinter we were going to breed racing QH mares to. Short racing was real big where I was back then. Several people had already booked mares to him.

One snowy morning in February a neighbor was plowing snow in my driveway and he came running to my house. He told me that the red horse west of the driveway was eating hay and just fell over. I ran out there and sure enough, stud was laying there dead as a rock with a mouthful of hay.

Since I did not own him, I wanted the Vet to do the post on him. Vet came out and said it was a waste of money. His gums were blue and he had obviously died of a heart attack. I asked him to post him anyway so I could tell the owner exactly what happened.

He split his belly open and everything looked fine -- just dark blue from no oxygen. All of his intestines did not tumble out like they usually do, but we just thought that was because it was so cold -- it was probably 10 degrees.

Then he split his chest cavity open and we could not believe what we found. He had a hernia in his diaphragm. About 2 inches of it looked old and about 3 or 4 inches of it looked like a fresh tear. About 15 feet of his small intestine had worked its way through the hernia and had pushed his lungs into one tiny corner and had suffocated him to death. Unbelievably, he had no colic symptoms and was not uncomfortable enough to lay down or to not eat. He just suffocated and keeled over. We thought the peristalsis of his gut movement just fed his small intestine through the hole until no more could fit in his chest cavity.

The Vet called out the other Vet in the clinic and they took about 20 photos and was going to write it up for a Vet magazine. I do not know if they ever did or not. I just know he did not have a heart attack and no one would have ever guessed what he had wrong.

Gee -- I'm sorry. I did not mean to write a book.

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    10-19-2012, 09:57 PM
No need to be sorry, Cherie, your many years of experience with so many different things are well appreciated!!
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    10-20-2012, 01:09 AM
Saddlebag- I'm doubting the Vet because she took the easy way out and "diagnosed" the mare as having colicked. The mare did not colic. And I wouldn't consider myself a layman when evaluating clinical signs.

Cherie- It's extremely evident that you've been in the game for some time. Thank you for sharing your experiences.
    10-20-2012, 02:57 AM
Wow, I'm about 100% sure that doesn't sound like colic. What it was? No idea. That's crazy.
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equine care, equine medicine, health

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