I went out today to feed Baby Girl. It was about 2:00 pm, so she'd been in her stall for a couple hours. I turned her out in the round pen for a couple minutes for release from energy. She trotted and snorted like a crazy Arab while I sat in the middle and snapped pictures with my phone. Two came out okay, so I figured I'd share.
Went on another conditioning ride today! I GPS'd it this time. We went a total of 8 miles in one hour and 15 minutes (excluding a 10 minute break to check P&Rs and a 20 minute warm up walk in the beginning). Crunch the numbers, and that puts our average speed at 6 mph. Seems a little slow, but we did a lot of walking.
Her P&Rs were fine too. She wasn't the least bit stressed. For the next week or two, I'll keep doing rides about that same pace, but maybe spend more time out. I'll try to put in at least two long (three hour) rides a week.
Between those, I might a shorter (one hour) ride with an average speed of 8 mph. That'll require a lot of trotting, some cantering, and very little walking.
I'll put in some arena work too, as well as obstacles. Wouldn't want to neglect the finesse.
That'll be my basic conditioning plan for the rest of summer. If everything goes well, we'll give 'em hell at Heart of Dixie.
Today we did nothing but sit around and graze in the shady, wooded spot near the gelding pasture. It's a nice place to hang out during summer. Minus the gnats, which were terrible. Sometimes, it's nice to just be. Just sit together and eat some grass.
It's 2 in the morning, and it's been a scary night, guys. Something's wrong with Baby Girl.
At 6:30 pm yesterday, a student and I went on a little ride. She rode BG and I rode Amber. We rode walk/trot/canter for 30 minutes. Light work for BG and nothing I haven't done with her before.
I always walk for the last five or ten minutes, back to the barn. I noticed BG was sweating from head to tail. Even her face was sweating heavily. This isn't normal for her. Amber was hardly sweating. I wasn't sure what to make of it.
Back at the barn, student untacks BG and hoses her off with cold water. It takes 7 minutes on average for BG's P&Rs to come down to normal. After 15 minutes, I was concerned. I really started to pay attention at that point. She was panting hard --absolutely heaving -- and her heart was going a mile a minute.
I cold hosed that horse for 40 minutes. She was so hot. I've never felt a horse put off that much heat for so long.
I knew there was absolutely something majorly wrong here. I called the Boss over. We took her heart and resp properly: pulse of 22 and resp around 19. After 40 minutes of standing under cool water.
I tried to walk her out of the wash rack. My heart stopped. She couldn't hardly move. Her back end was bizarrely effected. She had a hard time moving her back legs. She dragged them.
We pulled her into the front yard. She munched a little grass. P&Rs roughly the same. No gut sounds. Cap refill slow. Gums sticky. Blood pressure low.
We called the vet. The guy on call wasn't a horse specialist. He wasn't much help. It was too late to take her anywhere.
We called Paula. She suggested BG had been bitten by a snake, but we found no evidence of that. She told us to test the range of motion in her back legs. It was minimal on both legs, front, back, and to the side. Paula guessed it was her back. True, her back did look different than normal. More rounded, but only slightly. You wouldn't see it as abnormal if you didnt know the horse.
After she finally stopped putting off heat all over, nothing in particular was hot and there was no swelling anywhere.
At this point, BG became very lethargic. She was no longer interested in grass. Her eyes were glassy and unfocused. She hung her head and zoned out.
We gave her bute at the vet's suggestion at around 8:00 pm. She showed no improvement.
We put her in the round pen with water and hay. She didn't touch it. No interest. I sat with her for 2 hours. She didn't move from where she was standing. She didn't even move her head.
Since nothing was improving, we gave her a bantamine shot at 10 pm. This helped. She started to regain alertness, but didn't try to walk. She began to nose at her hay soon after, but didn't eat.
Around 11:30 pm. I offered her a hand full of grain. She took it. She was quite alert at this point, but took no steps. She began munching on hay and drank a little water.
Since then, she's been eating hay. Her breathing still hasn't returned to resting, probably due to pain. I'm spending the night at the barn and will check on her hourly. Tomorrow, we are going to see an equine specialist vet and do whatever we need to do.
Thank you Paintsrule! It's been working, because she's a lot better today.
At 8:00 am this morning, she was walking around. She was short stepping severely in the back and shuffling. Her butt muscles were rock hard and sore, though not hot to the touch. She didn't appear to be in a lot of pain. Just stiff, a little achy, and not quite herself. She eat her morning grain happily and had finished off her hay during the night. Even though she was so so so much better, I got her a vet appointment anyway. The appointment is for tomorrow at 3:00 pm at Central Georgia Equine Services. Which I'm excited about this seeing. I've never been to a big vet facility.
I went home for a couple hours (finally got some rest!) and came back to the farm around 4:00 pm. Baby Girl was standing in her stall and looking rather sluggish. I took her out for a short walk to eat some grass. Her walking was more fluid than that morning.
Amy came by. She's a believer in homeopathic stuff and energy healing and other "crazy" stuff. I thought it was pretty crazy, but I can't dis it until I try it. She had some little herb pills. I don't remember what the plant's name's were, but they were for treating nerve pain and muscle soreness, respectively. Amy says her horses love the stuff and will pick the pill they need for whatever is ailing them.
Funny thing. I could have sworn it worked a little. Could be a fluke.
I'm not sure about the energy healing thing. Supposedly, a person can make a ball of energy and allow your horse to take it from you and use it. Amy says Baby Girl caught on to the concept immediately and loves taking her some energy.
I was like, "Alrighty then..."
Whether it works or not, I'm going to research it. Knowledge is magic.
I put Baby Girl back into the round pen alone for another night. I soaked her with the hose and put her in there dripping, hoping it would tempt her to roll. I imagine that would help stretch out her back a little. Before I left, she would trot the fence line for a couple strides and toss her head, like she wanted to play. I'm glad she's feeling better.
I still want to know what the hell make her so sick in the first place. So I can make sure it never happens again.
Im so glad to hear she's doing better! She seems like such a neat horse i'd hate for her to have something go wrong. I'll continue to think of her and pray for continued recovery and answers about whats ailing her so she can get all fixed up and be back to being your wonderful endurance partner!
Baby Girl is acting very normal. Bright eyed, alert, eating, drinking, moving.
However, today was the scariest day, because the vet told me my horse was lucky to be alive.
Dr. Cook (amazing lady) did a blood panel. Take a look:
Look at the potassium (K+). Normal is 3.5. Hers were almost off the effing chart. Her muscle enzymes were also so high they were off the charts. So high the vet's machines couldn't give us a number. They had to send it off to UGA to get a real number.
That's 48 hours later. Imagine what it was when she was really sick.
Dr Cook was amazed she lived. From the symptoms I described, this was severe Rhabdomyolysis. Commonly known as tying-up or azoturia. The vet said on a scale of one to ten, this was a nine. And that's only because all the ten horses were dead. It was one of the worse cases she's ever seen.
Horses die from this. Baby Girl almost died in that round pen two nights ago, right in front of me.
Vet said if I had just left her alone and not cared for her like I did, she wouldn't have made it. Everything we did -- the bute, the banamine, holding food and water up to her nose, staying with her all night -- saved her. Especially the water. Something as easy as holding water up to her nose to drink was a deciding factor. That's how tedious the situation was.
Another deciding factor was that fact that she is a tough, badass little fighter.
It's a amazing she got away without permanent kidney damage and didn't go into renal failure. With those blood test results, it's a **** miracle.
It wasn't a text book case. We aren't sure what triggered it. Light exercise for 30 minutes. That's all we did. What happened. What was different. Why that ride. Why not when I went 60 miles? When I galloped the last three miles in at Uwharrie?
The vet suggested this Rhabdomyolysis was genetic rather than from a lay off or high grain diet. The triggers aren't well known, but something set it off. Once you have one attack that severe, you know your horse is prone to it. The rate of recurrence is higher now.
Her whole diet has to be changed to protect her. That's what the vet said; I had to protect her now. We have to cut out carbs and sugars. Baby Girl now has to draw all her fuel from fat. She'll be consuming one pound of oil or other fat source daily, split between two meals. There isn't a "treatment" for Rhabdo after you get out of the danger zone; only prevention.
We're going back to the vet for more blood work in about two weeks. Until then, no exercise for Baby Girl. Once her enzymes are normal, the vet will give me an exercise program to slowly bring her back. Consistent exercise if important for Rhabdo horses.
Baby Girl is now two kinds of special... A special miracle and special needs.
Didn't do much today (since we're not allowed to ), but just wanted to update and say Baby Girl is getting her personality back. She's starting to act quirky again and is trotting around the pasture a bit. I'm having a hard time getting her to eat all the oil she's suppose to be getting... Anyone have a favorite dry fat source? Is rice brain a good choice?
Baby Girl didn't act like she was feeling well today. Probably because of the heat. It was 106 degrees. She was standing in her stall sweating. I went back mid afternoon and rinsed her off with cold water.
"This week has really sucked."
She's gone on strike and refuses to eat her oil/grain mixture. She ate it under protest when I added soaked alfalfa pellets.
Barn life has been so boring since I'm not allowed to work her. Meh.