Tuesday, September 28, 2010


That is the only title I can think of right now, because I don't know the outcome of this story.
Last Thursday evening I got a phone message from Ace's owner. It didn't sound like an emergency, and the phone number was garbled. Mom was out of town for the weekend, so I couldn't confirm the number. I tried a couple of combinations, and gave up. The next day I called the stallion owner for another reason, figuring I could also get the number from him. But I couldn't reach him... all day. No one had called again, so I sort of let it go but was starting to worry. Saturday morning, the stallion owner called me back and filled me in.

Thursday Ace was showing signs of severe colic, grabbing his side throwing himself about and casting himself in his stall twice. All normal colic procedures were started... Banamine, walking up and down hills... but there were no gut sounds. It seemed to be an impaction type, not a gas type. Our regular vet was tied up with other emergencies. Ace's owner called the stallion owner, and they decided the best course of action was to take Ace back to Cornell. So, the stallion owner hit the road (over an hour) and together they headed to Cornell (another 3 hours) arriving at 1am. The trailer ride seemed to help, and he was now passing manure. Ace was very dehydrated, but other tests did not indicate colic. (?) He was tubed with mineral oil, put on IV fluids and placed under observation.

The next day he was given wet hay, and his pain symptoms started all over again, primarily the self mutilation to his left side and anger but some Banamine eased it. By Saturday Ace's vet bill had reached his owner's spending limit, and while they had no real answers to the problem, he was eating and passing manure and so was cleared to come home. Because of shift changes, he had been seen by three different vets. The last vet said she has a hunch that there is something malformed inside, and that it isn't a new occurrence. The fact that he began self mutilating so early (prior to his first birthday) , the cryptorchid surgery did not alleviate it, and in fact, it has become progressively worse, one would think that he might have some congenital defect that is causing him intermittent pain. That intermittent pain would also explain the unpredictability of his temper from day to day. Without exploratory surgery (which would increase his vet bill to $10,000-13,000 with aftercare), there is no way to know. Faced with a risky and expensive surgery and no clear diagnosis, his owner opted to bring him home and see what happens.

Three days have passed without another episode, but she says he still isn't back to normal. Of course, he has been poked with needles, displaced and dealt with quite a bit of pain, and I probably wouldn't act quite right after that either. We've all agreed that it isn't fair to expect him to weather another bad colic and trailer ride. That's the thing with horses. Sometimes you just don't know what to do.


Catherine said...

So sorry to hear this, praying for a speedy and no more episodes for Ace

Catherine said...

oops....speedy recovery!

Melissa-ParadigmFarms said...

Horses can be so expensive and hearbreaking. It sounds like his in a great home with caring people. I hope he doesn't have any more episodes, sounds scary and frustrating.

Kaede said...

I'm so sorry. I've loved reading about Ace from the beginning. I feel like he is a good friend's horse.

Jason said...

It's been a long day and I just now sat down at the computer. I'm sorry to hear about Ace too; must be incredibly disheartening for everyone involved.