Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Move. Part 5.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Kaswyn was choking. Now, I had never seen a choke before, but I thought Albert was choking once (I wrote about that here). Based on what the vet has told me, this time Kaswyn was certainly choking. For reals.

He had gobs of stringy, foamy spit coming out of his nose, and every now and then he'd cough up a big glob of it. He also was trying to swallow but would just make a weird little strangling noise instead of actually swallowing. Then occasionally his whole body would shudder, he'd lower his head, invert his neck so that it was bent in the opposite way that it should be bent, and he'd wretch out a big glob of gunk. It was awful to watch.

My trainer was about to leave with her trailer to come and get us, but I called the vet first and told them they needed to send someone out fast. Then I let my trainer know. She said she was coming over anyway because she heard Kaswyn retching on the phone and she wanted to make sure he was ok.

Marge made her way over too, so just as the vet arrived there were four of us to help her - my trainer, her mom, Marge, and I.

First Kaswyn was sedated lightly. This actually went a long way to making him comfortable, since the vet said just relaxing the throat muscles helps. Then she passed a long tube up his nose and into his throat to try and dislodge whatever was stuck there. From the first globs that came out of the hose, she surmised that it was a big hunk of pelleted grain the Kaswyn decided not to chew enough and then swallow in one big gulp.

Once the tube had drained as much as it could, it was time to pump water in there to try and break up and loosen the clog. It took almost an hour of pumping water, draining, trying to advance the tube, pumping more water, more draining, etc, to get the clog broken up and pushed into his stomach. Poor boy got a bloody nose from it too, but with the big huge hose that had to go in there and all the manipulating that had to be done I'm not surprised.

When it was all over the vet said I should not move him to the new barn until Saturday (it was Monday) because moving them to a new environment weakens their immune system and that chocked horses were at risk for aspiration pneumonia. For the next two weeks Kaswyn would not be allowed to have any hay. He would have to eat alfalfa cubes with his grain, really soaked and sloppy with water. Towards the end of the two weeks he could go to wet hay for two weeks, then normal diet.

Since the risk of aspiration pneumonia exists with choked horses, Kaswyn had to be on 10 days of antibiotics. The vet also gave him a shot of banamine and gave me enough banamine paste for the following three days. This is to help any inflammation in his throat go down so that he won't have as much discomfort eating.

To check for pneumonia we had to check his temperature twice a day. If it gets to 102 degrees then we have to call a vet out immediately. She said even 101.5 would be cause to take his temperature more often, because usually if it gets that high then it's probably just going up.

So in the end, Kaswyn did not move on November first. But I did get him moved to the new place. He's been there since Friday and he seems to be settling in well. I've ridden him once, lightly, and he was just fine. He never spiked a fever or had any issues with eating his cubes. He went to eating wet hay yesterday and I'm sure he didn't have a problem.

I've ridden a few of the other horses there, including Lee, the buckskin half-Arab. I'm having a lot of fun. It's really nice to have people to ride with, or at least people to talk to. Most of the time at the other barn I would show up and ride the two horses and never see anybody. It got lonely. So I'm thinking this is great.

Sure, I've got the share the arena, which I never had to do before. But it's a bigger space so there is plenty of room for someone to lunge in one end and have two people riding also.

The drive is longer, and I'm not liking that, but the pros outweigh the cons. right now it looks like it's going to work out very well.

So what's next? Kaswyn's getting surgery at OSU on November 23rd to fix his painful neuromas. Right now he's sound due to the last serapin injection. Lets hope the surgery makes it permanent!


Achieve1dream said...

Awww poor baby. I'm glad he's okay and that he's moved and seems fine. It must be such a huge relief to have it all behind you now. Smooth sailing from here on out. :D

Now Thats A Trot! said...

Poor Kaswyn! Choke is so scary. Glad to hear he's recovering and settling into his new home.

Val said...

Man, that was scary. Great story.

Becki D. said...

Oh my gosh! I just stumbled onto your blog searching for dressage....and here you're posting about choke.

Last weekend my mare choked - until then I didn't know it was possible for a horse to actually choke or regurgitate. She had the same things going on though...distended neck, horrible full-body hacking, stringy saliva coming out both nostrils AND her mouth. It was horrifying and I really thought she was dying.

We live WAY off the beaten trail, though, and it was well into a Saturday evening when this happened - I couldn't get any of the vets on the phone! So we muddled through it with Google searches, which let us know what was going on and what took look out for and NOT to try to wash it out with a hose.

We also discovered that choking is more common with older horses on Senior feeds, which my mare is both. Since then we've been watering her feed before each meal, and so far so good.

Anyway! Love the blog and glad I found ya!

Jen said...

Happy to hear Kaswyn's okay - whew! I stopped feeding the "dry" pellets because of choke; we switched to a sweet feed. Of course ours are not kept in stalls, so it's an easier decision for us (if they start feeling frisky they can play off any extra energy :o)
My understanding of choke is that once it has happened, the horse remains at a higher risk for recurrence; that's why we stopped feeding the dry pellets (although it can happen with other things too). The pellets expand considerably when they get wet - that includes saliva - and they can easily turn into a nasty clump if not chewed completely, causing choke. Max has a small brick in his bucket that forces him to root around and eat more slowly even with the sweet (without it he tends to bolt his feed). Didn't mean to ramble on and on here...
So glad you are liking the new barn - it sounds wonderful!

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