Friday, September 30, 2011

Still a Mystery

I went up to spend the day with Pie again at the University of Wisconsin veterinary hospital.  He's doing well - no "episodes" but then he hasn't had that much to eat yet - but is shiny and sassy and very sweet - all the staff and students like him.  He gets several walks a day outside in their sand/rubber pellet footing walking area, and the vet student who's in charge of him even brushes him.  He's not happy about being confined to a stall the rest of the time - he tells me about it - and has taken to mischief like untying the rope that secures the IV hanger (which he isn't using) or figuring out how to pick up his water dish.

Today the senior vet and resident did some repeats of exams - ultrasounds and rectals - that were done yesterday - since his GI tract was much emptier, they wanted to verify that the nodules were still there, and not just fecal matter.  They were still there - at least a half dozen that the vet could palpate just at the end of his reach when doing the rectal exam - there may or may not be more out of reach.  Ultrasounds of this area are difficult at best - Pie is too big and his abdomen is too broad. At least one seemed to be attached to the outer surface of the colon.  They also did an abdominal tap, to see if any abnormal cells (white cells or cells indicating certain types of cancer) showed up, and to also start cultures (which will take about 48 hours) to see if any bacteria show up.  So far everything looks normal - there are no abnormal cells in his abdominal fluid, and his blood work is normal except for slightly elevated GGT enzymes.

The initial thoughts were that Pie might have bastard strangles - encapsulated strep inside his abdomen.  The senior vet now thinks this isn't likely - his blood work, the fact he's not at all sick in that way and the lack of white cells in his abdominal tap make this less probable although it's still possible.  He also clearly doesn't have certain types of cancers that tend to shed cells into the abdominal space.  At this point we don't know what he has - he sure doesn't look or act like a horse with cancer of any type.  We've done the non-invasive tests that can be done - x-rays won't help in this case due to the type of thing and the location.  A biopsy isn't practical - the location is risky and the nodules tend to be very moveable.  Opening him up for surgical examination isn't warranted at this time and would be very risky.

So we really don't know.  They're going to keep increasing his hay and pellets over the next day or so - since he's already there - and see if he experiences another episode of colic pain - they can then take a closer look to see what's really happening.  At this point we're taking things one day at a time - but then that's how Pie always takes things and I'm trying to emulate his good example.

21 comments:

  1. I am sure you are all researching and trying to figure this out. ((Hugs))

    I do not know if this will be of any help but my gray horse has external melanomas. I read somewhere that bay and chestnuts tend to have internal melanomas. Have no idea what this would present as but passing it along.

    May you find an answer and one that can be worked upon.

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  2. Oh Kate, this must be so hard for you. Good for you for taking it one day at a time but boy I imagine it's not easy. At least some serious things have been ruled out. That's a start. Thinking of you and Mr.Pie.

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  3. Thanks for the update. Keep posting them. I'm thinking about you two a lot.

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  4. Why am I not surprised that the students and staff like him. He's wonderful boy. I really hate to hear the "C" word and I hope he will continue to be on the right path. What a mystery. In a way, I hope they find something, but then again, I don't. Very mixed emotions here. No doubt for you too. (understatement)

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  5. I have back tracked and read this whole ordeal. My heart goes out to you and I am waiting with baited breath to see what the answer is. Poor, sweet Pie, but it sounds like he is in great hands (including yours).

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  6. Dangit, Kate, I haven't had time for days to catch up on my blog reading and was really hoping to hear that everything had cleared. So sorry to hear you are still trying to find a diagnosis--but I am glad to hear that he's doing well enough to be irritated about being stalled. I sure hope they find an answer for him soon.

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  7. Hope they are able to resolve this issue for your sweet Pie

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  8. Oh Kate! A very stressful time. I hope you get some answers soon.

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  9. Poor Pie! Tell him I said get well soon. I hope you find some answers I bet this is stressful.

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  10. Kate...What happens with the nodules? Is it possible to remove them or what are there other alternatives? I sure am not familiar with this.

    It sounds like sweet Pie has already made some friends. Hope this gets straightened out soon.

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  11. Sounds like everyone is doing everything they can to come to a conclusion and diagnosis.
    Sure hope they can figure it all out soon so Pie can be healthy and come back home again.

    ~Lisa

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  12. I can imagine how nerve-wracking this must be for you. At least Pie seems to be taking things into his stride. Hope they'll find the answer soon. Best wishes for you and Pie!

    Sandra

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  13. Poor Pie! Poor Kate! Sorry for all the stress. Hoping they can figure this out! Hugs to both of you!

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  14. I'm so sorry, I was really hoping it was all over, then caught up on you both. I'm keeping you and Pie in my thoughts...

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  15. I hope you get some answers soon. You both deserve a break.

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  16. Very frustrating to not know what it is, but good news that Pie is healthy in all the tests they have performed. Poor honey.

    Do you think Pie eats too much and too fast at home? They have him starved out and they are entering the food back now. Do you think maybe Pie gorges his food at home because it is a greater amount - or maybe a stall neighbor is perceived as menacing and Pie thinks he has to eat fast? Maybe horses can't gobble faster than is safe - I can't remember. My own Pie pushes everyone out, but then he eats slow. He still eats faster than the brothers, but it isn't gorging. Maybe your Pie shovels undigested food down too quickly and it clogs up. You definitely know already that the small amount of food they are giving him isn't causing an episode so that is good. It would be horrible if he was at the hospital and was still having painful episodes and they couldn't find the cause. At least now you have one variable that kind of works - small amounts of food.

    More good thoughts your way. Your Pie is the sweetest boy!

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  17. Poor Pie. I'm thinking of you both and wishing you the best.

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  18. Has anyone mentioned lipomas? They can create the same sort of colicky symptoms.

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  19. Oh no! I just came back from vacation and found out Pie is in the hospital. You must be worried sick!

    I'll keep my fingers crossed for him.

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  20. I'm so sorry! Pie is in good hands, I'm sure the vets will get to the bottom of this soon. Until then, keep your spirits up. Pie is certainly doing a good job keeping his up.... Untying the IV hangar, what a cheeky bugger!

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  21. Just caught up on everything on the blog since I haven't seen you at the barn. If you need help with your home horses let me know.

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