Monday, October 10, 2011

Three-peat and Worried About Pie

Yesterday was glorious again, and once again I rode all three horses. Due to the holiday weekend there were lots of people, bikes and dogs out and around, and it was also somewhat windy.

Dawn was good, although never completely relaxed.  We did some good work, including some very nice spiral out and leg yield work at the trot.  We're still searching for relaxation, and we'll get there - she needs to be in consistent work again.

Drifter was very up - there was a big piece of plastic that a community gardener had put over their tomato plants that had come partly loose and was doing its best imitation of a sail, and the goat had visitors, but Drifter held it together and we did some nice work, including some work on him moving off my leg to the side - his turn on the haunches is pretty nice and his leg yield/spiral out work is coming along although he struggles when we're bent to the right.  We didn't canter since I wasn't getting enough relaxation or consistent attention at the trot.

Then Pie and I had a nice 40-minute walking trail ride with Charisma involving various excitements - a motorcycle starting up right near us, children playing badminton in their yard and another child on a swing, although with various other things - running children, bikes and lots of shrieking children as well.  Pie was reasonably forward and was able to keep up with Charisma pretty well, but he was a bit "punky" later in the evening - the first time in over 10 days.

I had of course been hoping against hope that whatever was the matter with Pie had just gone away, but it hasn't.  Our p.m. barn lady texted me about 7:30 p.m. to say that he was standing in his paddock, not eating and looking uncomfortable - not his normal evening self.  When I got over there a bit later, he was lying down on his mat.  He wasn't groaning but his breathing was a bit labored - he clearly hurt and had that "far away" look horses get where they're preoccupied by how they feel.  But he was fairly responsive to me, which meant that although he was hurting it wasn't as bad as he'd been on some previous occasions.  I sat down on the ground by him for a while.  Then he started to pass some gas, so I thought walking around might help.  I got his halter and he willingly got to his feet and we marched around his paddock in the moonlight for a while.  That seemed to help and when I left him he seemed more comfortable.

I came back later to check on him and he was nibbling the scant grass in his paddock - a good sign.  He'd snarfed up 3 flakes of hay in a couple of hours that evening, and it's clear that that much hay in that short a time creates a backup somewhere in his system - hence the discomfort and gas.  His digestive system clearly has limited capacity, so I'll be trying to spread his evening hay out a bit more to see if that makes him more comfortable.

This morning he was his normal cheerful self and went out happily to the pasture after breakfast.  I spent some time later in the morning just hanging out with him in the pasture while he grazed.  He gets blood drawn again on Wednesday so we can see how his liver is doing.  For now, he's pretty happy most of the time and that's a good thing.

23 comments:

  1. Hi from Italy =)
    what a beautiful blog!
    please stay in touch with our show jumping blog: www.iconadeironchi.blogspot.com
    and also on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/IDR/133709530041269

    hope to see you soon

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  2. Oh Pie! It is so frustrating not to have answers!

    But getting three nice rides in, that is good!

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  3. Has your weather had a change recently? I know Jaz has been known to be off when the temps drop. He doesn't drink enough and acts for all the world as if he's about to colic.

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  4. Leah - no, no weather change - based on what the vets at U Wisc said, it may be that the lumps in his abdomen press or pull on his intestines, and when he eats too much he gets very uncomfortable. We just need to spread his hay out more so he doesn't eat too much at once.

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  5. Seems like you might have figured it out...but it is not easy to spread out their hay all the time. You are one BUSY rider! I'm impressed.

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  6. Oh - How I wish you would get some answers and a cure for Pie. Eacj time I see on my blog that you have updated yours I so hope it is good news. Pippi had about three weeks last winter with off and on stomach issues, and we changed her feed (SafeChoice) and gave her some probiotics.
    A friend changed to only feeding the hay from a hay bag, and it did wonders for her horse who had colic symptoms. I guess eating with an elevated head helped. I don't know....
    best wishes

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  7. Kate--I know you are working on this already--but I have had other horses who were uncomfortable (mildly colicked) at feeding time from eating too fast. Also, I would never dare feed Henry three flakes of hay in a couple of hour period--after his colic surgery he gets fed one flake of hay three times a day. Given that Pie has the pattern of colicking after the (I assume heaviest feeding of the day) evening feeding--I'd sure be tempted to feed him equal amounts of hay three times a day--if that's possible. I hope you find a solution that works for you and Pie. Repeated colic episodes are so frustrating...and worrying. Good wishes.

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  8. Laura - we're implementing a plan like that - he's out on pasture from around 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. when he comes into his dry lot paddock (to keep him off the higher-sugar p.m. grasses). He'll get one flake of hay at around 4, another at around 7 and one at bedtime at 9 or 10 p.m. It helps a lot that I only live about 200 yards away!

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  9. oh Pie, oh Pie , I get so worried about you! You must eat more slowly maybe? There are probably all kinds of food dishes for horses like you if that what the trouble is. You must have awfully yummy hay to snarf it up so fast! I myself have a sensitive gut so I know how yucky you feel. Good thing your mum is taking such loving care of you.

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  10. Have you thought about using a slow feeding bag? That might keep him from stuffing his belly too quickly.

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  11. smazourek - yes, we're trying out a Busy Horse bag - he doesn't like it much - he wants to stuff his face . . . !

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  12. Good for you with the rides, but I wish Pie was not having tummy trouble. I am glad that you are trying the hay bag. Did the vet give any reason why he would be having this trouble now and earlier in his life?

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  13. It does sound like spreading out his hay over a number of smaller feedings might be a good idea. Poor Pie.

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  14. I hope sweet Pie gets over the hump with the way he has been feeling.

    The weather has been spectacular here too.

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  15. Sounds like you have plenty of good advice on slow feeding and a plan in place. Hope this solves it!

    Have you talked to his previous owner to see what the difference in how he is eating?

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  16. Val - if he does have lymphosarcoma - which is one of the possibilities on the vets' list due to the multiple lumps in his abdomen - it typically arises in horses aged 4 to 10, and Pie is 5. The vets couldn't give a definitive diagnosis since the lumps weren't accessible. I'm hoping that's not what it is as the prognosis for that is very poor. We think of cancer as a disease of older horses, but this type typically arises in young horses.

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  17. Poor pie! I must be hard to see him like that. Hope he gets better real soon.

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  18. Poor Pie! He is lucky to have you.

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  19. Kate, you mentioned that Pie wasn't too crazy about his busy hay bag. My Diesel (mini hinny) pretty much refused to eat from his. But, he finally seemed to get the hang of it. We pack ours pretty full and then pull out tufts through the open squares. He saw that and finally got the hang of it. Now, he loves it. Our guys get morning hay on the ground, then some turn out and then their nibble nets all afternoon. They really look forward to that. Keeps them busy and eating slower. Good luck, been thinking about you so much. Hope the slow feeders will help.
    Marianne

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  20. So frustrating about Pie. I hope your new feeding program helps him feel better.

    Lovely again to be able to ride three good horses, so at least the day was a delight.

    Sending hugs for you and your boy. <><><><><><><><><><><>

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  21. So sorry about Pie's ongoing issues...so frustrating! I'd be worried sick!

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  22. We have the Nibble Net bags and the very basic, cheap, small mesh hay nets. Mine are very intrigued with the bags but prefer the small mesh nets. I know some folks even double net the hay to slow them down even more - I've never had to do that, but it is amazing how much longer the hay lasts in the nets than loose.

    That might be an option for Pie.

    Most of the time I spread the entire huge serving of hay for all 6 equines in tiny little "piles" all over whichever field they are in, which means they walk and eat, walk and eat, for hours at a time. Not sure if you can do that with him, but if he needs to slow down the eating and if moving helps (with gas, etc.) it might also be something to try.

    Sending good thoughts and I hope this gets sorted out for him.

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  23. I'm hoping along with everyone that Pie is ok and you can find a good way to manage his issues. Sounds like you're on a good track.

    I'm glad you are getting some good work done with everyone!

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