Friday, August 27, 2010


Yellow is a nice color. Just not when it's the color of your horse's eye whites and gums.
We've finally had a break in the heat wave and Wednesday's forecast was for temperatures in the 80s, so I decided to tag along on a group ride out in Flag Springs. When I went to get my gelding from the pasture, he didn't seem at all excited or even happy to see me. Weird. This horse would crawl in your pocket if he was small enough (he's 16 hands but thinks he's a pup). Checking him out, he was lethargic and I thought his eyes looked funny. With a closer look, the whites were actually a deep yellow. His gums were yellow, too.
Jaundice. Not good. So instead of going on a relaxing trail ride on a beautiful day, we loaded Johnny up and headed to the vet's 45 minutes away. Of course, worst-case scenarios were going through my head.
The vet was great & very thorough. Other than the jaundice and depressed attitude, everything else checked out fine: heart, lungs, gut. The blood panel showed that two elements related to the liver were quite elevated. The vet settled on one of two scenarios: Johnny either ingested a toxin (ie, a weed in the pasture) or he had a stone blocking the bile duct. While both are serious, the latter would be more expensive and complicated to treat. We went ahead & treated Johnny as if he'd eaten something toxic: banamine for the inflammation, antibiotics, and a nasty batch of charcoal tubed into his stomach. The charcoal worked its way through his system and ((hopefully)) absorbed the toxins. Several hundred dollars and hours later, we were on our way home.

Today--almost 48 hours later--he seems to be doing better and perking up. He's happy to see me, is getting spoiled rotten with oats, treats and a hay buffet. I have everything crossed that he will recover.

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