Wednesday, February 8, 2012


There are some days that begin better than others. After having had several very pleasant days in a row of fabulous early spring weather, today looked to be another of  the same with clear to hazy blue skies, chirping birds filling the slightly cool morning air, just another day in paradise. Then, from my kitchen window an unusual shade of green coming from the pool area met my eyes. 

My experiment with water treatment yesterday had obviously not been the right thing to do, and the result was not good. It was not an algae green that glared at me, this was more of a sci-fy, other worldly putrid chartreuse, emerald, meets baby poo, shade that is now way over my head in diagnosing. The pool company will have to resolve this chemical nightmare, again.
Next out the door to head to the barn told yet another uh oh in my view. This time I could see that it was a horse laying down, contrary to a normal place and time. It was my mare Sunset, who normally greets my arrival for feeding time, her favorite activity, with raucous whinnies, sharply perked ears, head high looking over the fence in keen anticipation of food to come. There she was now laying in the mud and shade and I thought a big uh oh but watched further before calling the vet.
Reluctantly she got up and curled her lip up over her nose, a posture indicating a bit of discomfort, and a usual sign of a colic beginning. I fed the rest of the anxious herd, gave her a dose of pain meds, and called my vet. When he arrived he took her vitals, and said from what he had heard, her gut was moving but slow, heart rate and respiration were up indicating stress and discomfort, and so it was time to check the system out from the inside. 
For those who are not horse folks, a great many things can be learned from a manual exam into a horse’s digestive system, but it is not for the faint of heart. It requires donning a long plastic glove, lots of lubricant, hopefully a stock to restrain a sometimes reluctant patient and one that also provides protection from flying hooves, and an attitude that dismisses the fact that you are standing there with your arm all the way into a horse’s rectum and large intestine. 
From this somewhat precarious position, one can tell the general condition of a pregnant mare’s unborn foal,(I have gotten to do this several times now and that part is amazing to feel the movement of a very active but not yet born foal.)  But in either sex of a horse one can tell a great deal about the goings on or not of a digestive tract. In this case the palpation was to see why Sunset was not a happy camper, so with anticipation of her not being so keen to cooperate with our plan, more tranquilizer was injected into her big veins of her neck. Then it was into the stock. 
My vet began to clean out the “apples”, as the manure balls are called, and remarked that she was slap full of them, and no wonder for her malaise. Other indicators were good that she did not appear to have any twists in the gut that he could feel nor did he feel any gassy places, and no impactions. This was good, but being the conservative vet that he is, he suggested dosing her with an oil treatment to get things moving faster. I am not a fan of playing wait and see on colic situations and I hardily agreed to the plan.
To oil a horse, much like the theory my parents used to have by forcing the disgusting tasting castor oil down their little children’s mouths to keep our systems running, a gallon of mineral oil must somehow get into the horse’s stomach. Since a horse is not easily coerced into drinking this swill themselves, this has to be done by inserting a clear plastic tube into an equine nostril, usually not a very well received invasion, and pushing the tube far enough to the back of the throat, where hopefully, the horse will swallow reflexively, allowing the tube to go into the stomach and not the lungs. Once into the stomach, a funnel is placed on the other end, and warm water and oil are alternately drained into the horse until all of the oil is given. This requires a tall arm to hold the funnel high so that gravity can slowly pull the thick liquid downward, and patience. Then the plan is, to remove the tube, and wait the however many hours it will take for the oil to work its way through the system to hopefully encourage the blockage to move on out to the end point of the digestive workings.
While we had been working on the horse letting the oil slide down the tube, my vet and his assistant, Jill, and I had been speculating on the possible reason for Sunset’s upset tummy situation. First question is always, was there any change of feed, scheduling, or anything unusual that may have happened. There was a solid no to all of that then Jill remembered, it had been a full moon last night. That explained it all. Duh.
There are many people who hold the thing about lunar influence on happenings on earth to be utter hogwash, but not me. There are just too many coincidental events that have happened on this farm, and in my life, from dog fights to foal births and beyond, to take them as being unrelated. There are powers that exist without our having to see them, and so it must be with whatever the pull the moon has on the earth. I am a strong believer in being a bit more cautious on full moons, but I had totally forgotten on this one though, and don’t know what I could have done to avoid Sunset’s situation. It is interesting to ponder. How the lunar influence managed to turn the pool water into a version of primordial green soup, is still at question and hopefully it be cured, and, it’s just a coincidence right?
I found these beauties in front of the barn and have stuffed them into my book down at the barn where I have stuffed many before. I am pitting their good luck with the fading full moon and hopefully they will have the higher power and help my pool return to a pristine blue, and help Sunset pass those remaining, stuck apples. Interesting too is the similarity of the shade of green that these clovers share with my pool. Hmmm..
a ps...wrote that yesterday but couldnt post. good news is that Sunset got her system working and is all clear. The pool remains green....

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