Sig's Excellent European Adventure

SibeliusMB

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11 January 2021
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294
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East Anglia (originally USA)
Thanks all. ❤ He came home this morning. I had them scope him and he has grade 3/4 ulcers, which we are now treating. He's going on 24/7 turnout starting tomorrow (per vet instructions and yard manager agreed, please don't start an argument about it) to help manage ulcers and I am hoping that the ulcer treatment help reduce the colic symptoms.

Ulcers don't directly explain the gas colics/ displacements but perhaps he had decreased guy motility which affected gas production...

Just saw him and he's ok, but not great. 😔 Not colicky either, but quite dull. Was eating but certainly not his usual appetite. Now that he's not so bloated we can see he's dropped some weight. He was out on the grass all day and didn't have the bloating this afternoon. I also have Gas-X tablets handy now and we can administer those low dose daily and higher one-time dose if he's already gassy/colicky.

I know he's just going to need some time. It's just really hard seeing him so dull.

I'm exhausted and sad and questioning everything. I have major anxiety over colics thanks to my rotten luck with previous horses. I had to take some time off work this week and excuse myself from working a mortuary case (family lost their infant, ) because I just couldn't be around that right now and I couldn't be my best for my colleagues and that poor family.

Which makes me feel worse and shoots my stress level through the roof.

😔
 

Peglo

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1 June 2021
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836
I’m glad to hear he is doing ok and hope he is feeling a bit brighter soon!

now you must look after yourself too. Good for you for taking yourself away from work for a bit.
Hope you have something not horse related that can help you destress. Sending all my best wishes.
 

Caol Ila

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That's great news that he's home. Fingers crossed he's on the mend.

I questioned my decision, lots. When I moved out here, I could have (a) brought Gypsum (b) sold her and brought my four-year old project, who may or may not have been a more flexible, adaptable creature or (c) brought neither or (d) stayed put in CO and gone to law/grad school at CU but that would have required LSATs/GREs. Gypsum found the weather and the chaotic management of (many) UK yards difficult to adapt to. I'm sure there are plenty of chaotic barns in the US, and the ones I boarded at were large and busy, with a lot going on, but it was a different kind of chaos. Really hard to explain how it's different. I don't think I can. It just...is. But the fencewalking definitely got worse here. It was a mild annoyance there, but it could be easily managed. Here, it could go completely mental. Not at every yard, but finding the ones where she didn't do that, or did it in a predictable way so you could intervene, was the 100 million pound challenge.

Would she have been better with some other owner in the States? I don't know. But you can only make the best decision you can make with the information you have, and in fairness, she stayed sound until she was 27, and I had to PTS at 28. Don't think she would have had a better inning with anyone else.
 
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Joined
14 May 2019
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319
Thank you for the update. Fingers crossed he's now on the mend. You must be exhausted and stressed. Take it easy and try to be kind to yourself and get some down time, hard I know.
 

McFluff

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19 April 2014
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1,624
Really hope that things get better soon. Please do take care of yourself, you are doing your best and have been through such a lot. Virtual hugs and more healing vibes.
 

maddielove

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26 July 2006
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2,009
Sending recovery vibes your way, colic is the absolute pits.
If gives you any hope, my old mare had a period of horrendous colic (months of digestive discomfort followed by colic surgery and then colicked a minimum once a week afterwards for about a month) which seemed to largely stem from ulcers, this was back in 2008 where there was less readily available knowledge online and scoping was not frequently done where I am, I had to switch vets to get her treatment but it was the turning point in her recovery, I don't think she'd have survived without it.
I don't know if it's been mentioned but I would recommend taking a look at the equibiome test, I've had my current mare tested and although colic isn't something she's struggled it has been an eye opener to other digestive issues, if it was on the go when my old girl was here I would have definitely had her tested, it might be worth considering to see if it throws up any red flags.
 

Trouper

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11 May 2015
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1,773
You and Sig have just been through hell - it's not surprising neither of you is feeling perky. Please just concentrate on him and yourself. Whilst it is nice to think that we can always be there for colleagues, sometimes they just have to step up for us - as we would do for them in similar circumstances.

I am not familiar with the equibiome test that @maddielove recommends but it sounds a really useful thing to do. Any knowledge you can gain about what is going on is worth a shot in my book. I mentioned earlier about how useful I had found the guys at Trinity Consultants. (Tel 01243 551766). They just seem to understand how horses' systems tick and what supplement, if any, will help. I don't find they recommend things just to sell them to you. Sig must be full of the effects of his body's reactions to the colic, the drugs and the total change in his "routine" so they may recommend their liver detox which certainly helped my mare - but I won't second-guess their advice!

Above all, please just take it one day at a time for both of you. This was not the adventure we wanted for Sig:confused::confused:
 

Zuzan

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Joined
6 March 2011
Messages
754
I would also suggest an equibiome test .. I think many vets are onboard with it so worth discussing with your vets if you haven't already.. Think I mentioned up thread a bit.. I wonder if having travelled so well it's Sig's guts adjusting to different gut biome(s) catching up with him. It's often when we / our horses feel they are settling that health issues surface after change. Like catching colds the minute you go on hols etc .. all the very best.
 

HashRouge

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16 February 2009
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Manchester
God what an awful rollercoaster ride you have had since you moved him over here :(

FWIW I think your/ your vet's plan sounds like a decent one. I would always favour turnout/ movement for ulcers and I think it is better for digestive issues too. I will keep my fingers crossed for you both anyway xx
 

SibeliusMB

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Joined
11 January 2021
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294
Location
East Anglia (originally USA)
I had hoped to write a happier update. But then life kind of went to sh!t in the last 48 hours and this is another pity post. He is currently on box rest for a suspected leg injury he sustained on Saturday. It looks/feels superficial and swelling has gone down considerably since Saturday with cold hosing 3x/day. He is not considerably lame on it - just slightly short in the trot (like "1/10" per the vet). However, vet is recommending another week and a half of box rest and THEN a scan. Why we're not imaging it later this week once some of the acute swelling recedes is making me see literal red. :mad::mad: Basically it's waiting two weeks (12-13 days) from the trauma before any imaging of any kind is done, no baselines to compare to. Meanwhile, we're making a sudden and prolonged 180-degree shift in his management style (complete box rest after living out 24/7 on grass) which is sending my stress level into deep space.

But let's recap....

He completed his Gastrogard treatment and has been living out on grass 24/7 since he returned from NEH last fall. He was doing well - no colics since the last one I reported here, was happy living out, and I was super appreciative of the yard for making that turnout situation happen for him. I was sick for the first two weeks in December and we had an active duty military death immediately following that, which has kept me very busy and away from the yard a lot over the last few weeks. But I did notice that Sig was losing weight and muscle tone, more since the ulcer treatment started, which seemed odd since he was on full turnout, access to hay outside in addition to grass, only in light work. Turns out he was only getting grass chaff and beet pulp, which wasn't meeting his nutritional needs. So after some consultation with a nutritionist I know (and who knows him), who is also a Saracen partner, we selected the Re-Leve and some EquiJewel rice bran to help put the condition back on him. I started to feel optimistic for once.

So I scheduled him for a follow up scope at NEH this past Friday to ensure the ulcers were healed before we started to introduce any kind of hard feed. Scope came back clear and NEH was really happy with how his stomach looked. Gave the green light for feed change. We just started transitioning him onto the new feed Friday afternoon when he came in with this leg injury the following day. So now we're halting that because everyone is terrified of colic now because he's on box rest.

Taken Friday:
271712871_10100177241683950_8824376130954102930_n.jpg

Him this past summer:
271941316_10100177241948420_2252354598886949133_n.jpg
20210523_130550.jpg

I am beside myself. Realistically this is likely just a minor setback and I just need to sit down and chill. It probably sounds like I'm making a crisis out of nothing. It just seems like this has been one struggle after another and I am so tired and frustrated. Between his condition looking so poorly from what his normal is (and he has NEVER struggled to maintain weight and topline, even in cold winters), to the frustrations with the most recent vet visit...I was seriously trying to convince myself not to consider putting him back on a plane and sending him home. I'm feeling beaten down and exhausted and starting to think this wasn't meant to be.


This is on top of dealing with the suicide last month and helping the family navigate that as the mortuary officer. One of them called me this past Friday and was just having a bad day and needed someone to yell at. So I heard the "He died on your watch" multiple times and that's been on repeat in my head since. Which is...super.
 
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humblepie

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Joined
5 February 2008
Messages
4,965
Oh dear poor boy and poor you. I don't have any wise words other than wishing you both well. I am sure others will be far better advice for you but he has you to care for him and you are doing all you can. x
 

southerncomfort

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Joined
29 September 2013
Messages
4,154
I have no advice to offer but just wanted to say hang in there. Life sounds tough right now, you've had a lot of stress and worry to cope with.

But the thought to hang on to is that he did recover from a very bad colic, his ulcers got better and his leg will heal. This too shall pass as the saying goes.

Not long now until the clocks change and the spring grass will come in and Sig will pick up again.

Just one other thought, whenever one of mine has been poorly or had long term medication I've given them Global Herbs Restore and they've picked up very quickly .
Hope life gets easier for you both very soon.
 

ycbm

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Joined
30 January 2015
Messages
45,061
I had hoped to write a happier update. But then life kind of went to sh!t in the last 48 hours and this is another pity post. He is currently on box rest for a suspected leg injury he sustained on Saturday. It looks/feels superficial and swelling has gone down considerably since Saturday with cold hosing 3x/day. He is not considerably lame on it - just slightly short in the trot (like "1/10" per the vet). However, vet is recommending another week and a half of box rest and THEN a scan. Why we're not imaging it later this week once some of the acute swelling recedes is making me see literal red. :mad::mad: Basically it's waiting two weeks (12-13 days) from the trauma before any imaging of any kind is done, no baselines to compare to. Meanwhile, we're making a sudden and prolonged 180-degree shift in his management style (complete box rest after living out 24/7 on grass) which is sending my stress level into deep space.

But let's recap....

He completed his Gastrogard treatment and has been living out on grass 24/7 since he returned from NEH last fall. He was doing well - no colics since the last one I reported here, was happy living out, and I was super appreciative of the yard for making that turnout situation happen for him. I was sick for the first two weeks in December and we had an active duty military death immediately following that, which has kept me very busy and away from the yard a lot over the last few weeks. But I did notice that Sig was losing weight and muscle tone, more since the ulcer treatment started, which seemed odd since he was on full turnout, access to hay outside in addition to grass, only in light work. Turns out he was only getting grass chaff and beet pulp, which wasn't meeting his nutritional needs. So after some consultation with a nutritionist I know (and who knows him), who is also a Saracen partner, we selected the Re-Leve and some EquiJewel rice bran to help put the condition back on him. I started to feel optimistic for once.

So I scheduled him for a follow up scope at NEH this past Friday to ensure the ulcers were healed before we started to introduce any kind of hard feed. Scope came back clear and NEH was really happy with how his stomach looked. Gave the green light for feed change. We just started transitioning him onto the new feed Friday afternoon when he came in with this leg injury the following day. So now we're halting that because everyone is terrified of colic now because he's on box rest.

Taken Friday:
View attachment 86019

Him this past summer:
View attachment 86020
View attachment 86021

I am beside myself. Realistically this is likely just a minor setback and I just need to sit down and chill. It probably sounds like I'm making a crisis out of nothing. It just seems like this has been one struggle after another and I am so tired and frustrated. Between his condition looking so poorly from what his normal is (and he has NEVER struggled to maintain weight and topline, even in cold winters), to the frustrations with the most recent vet visit...I was seriously trying to convince myself not to consider putting him back on a plane and sending him home. I'm feeling beaten down and exhausted and starting to think this wasn't meant to be.


This is on top of dealing with the suicide last month and helping the family navigate that as the mortuary officer. One of them called me this past Friday and was just having a bad day and needed someone to yell at. So I heard the "He died on your watch" multiple times and that's been on repeat in my head since. Which is...super.

You sound like you could do with some support SMB, I hope someone is looking out for you while you are looking out for your horse and the bereaved family. I'm sorry you are on such a roller coaster.
.
 

Trouper

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Joined
11 May 2015
Messages
1,773
I do hope you have someone you can offload onto when you face these very stressful situations at work. As ex-military involved in personnel work for the whole 20 years I served, I do understand how totally draining these situations can be when everyone is expecting you to fix everything. You can't - and deep down they know you can't but just at the moment their pain is the worst and you just have to let it roll over you somewhat.

This Forum is a good place to vent - maybe not about military matters but certainly horse matters so don't apologise for doing so. Poor Sig - he has been fighting a real battle and at the worst time of the year.

I do have a healthy respect for vets and it sounds as if NEH did a good job but when we get back to the nuts and bolts of daily care of a convalescent horse prone to colic my go to person would be Tom Beech (The Osteopathic Vet). Apart from being brilliant at the bone stuff he makes holistic recommendations for the care of the horse - particularly diet-related issues. Have a look at his FB page. He runs clinics round the country.

I am sure you are feeling quite beaten down by all this and the last thing you probably want is yet another suggestion of who to consult - but trust me it would be money well spent and could certainly do no harm. I have to confess that I am not a lover of box rest and even when "ordered" to do so, I have always taken out of the stable 2/3 times a day to hand graze and amble about. It is all a question of balance when you are facing battles on more than one front and the best piece of advice anyone ever gave me is "You know your own horse best".

Please feel free to pm me if it would help.
 

Caol Ila

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23 January 2012
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5,631
Location
Glasgow
Sorry to hear it has been such a sh1te rollercoaster. I hope you have supportive friends on the base, or at the yard.

If it makes you feel any better, keeping condition on Gypsum was a ball-ache after we moved to this country. I never had any bother with her weight in the States, and she was in stalls/paddocks/dry lots, so she lived entirely on hay and whatever hard feed I had. No grazing. There was me worried about her getting fat on UK grass, but nope, keeping her from looking like an RSPCA case was an uphill battle for the next fifteen years. I don't know if it's something different in the grass or hay or what. I'll probably never know. But it's not just your horse!
 

spookypony

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Joined
26 November 2008
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7,196
Location
Scotland
I can't really offer more than a hug and a cookie, and maybe a stiff single malt, but hopefully, things will start to look up now. What is the "suspicion" as to the injury? Hopefully it's just a wee bang, and he'll be fine, and back out, soon!
 

Zuzan

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Joined
6 March 2011
Messages
754
Very sorry things are so tough at the moment.. on the work front do you get some form of professional support where you are having to deal with stressful situations? It must be doubly hard as you probably wont have many close friends / family easily to hand either .. please take care of yourself.

Very glad Sig's ulcers have healed .. and have everything crossed that the injury is superficial. I very much agree with Trouper above.
 

Nicnac

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Joined
9 May 2007
Messages
7,265
Oh gosh you poor thing. Pleased to read Sig got through his colic, but can understand how shit scared you are with latest setback. Everything crossed he comes right soonest.

Have a hug and take care of you.
 
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