Monday, April 20, 2009

When an Equine Emergency Strikes, You Want to be Ready

Or as ready as you can be.  Tonight Red and I had a medical emergency.  First, all is ok now, but it involved his eye.  IMO, anything involving the eye requires a visit with the vet, day or night. In our case, it was night.  When I got him out of the pasture tonight, he seemed a bit slow to decide if he was coming.  I had to walk to him and put the halter on, a bit different from his usual take the lead to the gate style.  We actually took a few steps before I noticed something was not right with his right eye.  This is what I saw . . . 

Looking at the photos, now, even when I know my Red Horse is okay - I can't believe how awful his eye was.  It looks even worse then I remembered.   

In the pasture I briefly stopped to be sure the eye was intact (in the socket), then I got us up to the barn as quickly as I could move.  Immediately got a thermometer under Red's tail, checked his breathing and the color of his gums, then got on the phone to call our vet - it was already after-hours and the answering service was busy for what seemed like forever.  Finally got hold of Dr. Mott who told me we would be her second emergency call and she wasn't sure when she would be there.  She was on her way to see a horse who was having an allergic reaction and was in respiratory distress. So. We were on our own until the vet made it to Freshwater.

What next?  Got Red's temperature - normal!  Then I got Red in the sunlight where I couldlook more closely to see if he was injured - there was  so sign of trauma.  Whew!  The great thing about where I board is there are folks to act as "backup" and they have some fine experience behind them.  The next thing was to irrigate the eye.  I keep sterile eye wash solution and ginormous syringes so was able to do a little washing out of the eye.  We went back into the sun to see if there was a visible foreign body in Red's eye.  I saw what appeared to be stinger (bee?) lodged in his upper eyelid.  A  friend removed it, dropping it so we could'nt be sure.  I gently applied cold compresses and tried to remember to breathe deeply and calmly so that Red would not feel mom being crazy anxious.

It took over an hour for Dr. Mott to arrive.  She drugged Red and put a colored liquid in his eye that would help her to see any abrasions on the eyeball or cornea.  He had none.  She then flushed his eye by running a thin tube up a small opening in his nostril which led to his tear duct - imagine having medicated water forced up and out your tear duct.  Yeeeech.  Red also got a banamine shot.  By the time Dr. Mott was done, Red's eye was much less inflamed.  I'm hoping he got stung and that there is no lasting damage.

Throughout everything that happened, Red was SUCH A GOOD BOY!!!  We've spent alot of time working on Red's acceptance of my touch on every inch of his body.   You never want to see your horse in pain or any kind of danger, but if it happens, you will be so glad you were prepared.  There is another story about equine eye panic time and how to be respond over at Equine Ink.

Red seemed much better when I left the stable about 30 minutes ago.  Well, better except for the body slams against his stall wall to let me know how much he hated the idea of spending a night inside.


Lori Skoog said...

Boy! you sure did everything right with this one. I hope that anyone who has not had the experience can learn from what you posted. It wouldn't surprise me if Red looks normal today. Hope all is well.

Paul Rogers said...

Glad his eye itself was not harmed. It does look like a bee sting and they look so bad on a horse's face.
Nice job, you always seem to be ready for anything.

One Red Horse said...

Lori and Paul, thanks for your well wishes! Just got back from checking on Red and giving him his eye medicine. He looks much, much better. Just not happy about having to spend the day in the pen.

skode said...

What a wonderful blog! Every picture of every horse has a common theme: Love.
It is so obvious your horses are wrapped in love.
I will stay posted -- hope you write often!