What a crazy couple of weeks! On Boxing Day, I noticed that Dorica wasn't herself. She went a lay down during the day (not normal for her) and then she was just standing, while the others were grazing. So I picked some of her very favorite huckleberry twigs and a bit of maple branch and she ate both. She didn't seemed distressed but my "caution" light was on for sure.
That afternoon, Forrest came over for her weekly visit and Dorrie trotted around and ate her clicker training treats. I was greatly relieved. At the end of the session though, we always give them their hay bags and when Dorrie refused hers, I got out my stethoscope and heard ... nothing! BIG alarm bells now, so inside the house I went to phone the vet.
The vet lives an hours drive and a ferry ride away and it was already 5 PM. She said it sounded like an impaction, which, unlike a spasmodic colic, gets worse with exercise, not better. Oh NO! So I made a bran mash and gave her 1 cc. of paste Banamine (Flunixin) and after an hour or so, Dorrie seemed much improved.
But I decided to sleep on the couch that night and go out to the barn every couple of hours to check. It was a sleepless night!
By great fortune I had the vet booked to come the following morning as she had other clients on the island and I was anxious for her to meet Rose and Heather and check their teeth. So we bumped up the appointment earlier. Dorica was still off her feed. The vet took her temp which was normal and listened to her heart rate, which was high. She said Dorrie was dehydrated and confirmed an impaction.
Treatment: at about 11 AM Dorrie was sedated and given some Flunixin and Buscopan (for pain and to help with muscle relaxation) and then a mini nasogastric tube was inserted and lots of warmish water with mineral oil pumped through. The vet was able to "smell" the contents of Dorica's stomach through the tube and said it smelled fine, meaning nothing had begun to ferment or putrefy - thank goodness!
After coming out of the sedation (with no problems) Dorica began to nibble on some hay and grass and the vet left. I took her out for wet grass mini meals throughout the day and gave another dose of paste Banamine but sadly but 5 PM, Dorrie really was no better.
The vet (bless her kind heart) came all the way back that evening and repeated the entire procedure! She informed me that this was not uncommon at all and that it takes time for the fluids to actually help the impaction dislodge.
Dorrie was such a trooper but that night, she was in a lot of pain. This was due to pumping so much water into her system which was already feeling bloated and distended. All I could do was stay with her so with layers of warm clothes on, I stuck by her side for most of the night. By 4 AM she seemed more comfortable but I must say I was scared.
That was 10 days ago and Dorica is just fine now (I don't know what I'd do without her, so I shudder even at that horrible thought!)
In Part 2 of this long tale, I will write about everything I have learned about impaction colic and what I am doing now as a precaution.