Thursday, February 27, 2014


Is a very scary word!  I've been thinking a lot about biosecurity lately, as we've had several horses with fevers in the past week.

Here is what happened:  Sunday morning, my husband came in from feeding breakfast to the horses (bless him) and he said "Goshen doesn't look good".  Now, when the husband notices that a horse is ADR (ain't doing right), you have to think the worst.  My hubby is a great guy, helps out tons, humors me and shoves me out riding, but a horseperson he is not.  So, out to the barn I go, hoping it's nothing.  Ha!  As advertised, Goshen, who is a 4 year old colt, is not feeling well.  He's not eating, is standing in the corner and isn't interested in much of anything.  So, I listen for gut sounds (next to none), take his heartrate (around 80) and his temp (101.5).  Immediately, I suspect colic.  There is plenty of poop in his paddock, but the lack of gut sounds points directly that way.  So, I give him a dose of Banamine and call the vet.  Of course, it's Sunday, so emergency fees apply!

The vet calls me back, gets the info and asks if I want to wait and see.  By now it's around 10ish and Larry and I have tickets for a hockey game that evening.  So no, I want to get him looked at and know what we're dealing with, so I can go enjoy my evening.  Vet comes out, does a rectal, listens, pokes and prods and decides it's not really a colic.  There's been this bug going around...turns out that there has been something (no one is really sure what it is) going through local barns.  The vets don't know exactly what it is, except horses spike a fever (often quite high) for around 48 hours and show some minor colic symptoms.  So far, the diagnosis is to treat the symptoms, so Banamine to bring down the fever and get them eating and drinking.  So, good news is that it's not colic, bad news is that this has proven to be VERY contagious.  Great.  Into a quarantine stall he goes and I head to Pilchuck Vet Hospital to pick up more Banamine, gowns, gloves and booties.  I worked at Pilchuck for about a year, so I know how an Iso (Isolation) stall is set up.  They also gave me a nice laminated poster that I put on the tack room door.
I'm taking Goshen's temp twice a day and giving Banamine twice a day.  He's eating and drinking reasonably well - not great, but enough.  Then, Reggie starts looking unhappy.  Ack!  I take his temp and even though he looks fairly bright and alert and is eating and drinking, it's 105.5.  I don't believe it, so I take it again.  106!  I call the vet, who says this is what they've been seeing (Goshen only got to 103.5 that I know of).  Banamine and out to retake that temp 2 hours later.  At that point, it's down to 102.5, so that is a huge relief.  So, now I have 2 in quarantine.  Both have been doing well and their temps are normal after 48 hours, but this morning (Thursday), Ari is looking off.  104.5.  Now there are 3 in quarantine.  Ari seems to think it's kind of a vacation.  Free choice hay, lots of bedding, some alfalfa, small grain meals every few hours, what's not to like?  So far, no one else has been droopy and fingers crossed, we isolated them early enough.  The big question is the pregnant mares and my stallion.  High fevers can cause abortion and kill sperm.  So, I'm not going near the girls or Salam, just in case.  We don't know how it spreads, but I'm trying to take zero chances.  We had planned on going out on the trails this week, but until everyone is clear I don't want to potentially infect anyone else's horses.  We're pretty much on lockdown.  And, to make matters just a little more fun, I ended up with a fever this week too!  I KNOW where that one came from though (thanks kids).  The worst part of the whole thing (besides the expense) is that the weather has been fantastic! 
I suspect by tomorrow both Goshen and Reggie are going to be wondering why they're in a stall 24 hours a day.  Neither are used to this, as everyone gets lots of turnout.  But, better that they're on the road to recovery.  Fingers crossed that Ari is the last one and no one else comes down with it.


AareneX said...

Scary word indeed--I hope everyone else is immune!

Please tell the ponies to feel better soon.

Tekelady said...

Looks like we contained it. Just have to wait 7 days until after a normal temp to go back to a regular routine. Glad it wasn't worse!