When I think of horses, it elicits thoughts of power, grace, and strength. They are big strong creatures, capable of doing so many amazing things. Capable of tolerating injury and pain rather stoically. At the same time they can be very fragile and delicate. One bad fall in the pasture or one flake of slightly moldy hay can create fatal situations.
Today Otto went in for a pretty routine procedure for his castration. Before it was all said and done, we found ourselves holding our breath, possibly risking having to sedate him again, and go back in It was all going as planned but then a vein that typically isn't that low or even in that general area got nicked in the process.
We had a bleeder on our hands.
|Excuse the heiny shot..|
The scary part was that at first , we couldn't figure out where it was coming from and in moments like that , minutes feel like hours. I will hand it to my vet, he remained so calm as blood was quickly pooling. I walked out of the room at that point, feeling a little queasy. My vet did find the vein and had to so some quick stitching because Otto was beginning to wake. With the sedation, they only had about 20 minutes of time to work and they were getting to the end of that. Every time the vet reclamped, Otto reacted.
Once it was all done, we left Otto alone in the surgical room so he could stand up. It didn't take long. Typically this is the part where you give your horse enough time to get their balance enough to get back in the trailer, pay your bill and go on your merry way. But in this case, Otto was still bleeding a more than he should have been. It was possible there was another area of the vein that was nicked but we didn't know for sure. The vet decided to give it a half hour to see if it would begin to let up . If not, Otto would have to be sedated again and then figure out where the additional bleeding was coming from.
We decided to leave and waited for the call. It was less than an hour. The vet called with positive news that it had stopped and he was only now having the occasional drip of blood, which is MUCH more normal. They had hosed him off and he was ready to go home, along with a heavy dose of a 5 day antibiotic on board and then 5 more days of an oral antibiotic. With all the extra digging around that had to be done, he was definitely now at more risk for infection, probably more swelling and likely more discomfort. Poor Guy.
We got him home and when I opened the trailer door to unload him, the bleeding had started up again. A steady stream again. SHIT. Of course, I was alarmed so I called the vet back to see if I needed to turn around and take him back or what. I was to wait a half hour again to see if it let up. If not, we were going to have to go back. Luckily, within 20 minutes the bleeding had returned to a more normal amount, a drip every so many seconds.
As the afternoon went on, we watched him carefully. For a while, we weren't sure if he was showing symptoms of colic or if it was just that he was uncomfortable. He was slowly picking at his hay, drank a little water but he kept picking up his hinds legs, then he would stretch out and paw. Just like some horses do with Colic. I went out and hand walked him, concerned that because of the sedation, the peristalsis of the bowel would cause colic . I didn't need that on top of everything else. I checked his heart rate, (shock) and that seemed normal.
His symptoms seem to come and go so I have just continued to watch him. He has passed manure , urinated and he eagerly ate his beet pulp mash . At this point, I am assuming he is just painful. He has been standing quietly in his barn , soaking up the last sunshine rays of the day , trying to figure out what in the world happened to him today.