Tag Archive | Quarter Horse

Rest in Peace Biz

Today, at about 3:20 pm, Biz crossed over the rainbow bridge.  It was a nice, spring day, and he went outside for one last day in the sunshine before he came inside, lay down, and was suddenly gone.

He was 32 years old, and had used up at least 17 lives, so it wasn’t a surprise, but that doesn’t make it hurt any less.

My parents bought Biz for me when I was 14 years old, in January 1990, over 30 years ago.  He was a two year old at the time, with no common sense, but he never really acquired much of that.  He was spastic his entire life, spooking at nothing, barging through doorways and gates, always in a rush to get in for dinner.  Unless it was spring, when on nice days, he would decide he wanted to stay outside, and whoever was trying to catch him could just go pound sand…

He was always high spirited, and full of piss and vinegar.  He trotted around, blowing and snorting, with his tail in the air whenever he had the chance.

The first time I tried to give him an apple, he didn’t know what it was, and wouldn’t eat it, so I gave it to his neighbor.  You better believe he never made that mistake again!

He let the cats ride him, but he loved to chase the dogs, and bite the cows.

He had a special talent for injuring himself or getting sick and was close to death at least four times that I can think of.  He had an immense capacity for healing.  He proved the vets wrong time and time again, living through horrific wounds, incredibly high fevers, equine influenza, suspected salmonella poisonings (yes that’s plural).  We made bets on whether he would go out in a blaze of glory, or just lie down and go when it was time.

He was patient about being poked and prodded, unless you wanted to poke or prod his face.  That required the good drugs…

He was a pain in the ass, but a sweet one at that.

 

I’m incredibly sad, but he lived a very good life, and he didn’t have to suffer a long, slow decline.  Rest in Peace, Biz.

Such a Sport…

Since he got sick with a high fever and high white cell count almost two weeks ago, Biz has had three shots of a high-dose, long-acting antibiotic, fever-reducing meds, 20 liters of IV fluids, three urinalyses, and three rounds of blood work.  But my old boy is improving!

His white cell count is back into the normal range!  But the neutrophil count is still high; I’ve learned that neutrophils are a type of white cell particularly responsible for fighting off infection.  His infection was so bad that his bone marrow was sending out immature neutrophils – kind of like sending new recruits out into battle before they have even been to basic training.  Poor guy!

His kidney and liver markers are back in normal range, his temp is normal and he’s been eating like a horse.  I mean, like a horse that isn’t sick.  It is all such good news!

I wasn’t successful in pee catching yesterday, so that’s still on the agenda…  What can I say, he’s a shy pee-er, and when I rush in with my stick…  Well you get the idea…  My mom had it easy the other day because we were running IV fluids through him, so he had to pee!

He will start on a second antibiotic tonight and then, I’m sure another repeat of blood work in the next few days!

My Poor, Sick Horse…

This morning I slept until 8:05 am, after going to bed at 8:45 last night.  It has been a long week, to say the least.  I was originally supposed to be on vacation, spending some time in California before coming back and doing a cabin weekend at the mountain with a group of other women.

Monday night a text came in that my horse wasn’t eating and seemed off.  Oh no…  He’s 32 years old, but his appetite is rarely a problem…  I cut California short and traveled home Tuesday – there was almost no traffic in Washington due to the growing COVID-19 outbreak, the school closures and all the recommendations to work from home.

The vet arrived Wednesday morning to a horse with a very high fever of 105 degrees (normal is about 100), a heart rate of 72 beats per minute (normal is 30-34) and labored breathing.  Blood work showed a very high white cell count and a systemic reaction to some unknown inflammation.  A urine sample showed a lot of blood.  Biz was a very sick boy…

My vet gave him a double dose of a fever reducing anti-inflammatory, a heavy duty dose of antibiotics, and an IV line for administering fluids.  And then, all was quiet…  For those of you who don’t have horses, the veterinary care tends to be pretty do it yourself; they show you how to do it and then off you go!  Over the years I have given intramuscular injections, flushed IV lines, changed IV bags, changed bandages, dressed wounds, given pills and ointments, removed stitches, and done all sorts of holding him still, upright and positioned as vets have poked and prodded him in countless ways.

My mom and I gave him four – five liter bags of IV fluids over two days; one of those was loaded with B vitamins and electrolytes.  I had to flush his IV line every 6 hours and check his temp.  Thankfully, it quickly returned to normal and stayed there.

Getting up in the middle of the night to drive out to the barn to flush his line is exhausting; and even more so when I was working remotely all day on the COVID-19 response.  My employer already has a lot of remote work ability, but trying to roll that out on an even wider basis reveals that that there are still a lot of reasons that people are needed in a central space.  It isn’t as easy as snapping one’s fingers and saying, just work from home!

I canceled my cabin weekend, because with temp checks, IV line flushes and antibiotic injections, it wasn’t going to be possible.  I’m bummed, but Biz is never going to make it up to me…

Thankfully, Biz is on the mend, with a normal temperature and an appetite that is returning to normal.  He will receive another dose of the four day antibiotic on Sunday, and then we will check his blood work again on Monday morning to see if the infection is going away.  As for the cause?  We don’t know.  There isn’t any widespread equine flu going around, and he doesn’t have any visible injuries to cause an infection.  He’s just an old guy that possesses a unique talent for acquiring whatever strange and mysterious illness is going around within 1,784 miles of him.

He gets his line out!

I’m just thankful that he also possesses a unique talent for healing, and for proving the vets wrong…  Biz, you keep doing you.

 

Four to Go on Wednesday

Biz saw the vet for his annual checkup a few weeks ago.  At 28 years old, he is remarkably healthy.  No comparison of horse age to human age is truly accurate, but a 28 year old horse is generally believed to be about the equivalent of an 80 year old human.

His weight is great – his blood work is good.  His eyes are clear and bright with no sign of cataracts.  The only exception to his great health is his teeth.  Followers to this blog will know that Biz has had 3 teeth pulled over the last couple of years – this Wednesday he will have 4 more pulled. His disease, EOTRH, has progressed, and his teeth have deteriorated significantly in the last year.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little worried – he has done really well with the extractions so far, but he has only had 1 pulled at a time previously.  4 is a much bigger deal.  This will be our first round with his upper incisors too – I am not sure if there will be differences with the extractions or in his healing process.

Biz looks a bit like a toothless Mr. Ed here!

Biz looks a bit like a toothless Mr. Ed here!

I wouldn’t be doing this (and the vet wouldn’t be recommending it) if there wasn’t a big chance that Biz is enduring a lot of pain due to these diseased teeth that are hanging on.  As horses are prey animals, they mask their pain – it has got to be pretty bad before a horse will let you know…  We are hoping that this surgery will relieve him of the pain.

I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly, and that he heals quickly.  Please keep us in your thoughts on Wednesday!