Thursday, December 27, 2007

Grace is out of hospital

This week has emotionally been one the worst I have ever experienced. I have been constantly waiting for the phone to ring with bad news, and when it rings and it is good news I just keep crying! It has been a real emotional rollercoaster and not one I wish to ever repeat!

The last few days of her being in hospital brought more improvements, but also some small setbacks. She came out of isolation having tested negative for salmonella, started being walked four times a day and on normal rations. However, when I was planning on picking her up on 23rd December, a vet phoned me to say she had a swollen right hind and left fore which they wanted to keep an eye on. He also said that she had an oedema ‘under’ her scar which I took as meaning it was actually beneath the wound itself.

I rushed over to see her because I was quite worried what all of this meant, but she looked great. Yes, the legs were slightly warm and a bit swollen but nowhere near as bad as I thought they were going to be and the swelling ‘under’ the scar was actually behind it where the bandage had stopped. The surgeon came and spoke to me and said they were pleased with her progress and I could take her out for a walk and some grass.

Mel telephoned me on Christmas Day to say the legs were looking better, but she had developed swellings on her body from the introduction of feed. I quickly explained that this was completely normal for Grace. The good news was that I could pick her up on Boxing Day!

Dad and I got to Leahurst at 12pm and I read all of her discharge notes, asked all the questions I could think of, and then got her ready to travel to the Yorkshire Equine Centre where she will be staying while we go on holiday. I was a bit concerned because she has never travelled or loaded into a horsebox, but I need not have worried. She stood on the ramp for a while until she could work out how to put her back legs on, but she travelled fantastically and unloaded as though she had done it one hundred times before.

I am due to pick her up on 9th January when we come home... I cannot wait to have her back with me!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Update - 17/12/07

I have just had a phone call from the resident vet Mel...

Grace has had a quiet night, but still has diarrhoea which they expected. She is still in isolation, but the good news is that her temperature is down to normal and her heart rate seems to have normalised too. They are going to check her heart just to make sure, but no vet has ever commented or picked up on a heart murmur from her, so it is looking as though it was the pain causing this. She is also slightly anaemic which can also cause the heart murmurs.

They have sent the biopsy off to the lab, but she did say they are not expecting to find anything nasty... she also said that although she is being tested for salmonella, the fact her temperature is low is a good sign, and her white cells have come up a bit since the last test.

She is also a bit brighter this morning, but still very quiet. They are going to try her with a few handfuls of haylage, and anything that they can get her to eat so are also suggesting something like Readigrass.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Grace has undergone colic surgery

As if we have not been through enough this year, on Thursday afternoon Grace started being really quiet, not eating and her eyes went dull. I checked on her before I left and she had started pawing so I phoned the vet immediately. John Gilliver was on call, and he examined her. She had a high temperature, a slightly raised heart rate but no real increased gut movement.

He gave her a shot of antibiotics and bute and arranged to come back the following morning.

I got down to the yard early and she did not seem any better and was pawing again... so John gave her another shot of antibiotics, bute and a shot of buscopan too. Her temperature had come down though, and her heart rate was normal.

Later in the day she had gone downhill again... the vet came back out, gave her another shot of buscopan and she seemed to perk up a little and started eating some little bits of hay which was an encouraging sign. However, she gradually went more and more downhill and on Saturday morning she was referred to Leahurst veterinary hospital.

The hospital ran lots of tests and everything pointed towards colic. I left her there being monitored carefully, and did not hear from them until this afternoon. I received a phone call at 2.30pm saying that she had improved through the night, but this morning was much lower than she had been, and was lay flat out at lunch time when the resident checked on her again. They did another rectal and couldn’t get their arm past the elbow due to the small colon being so very distended. They asked whether I would consent to her having surgery, which of course I did, and then the waiting began.

At 6.30pm I received a phone call from the resident, Mel, and she said that Grace was awake and up... however, she had had a very tough time through the anaesthetic and there had been a few complications. They did not find any impaction as they thought they would do, but the small colon was full of gas which was causing it to distend. They let this gas out, and the good news is that everything was where it should be. However, because she has such bad diarrhoea they have taken some more samples and a biopsy to test for colitis and grass sickness.

It is very much a waiting game now and the next 48 hours are critical for her!