Thursday, June 05, 2008

I took Tonka up for my lesson today and it was not a great ride. He gets so interested in the horses there that he can barely pay attention. Then when we went to do some obstacles in-hand he was eating weeds and running into me and completely blowing me off. We did make some progress, and I got some things to work on.

But the bigger news is that there's something wrong with him. He peed hugely 4 times while I was there, and again in the trailer on the way home. I had the vet on the phone before I even got in the driveway, and I have an appointment for 3:30 tomorrow for a blood draw to check his kidneys. This is especially scary because my sister just went through this exact same thing. Her horse has chronic kidney failure, and will be extremely limited in what he can do for the rest of his life. The rest of his life may be anywhere from 2 months to 6 years. Just depends on how long his body can keep on going with limited kidney function. Levi (her horse) has had this going on for a long time but didn't have it checked. He drank and peed a lot, and I mean a LOT, and he tied up after long rides due to his dehydration, but the tying up was subtle and nobody ever suggested that it might be his kidneys. They thought the excessive drinking might be a stable vice due to boredom, which would then cause him to pee a lot. Turns out he just isn't able to concentrate his urine, so has to drink constantly or he gets dehydrated, thus the tying up.

So, for Tonka, I'm hoping it's just a kidney infection, or something else that can be taken care of. Chronic kidney failure is so rare, and usually caused by heavy duty drugs, which Tonka has never been on. He has peed more than other horses, but not so much more that I was SURE he was abnormal. Just enough that I wondered...

The last drug he had other than wormer and vaccines was on Christmas night, some Banamine because he was colicking. Other than that maybe he was on something when he had a tiny lump on his jaw maybe a year or more ago, but I don't think he got medication for that. I think I was just soaking it. The vet looked at his records and all he mentioned was the Banamine.

I did just worm him yesterday. Maybe the wormer made his very minor problem worse? Or maybe the toxins released by dying worms overloaded his kidneys? He shouldn't have had a big worm load. I had a fecal done in the winter, and he did have some worms, but not enough that they thought it was a problem. They just said to worm him. I have felt that he has a fragile digestive tract, maybe minor ulcers, because of the liquid he gets around his poop at times, and because he's sensitive to black oil sunflower seeds.

Oh, which reminds me, he was stomping his back legs a lot at Odessa, like maybe a bellyache, but he seemed fine other than the weird stomping, so I kind of ignored it. Well, he was doing that again today. So maybe he gets a lot more stressed than I think he does when I take him places, and gets colicky? My sister noted the same things in her horse. He'd get sucked-up when she took him to events. Which yes, Tonka also did today... Can peeing be a sign of colic? Maybe he's just colicky?

He's locked in the big stall for the night so I can watch how much he drinks and poops and hopefully get an idea of how much he's peeing. I'm supposed to get a urine sample. That may not be too easy. Luckily if he is going to pee it's pretty obvious, with the way he stretches out first. He's really not happy about being in there. Kinda panicky, and stall-walking, tapping the gate, whinnying a bit. Poor guy. I'm not sure if the stress is worth the good of locking him up. But you know how important it is to know what they're taking in and putting out when a vet issue comes up...

I know this has been a kind of rambling post. I'm feeling pretty discouraged right now, just trying to process what's going on. WHY do my horses have problems? I swear, it always comes in waves. I'll go for the longest time not even talking to my vet, then I'm on a first name basis with the receptionists again...

I may not be going to Mustang Days. They should be able to get the results back by 5:00 tomorrow, and then I'll know whether it's safe to take him. At this point, with the bellyache symptoms and everything else, I'm thinking it's probably not a good idea. Hopefully tomorrow he'll be better and we'll get good test results.

Speaking of test results: my poor sister had to wait a WEEK just for blood test results, because her vet claimed that they couldn't sent the test to WSU, had to send it to UofI, where they only do that test once a week. So she was literally sick with worry for a week, got bad results, then had to take him in to WSU and have them re-do the tests because they wanted results from their own lab. My vet said he can get results within an hour from WSU. I keep telling her she needs to switch vets, and she keeps agreeing, then going back to the other vet because she thinks it's cheaper. I think it's probably not much cheaper, and as they say, you get what you pay for.

Okay, really, I'm done rambling now...


Lady Of Chaos said...

I wouldn't worry too much unless it's a 'common' occurance with him. I've been in your shoes. Remember Rhoen? He did that.

His problem was that he was so used to NOT having water that he'd drink like crazy, then pee like crazy. I kept refilling his water and refilling and refilling... IT was totally weird. Some days he wouldn't drink that much then suddenly it was like he discovered a water source all over again.

Vet did NOT find anything wrong with him, on the days when he would drink like crazy we'd limit how much he could have. By the time he went off to his new home, he was drinking normally. No more 'splurges'.

Maybe Tonka just gets extremely nervous in new places - you said he did similiar things in Odessa - that causes him to use more moisture than he does at home, so he drinks way more and pees way more as a result. Hopefully that's all it is.

I hope the blood panel comes back clean. :)

Andrea said...

You got me thinking, maybe he does drink a lot at one time. He's afraid of the trough, so maybe he waits until he's really thirsty and then binges on water. Hope that's all it is.

I can't be that he drank too much at my lesson, he didn't drink at all there. But maybe he'd had a huge drink not long before.

Linda Reznicek said...

Hi Andrea. I hope you get your test results back quickly so you can put your mind at rest. I haven't had this problem with any of my horses. I know there are some noxious weeds that can cause liver problems, but the pictures of your pasture look like lots of good ol' green grass--which means they'd leave the weeds alone. Here's hoping for the best!

I'll be looking for you at Mustang Days--is there a place online to get the schedule? Thanks!

ARL said...

I hope you and Tonka are doing ok. It maybe something as simple as he's been licking too much salt because he's bored and that would cause excessive drinking and peeing. Keep us posted.