Bad news; Impaction Colic Surgery. She survived, but isn't out of the woods yet.

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ServiceMini

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I'll start this off by saying Sodapop at nine months old, not even 24 inches, and 56 pounds with a mild lung infection(that her regular vet missed a week before she coliced) survived her surgery, despite having issues with the anesthetic, the surgeon running into complications, and having a very drawn out wake up time.

At midnight on the 28th/1st, Sodapop rolled a couple of times like she typically does every night as soon as I turn off the lights. I thought nothing of it- she rolls for a few seconds every single night, and sometimes once in the morning right after we get up. It's just her nightly ritual, and the vet agrees it just seems to be an odd personality trait vs a pain thing, as she quickly hops up and runs around every time afterwards and it is a daily thing with a typical cause (lights off, or lights turned back on in the morning).


But then once or twice an hour, she would roll again and wake me up. I also noticed that my dogs, who have a knack for knowing when things are wrong (they can even warn me up to a day BEFORE I have a pain flair), were pacing around, watching her, and whining. My German Shepherd especially.

Fast forward a little bit, and we got a hold of our regular vet. We got the okay to give her some oral Banamine left over from a small cut the week before that we had the vet out to check because it was near her eye (a result of her trying to steal catfood and getting caught on a now-removed staple). This is because from the time we called and the vets scrambled to figure out if they even had tools small enough to work on her, she went from being okay standing, to parking out and struggling to walk. They did not, so we were told to rush her to Cornell. After about half an hour the pain meds kicked in so she could manage the car ride there safely, and she was significantly better. Trying to eat, and even having zoomies on our way to the van before hopping in without prompting or letting me help her. Hopeful, we rushed to Cornell.

Her only symptoms were rolling, not pooping, standing in her litterbox (she kept trying to go), and then suddenly having issues standing/walking that came on in under an hour while on call with the vet.

She skipped sweating, biting at her stomach, kicking, pawing, shifting her weight frequently, being overly still, grunting, she didn't even start frequently looking at her side let alone touching it until just before I reached the vet.

We got there, and she had fun whinnying at her neighboring stallmates (though she was far too tiny to see them, but still knew they were there) and zooming down the hallways to keep up with the typically fast-walking vets (who are used to much larger horses, and forgot how teenie tiny her steps are). She was looking good.

We waited about an hour and a half for them to be done doing a full colic workup- and she was diagnosed with impaction colic. They also luckily caught that mild lung infection (though they weren't sure yet if it was lung or sinus), so she was started on antibiotics and they took a few x-rays to check for any forgin bodies that might show up, and to check her lungs and sinuses. Her lungs looked good, and no forgin bodies were found that showed. She was started on more pain meds, IV, and stomach was pumped with water while also given medicine to try breaking up the blockage.

When we said goodbye, she came running towards the waiting room door that was closed and whinnied until the vet tech opened it and let her come inside to see us. She was parking out and having trouble standing normally, but still gave me kisses, held onto my clothes, nuzzled my moms jacket, and kept trying to shake hands and do tricks. The vet tech said that she kept trying to do tricks during her exams too.


We went home, and at 8 were told she passed a tiny bit of manure.

At 4am, I was woken up to a call. She had passed just a few tiny pebbles of manure (half the size of a grape, or smaller), and was having serious gas buildup and breakthrough pain despite being on an opioid and ketamine. I of course gave them the go-ahead to to the trocarization (inserting a needle to remove gas/liquid buildup).

At 8am, we got a call saying that the gas hadn't built up any more, but that so far there was no more progress in passing anything. They said the current plan was to continue with the current treatment, but that surgery might be something to start thinking about, but that she really was not a good canident for it. She was in the ICU.

At 12:20, we got a call saying the gas had started building up again, but very quickly this time. This was a very bad sign. The likelyhood of having progress with medical colic treatment was unlikely. They had done another rectal for a ultrasound, and they found the manure hadn't moved at all. But at the same time; the odds of her making it through surgery were just as low. They doubted the surgeon would even try it. They said it was a lot of money for something without good odds. They said this might be a lifelong thing where she just continues to colic over and over again, no matter what we do. She is a failure to thrive baby. It turns out her mother? The palomino? Genetically impossible to be her mother. Bays and Palaminos cannot produce Red Dunns. So it's unknown if she ever even got colostrum, and she definitely wasn't nursing well from what i'd seen and the breeder said. She has never been a fan of hay (no matter how much we try), and will half-starve herself(No, it's not pain from ulcers, and our vets are working with us to try finding something she DOES like other than grass, grain and treats but its a very slow process), so unlike MOST minis she is a very hard keeper. Even with high grain rations (she loves her grain), a command to make her eat a few nibbles, and free choice hay and plenty of treats and monthly worming and perfect teeth; she dosen't have the fat reserves like most other horses have. She's also tiny- 56 pounds and the size of a lab. She is very young, I've had multible people tell me stories of how their foals got colic and simply went down and gave up.

They said it was our choice. They said they could talk to the surgery team. They didn't say it in words; but in tone and phrases, there was no hope. There was no talk of the surgery being successful. There was no talk of her ever coming home. When we asked about recovery, and when she'd be able to come home after surgery and what her care would be, we were just told it would be 'a lot of work if it happens'.

We told them to talk to the surgeon. To give us ten minuets, and we'd have the next 4k paid to get her the surgery. They called us back, and said that the surgeon agreed and that it was really the only chance.

We got there to see her at 1:40ish. I walked into her stall and knelt next to her, and she perked up. Even with drugs and pain to the point of trouble standing, she lifted her head and flicked my hand around for pets. She looked at my mom. She started sniffing around her stall, and even started clumsily walking a few steps. She still had her sparks in her eyes and was looking for trouble, trying to eat shavings through her muzzle. We spent some times with her.

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-continued
 

ServiceMini

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As soon as they were ready, we went out to the waiting room. We really hurried out there, because she needed another trocarization.


She was put under at 3, and they finished at 5. It took until 6:20 for her to be able to walk out and to her stall in the ICU.

She did not handle being put under very well, the surgery ran into a complication so they had to many a few cuts in her gut to remove everything which increases the risk for infection, sutures breaking, and her gut no longer being able to move things through her intestines; then ontop of it she took quite awhile to wake up. They said most likely, this impaction had been slowly building up for awhile.

This was the first time sense 4am that the vets seemed hopeful. She was smiling. She was excited. She said she pulled through. That she wasn't out of the woods and wouldn't be for awhile; but that she looked good.

Over the night there were no calls. In the morning, the call was late- we were told that they'd call around eight.

But when we got it, it was good news. She made it through the night. She was alert, inquisitive. Interactive. She had IV feeding all night long, and to my knowledge still is, but she drank some water and even ate a bit of mash on her own. The real test was if she could pass manure. The vets were (and still are) surprised at how fast she's bounced back and how quickly she's recovering. Everybody that knows her, is not. Soda never knows when or how to quit; she never has. Soda is full of life and willpower; and I truly believe that's why she's still her paired with such an amazing team working on her so hard, even when they didn't have hope. I am so, SO incredibly thankful they kept working on her and gave her a chance. There was even mention of talking to a nutritionist there after she heals, the first time they've admitted that she might get through this.

That night, she passed a bit of manure. She also got a plasma infusion. This morning, there was more poop! Not a lot, but more. The good news is that she has good gut sounds, a good appitie (though they aren't feeding her a whole lot yet), and is alert. Today she will be having another ultrasound, and her incision site checked.




These past few days have been probably the most stressful days of my life. I haven't been sleeping, eating, or really doing much more than frantically trying to work on her GoFundMe campain, and bring as much attention to it as possible. I've been working on wrighting posts everywhere I can find, sharing her fundraising page, designing flyers to hang, finding ways to raise donations, pushed the opening of my dog training buisness from this June to yesterday, contacting all the local mutual aid groups, contacted local stores to hang flyers and put up donation jars, selling things, orginizing donations, working on a can and bottle drive, and even contacted our local town news. I also contacted an accupuntir-er and massage therapist to see if she'd be willing to do a few sessions on Sodapop while in the hospital (I got the vets permission first!).

Today and tomarrow i'll be going around town to post flyers, and try to convince more local buisnesses to let me hang them near their registers and put out donation jars. I will hopefully be visiting her tomarrow as soon as visiting hours start. I'll also continue working on ways to continue fundraising.


As is, her bill stands at at LEAST 10,000. But it's looking more and more like 12,000 or more. We have to keep it paid up to at least half for her to continue getting treatment. Then pay the rest at time of discharge. At the time of wrighting, I'm about 5,000 in debt to various people, and have raised just over 800 dollars in 24 hours in donations.


Please keep her in your thoughts. She isn't out of the woods yet, but she is stable.
If you have ANY fundraising ideas; please share them! I am taking and running with every possible avenue- including setting up every possible place to get donations through (paypal, cashapp, ect).

I would post the gofundme here, but I am not sure if I am allowed to? Does anybody know?

I am so, so increadibly lucky that I know people willing to loan me the money so quickly so she could get this surgery. I am increadibly lucky to live so close to Cornell, with some of the best vets and surgeons in the world. Above all, I am lucky that Sodapop has more willpower than any other being I know. Against every single odd; we gave her a chance and she is proving all the experts wrong.


I will continue updating you on her progress. Hopefully it's more good news.
 

Capriole

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Oh my God!!! I am so sorry you are all going through this....poor, little Sodapop! I'm happy she came through the surgery and is doing well
(and thank you for stating that at the begining....otherwise I think I would have been crying so hard I wouldn't have even been able to read the rest)
Wishing Sodapop a very speedy recovery!!

BTW...if you type Sodapop Go Fund Me in the search it comes right up.
 
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Taz

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What a nightmare!! So happy she came through the surgery and is stable. I've known 3 horses who have had colic surgery and relaxation is a big thing for them making it out of the clinic. If you can get the massage and acupuncture done asap it would be very good for her as well as you being able to spend as much time with her as possible. After that as long as their gut is working and there is no infection the biggest problem going forward is the incision healing. With the big horses it's a lot of weight on it and concern of it rupturing until it heals. With her size I would think that would be less of a problem for her. You've I'm sure already been told all that and more.

I was reading an article on horses with chronic colic a while ago and something it brought up was giving them mineral oil every day. I don't know if that would help her going forward but it's worth asking about. If it would do no harm then why not? If they can get a nutritionist to help you out that would be wonderful!

Hugs for all of you and hoping she keeps getting better!!!!
 

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Omg! What an ordeal you are going through!! I am so glad she has pulled through!! And that she is getting better!!

It reminds my of my little Thunder. He was her size when he was her age. He has now coliced 5+ times in less than a year! I have been lucky to catch it really early. He never shows the text book signs of colic. For him, he gets this stare and then just backs up a few steps. I guess the signs are really different for every horse. Now you know her signs and will hopefully be able to catch it quickly if there is ever a next time. I wonder what made her colic in the first place? Any ideas?

For Thunder, i have found that if he gorges himself, he will colic. I am finding that I have to be really, really consistent with his daily rations or watch out! He can’t handle any changes to his diet, including bad/brown hay. And he MUST have his hay in tiny hole hay nets or he will gorge himself till he is sick.

I pray that she continues to get better and stronger everyday!! It’s hard being a horsey MOM, but it is so worth it and so rewarding. You are doing a wonderful job, hang in there, things will get better 💕💕
 
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ServiceMini

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Thank you so much for all the support everybody! We have a new update on Sodapop from her vet tonight:


She is alert, she hasn't passed anymore manure but they currently think it's due to her having been so emptied out during surgery paired with eating so little, so they're hoping to see some tomarrow! They took her off of one pain med, and will be taking her off of her other one if she handles it well. She is moving very slowly/not much, but seems bright.

She is eating more, and is doing very good drinking, so good that they are going to try to take her off of her IV fluids. She is eating, but very slowly. She over all seems to be moving in the right direction. I asked about visiting and Dr.Baker said that she didn't see an issue with it, but that she would ask the vets who will be in charge during the weekend, and we will see if we can in the morning update.


@Capriole Thank you, and you're welcome! I don't want to put anybody through the same levels of panic I've been having lately. And thank you for letting people know the gofundme is easy to find!! <3



If you can get the massage and acupuncture done asap it would be very good for her as well as you being able to spend as much time with her as possible

Thank you for the advice!! I am trying hard to get somebody in there as soon as possible- and tomarrow we are REALLY hoping to get to visit for awhile!
I will also note down to ask about the mineral oil- but for sure we are going to be working with a nutritionist to find a way to keep better weight on her.



I wonder what made her colic in the first place? Any ideas?
Yes! It was a forgin body- my moms lost hair tie (elastic band type) and hair that was wrapped around it. Needless to say from now on mom will be learning to tie her hair with itself, or very thick and easy to spot ribbons. Not to mention Sodapop will no longer have free-rein of the house without a special muzzle, and be stuck in the front room with me where we've taken away anything she could ingest or rip up then ingest otherwise.

I am so sorry that he has coliced so often!! That is so scary!! I am really hoping she dosen't have ongoing issues- that was a major concern that she would be a chronic colicer and a reason why the vets didn't really want to put her through surgery, but apparently finding a hair tie means they're thinking this could be a one-off fluke! Which is what we're all hoping. Mom currently feels horrible that she found one and decided to eat it. The vets were so positive it wouldn't be a forgin body- but it's just Sodapops style to confuse people i guess. 🙃 They specifically said 'Dogs eat weird things, horses generally dont'.
 

ServiceMini

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I had a weanling that ate the plastic strip identifying an electric fence. I saw it passed one day after he'd been a little lethargic. Thank goodness. Removed all those plastic strips! Babies eat the strangest things.
They sure do!! The whole house is getting deep cleaned and we're checking everywhere for any possible strings or bands or anything else that might be hiding under furniture (thanks to my cat). And anything labled dangerous is getting rehomed or thrown out!

I'm so glad your little one passed it okay!!
 

ServiceMini

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Hello everybody! We got to visit her today!!! :)



Thank you SO much for donating and sharing the page! We are up over 1,000 dollars!
This is hugely helpful in getting her home and getting her on the long road to recovery.


Today Sodapop had a set back. She coliced again. She started rolling and they stopped her, gave her some pain meds and luckily she seemed to get through it okay and even passed a tiny bit more manure. It was very dry and mucus-y. We are all really hoping in the next few days, she starts passing a regular, healthy ammount. She is re-starting IV nutrition after a short break. She is also going to be eating less, as the ultrasound yesterday showed she seems to be filling back up without much going through her system completely. This could just be from too much grain too fast; so she is being lowered right back down again.


IMG_20220305_121459717.jpg


Today she seemed to be looking good. She was bright, chearful, excited to see us. She whinnied and came up to the pen they have her in (inside of her own stall, as the stalls are just too big for her). She has a cute green coat, a big green jolly ball that is almost as big as she is, and a cute blue matress to lay on. I sat on the floor and gave her a tiny bit of grain-soup, as they had saved her breakfast knowing we were coming to visit. She was very happy and pawed a bit. She also tried shaking my hand a few times.


I showed them how she goes potty on command, and explained her preferred potty locations. They took Sodapop to meet their resident mini, and she loved it! She was nickering according to the vets.


Some good news; as of today, the bill is MUCH lower than expected! Sitting at only just under 7,000! It will continue to get higher; especially if she continues backtracking, but we are all hoping this was a fluke.
 

ServiceMini

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Poor bub. I’m so glad that your tiny horse is doing ok! I tried googling your fundraiser but I couldn’t find it. Maybe you can post the link? But I don’t know what the rules are re posting. I guess worst case is admin remove it?

I will go ahead and post it; you're right, worst case an admin can remove it! I have also checked all over the rules and it seems okay??

 

HersheyMint

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Hello everybody! We got to visit her today!!! :)



Thank you SO much for donating and sharing the page! We are up over 1,000 dollars!
This is hugely helpful in getting her home and getting her on the long road to recovery.


Today Sodapop had a set back. She coliced again. She started rolling and they stopped her, gave her some pain meds and luckily she seemed to get through it okay and even passed a tiny bit more manure. It was very dry and mucus-y. We are all really hoping in the next few days, she starts passing a regular, healthy ammount. She is re-starting IV nutrition after a short break. She is also going to be eating less, as the ultrasound yesterday showed she seems to be filling back up without much going through her system completely. This could just be from too much grain too fast; so she is being lowered right back down again.


View attachment 46293


Today she seemed to be looking good. She was bright, chearful, excited to see us. She whinnied and came up to the pen they have her in (inside of her own stall, as the stalls are just too big for her). She has a cute green coat, a big green jolly ball that is almost as big as she is, and a cute blue matress to lay on. I sat on the floor and gave her a tiny bit of grain-soup, as they had saved her breakfast knowing we were coming to visit. She was very happy and pawed a bit. She also tried shaking my hand a few times.


I showed them how she goes potty on command, and explained her preferred potty locations. They took Sodapop to meet their resident mini, and she loved it! She was nickering according to the vets.


Some good news; as of today, the bill is MUCH lower than expected! Sitting at only just under 7,000! It will continue to get higher; especially if she continues backtracking, but we are all hoping this was a fluke.
Your post is positive today :) I'm so glad to hear. Prayers are working.
Thank you for the update. Tell Sodapop we are all thinking of her.
 

ServiceMini

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SODAPOP NEWS!!

She is still colicky, persistantly, BUT they think it's just from her small collen emptying into and going through her large collen and then rectum. When they do internal exams, she consistantly has tiny hard pellets to be emptied out- she's just not activley pooping on her own yet. So the running theory is that she is just colicky from the discomfort of that. But it means her gut is working things through!!!

She is doing better than she was doing last night! Still on mild pain killers, she is still on IV nutrition and is handling it great with no adverse effects. They haven't needed to keep her sedated either!

The bill jumped by almost 1,000 dollars throughout yesterday, last night, and this morning, but I told them do whatever they can that she will tolerate. I really do not care how far into debt I have to go for her. Life finds a way to settle into place if you work hard enough.

She, if she continues passing manure and especially if she starts passing all on her own which she should if she keeps getting emptied out and gets to soft normal manure and not blocked up stuff, she can very slowly be weaned back onto a small tiny bit of grain tomarrow

She is also stomach-ulcer-free, which is good news, especially being off of normal food for five days in all reality. She's barely had any food. But the IV nutrition is there to help!

I am hoping to get a photo or two texted to me tonight, and to visit her tomarrow with the vets approval (going back to Dr.B for the week and I know she has no issue with it).


I am looking through stuff to order for once Sodapop comes home.
I found a mesh horse muzzle that HOPEFULLY will be small enough (she is in a foal sized muzzle for now, because she keeps trying to get into trouble! It's still too big for her lol), for when she is wandering the house and I can't keep my eyes on her the entire time, though for at least a month she'll be confined to the front room and not allowed to do much other than hand-walking.

I am also getting a book to note down and keep track of her recovery. What she eats, how much she eats, how often she gets up/down, how much comes out of her, how much she drinks, how much and how often we walk her through the house (I'm not sure if she'll be able to walk down her ramp to get outside at first) her temperature, all that stuff as it's expected that she'll continue having a rough recovery.


My question: What toys do your horses enjoy that would be okay on 'stall' rest? I will be clearing them all with her vet, but I would love to get more ideas. Do your horses like Likits? Or the jolly ball version? Are they too big for such a tiny horse? What have you done in the past for stall rest to keep them entertained? Sodapop is constantly looking for something to do, and has never had to just stay in a small space before. She is very food driven, and loves things that make noise.

She has a few dog toys (a big rope toy, a crinkley squeaky toy, and some squeaky toys she likes) along with a few baby toys (my old 'octopus' from the late 90s that has bells in their shoes and diffrent textures, a 'phone' that when she presses buttons makes noises, baby keys that also have a 'key fob' that makes noises, and a number of crinkley books), but the vet dosen't want her playing with anything not made for horses when she isn't supervised, just incase she gets something loose and decides to eat it.
 

Taz

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Good news!! Thanks for posting an update, I check back all the time hoping for something good.
I'm not going to be any help with toys, mine mostly ignore theirs. I think a lik-it would be fine for her. They are mostly sugar but if she's a hard keeper she would be ok with that. All her feed in treat balls so it lasts longer and she has to work for it? If you have any grass there yet maybe scatter that around for her to hunt for? You might want to ask about giving her a tiny bit of ace(mild tranq that comes in a sweet powder), I've done that to keep them happier on stall rest. You are going to be busy entertaining/playing with her but it's going to be a really good busy :)

We are all thinking/worrying about and pulling for her❤
 

ServiceMini

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@Taz Good ideas!! She does have a feeder ball- it is meant for dogs and looks like a huge tenis ball that she loves, so i'll use that for her grain instead of just treats :) And hopefully we get grass soon!! I have a patch I refuse to mow so I can get long grass to stuff into this ball with holes for her, but no long grass yet. :( Maybe put some alfalfa in there if her new nutritionalists approve it?

And thank you for the idea!! I'll put it in my phone to ask about Ace :)

I'll be with her 24/7 for quite awhile, and hopefully can convince my new clients to meet up in my town, then if she's cleared to go down her ramp she can come with me in her stroller possibly so she dosen't get into trouble if I can't find someone to watch her... Which I should probably get a picture of her riding in sometime! I don't think many people have seen a horse in a stroller. 🤣
 

kimbalina

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You could try throwing some grain in pots of soil to grow some grass or get grass seeds to sprout into pots for a fodder treat. I know horses love grain but I think they benefit from constant foraging for grass and haylage. It is their most natural food and behaviour. A lot of grain can absorb all the fluid from guts which can cause constipation.

Could you try a mirror? When our mini was alone he loved having a mirror. It was soothing for him as they are herd animals and are happier with other horses.

Do you use a lot of treats when training? what kind of treats do you feed? With our little one I find pressure and release training works best. We haven’t started using treats yet for training. The ‘treat’ is usually just the release of pressure. I find he is more mentally stable and behaves better in general if I dissociate treats from training but others would disagree.

I wonder if Soda Pop would like to watch some horsey videos... even listen to horsey noises?

I know treatballs are fun. My boy loved his when he was in our yard. but I would be concerned that it is training a type of behaviour that encourages looking in packages/plastic/household objects for random treats... Which is a concern if he is in a household environment where he can’t be supervised all the time I guess...

I hope when he goes home he will be well enough to go for walks outside. Sunshine, fresh air, blue skies have magical healing powers! Stay strong little one!!
 

Taz

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Yes, hydroponic grass/sprouts!! Another thing to ask the vet about for her.
This started for horses many years ago and they do great with it. They get a 'tray' every day. I looked and there are lots of youtube videos on how to make your own system. It's not very expensive or labour intensive(sounds better than doing dishes twice a day 😂) after you get something built and she can have it year round unlike grass.

Anxiously waiting for good news 🙏
 

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