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Choke in Foal- my story about Happy

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Kim~Crayonboxminiatures

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On Wednesday May 28th my little colt "Crayonbox Almost A Heart Break" decided to live up to his name yet again (he was a red bag birth) and I had to rush him to my equine vet, while juggling the kids I nanny, had the 23 month old with me, and 4 yr old was in preschool. Ironically I had just made a trip to the vet to pick up meds for one of my mares, my dad called when I was on my way home and told me Happy had strings of saliva, I knew right away it was choke. When I got home I found he also had lots of green coming from his nostrils and looked very dopey, so called the vet and packed up him and his dam Frosty Chip to go back again. My equine vet tried to get a tube thru his nose to dislodge the blockage, but his nasal passages were too narrow for a tube big enough to dislodge the blockage, so she sent us to a small animal clinic that has done work on Minis for them other times.

The small animal vet did x-rays, then put him under with mask and used endoscopy to view the blockage and remove some of the larger peices and then push it into the stomach. This part was interesting to see inside the esophogas, etc, and would have liked to watch the whole time if not for chasing a 23 month old around the clinic. After Happy woke up from the anesthesia, we loaded him up and went back to my equine vet for instructions/antibiotic treatment before heading home. He was one tired puppy after his ordeal and he slept most of the afternoon and night when I checked on him. She said it is unusual for them to choke this young, they think it was a dry fecal ball that he ate and got stuck. He is on antibiotics and I have to monitor his temp and for any signs of depression, because he could develop pneumonia from aspiration.

This Wednesday he finished the antibiotic my vet prescribed after his first choke, and I spoke to her over the phone about how to keep him, etc. She advised that sometime he has to live like a horse, so he went back to the dry lot at night and pasture during the day with access only to fine hay, and to keep an eye on him.

Yesterday (Friday) morning I was clipping the foals because we are supposed to hit over 90 degrees this weekend, and my good friend Lib from Little Heartwood Miniatures came over to help clip. When we finished clipping the foals we went inside to get drinks and chat horses, an hour or so later Lib looked out the window and noticed Happy had something coming out of his mouth. I walked out and found he had ropes of saliva again, and green nostrils again.
I called my vet and she recommended taking him to the large animal hospital New Bolton Center where they could diagnose why he is choking, it's very, very unusual for a foal this age (he was 3 wks the first time and now 1 month) to choke once, let alone twice. Thankfully by the time I had the trailer hitched and things ready to go, he had resolved the choke on his own this time. I took him to New Bolton anyway because I wanted to know if he had a physical reason why this keeps happening.

I was very grateful that Lib could ride along with me, so 45mins and one bag of Goldfish crackers later we arrived at New Bolton. Happy was a big attraction from the start, they put him on a guerney with sheepskin blanket and there was a surgeon, two vets, several interns and vet techs/assistants a total of 12 people around him and more coming and going to look. The surgeon did an endoscopy right away and couldn't find any abnormalities down his esphogus, no narrowing areas and everything was working properly for swallowing. The surgeon then handed him over to the other medical vets to do their work and find if there was any other reason for him choking, or if he had pneumonia from aspirating. She had blood pulled for testing, did x-rays of his chest/stomach, and they did an x-ray with barium to x-ray as it traveled to the stomach. While waiting for the radiology room to be available, Happy fell asleep on the guerney with all the attention, he slept totally out for 10-15 mins! Frosty Chip was a very good mom and stood waiting patiently while all these things were going on with Happy.

Their diagnosis is that Happy is a very curious neonate who eats everything. They found dirt in his stomach in the x-rays. He is now limited to only pasture to keep him hopefully away from anything unusual to eat. He is getting 14 more days of antibiotic at a larger dose, and they want his fibrinogen levels tested again in 10 days by my vet. I think she said the fibrinogen tests related to if he aspirated anything, I looked it up and Wikipedia said they use it in veterinary medicine to test for inflammation. So after getting the instruction sheet and antibiotics we loaded Frosty Chip and Happy to head back home. I called my vet at 2:30pm, we arrived home from New Bolton around 6:45pm so it was a long afternoon!

So now Happy is out in a big 3 acre pasture with lots and lots of grass, and with his two foal buddies Sky & Autumn. I'm hoping they all stay out of trouble! I'm so relieved his is okay and that is all that is causing his trouble, he is a very unique and special little guy, everyone falls in love with him after one visit!


Happy may get a name change, I haven't registered him yet, but he sure is living up to the name "Almost A Heart Breaker." He is giving me grey hair! I think after all this he is going to be a keeper, although I don't know how I will pay off the vet bills with only selling one foal this year.
 

barnbum

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Oh my I'm glad it's a happy ending--no pun intended.
That has got to be so scary to see a foal choke--or any horse. It's hard to watch what the foals are eating every minute! I know I worry about it when I have them--dirt, stones, shavings, hair, poops! I'm constantly cleaning up after grooming to keep the foals from sampling what's on the ground.

Let's hope your worries for this lil guy are over now that you've got him moved to greener grounds.

I hope so!!
 

Charlotte

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Oh my Kim! Thank God Heart Break had an astute owner and good vets!

All I can say is...Been there, Done that. Just 2 weeks ago even. With our little Beyond Stardom. It seems to happen more often in colts. At least around here. And I've had them choke 3 times in one week!

Our vet sees quite a bit of this and more commonly in mini foals. He says the worst ones are the shavings eaters. And once the blockage is passed then often the esophogas is irritated and a bit swolen so more likely to block up again!

Like what you've done I've found the best thing to do is get them out in a grass pasture with other foals to play with. That seems to keep them busy and their minds off of cramming junk in their mouth.

Beyond was pretty gurgly so on antibiotics too but he's fine now.

It seems there's always something to worry over isn't there?

And by the way, I really like little Heart Break's name!

Charlotte

p.s. I hope he's on your web site. Heading to take a look now.

OMG! He is a doll! And I do believe I see a bit of the mischief maker in that expression.
 
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Kim~Crayonboxminiatures

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Thanks barnbum and Charolotte! I had the vets at New Bolton tell him they didn't want to see him again!

Interesting Charlotte that you've had this happen before, and one at the same time, it's so scary! My vet had never seen choke in a foal so young in 30 years of practice, but she sees a lot of full size horses.

I will have new photos of him clipped up on the website later this afternoon, he does have the look of mischief in his eyes!
 

HGFarm

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Oh my gosh, I am so glad his tests came back normal except that he is just an inquisitive nosey little boy!! LOL I swear these Minis are worse than toddlers, and if they can find something to get into- they sure will!

Hopefully he wont do it again, but at least you know his insides are normal and he is just a 'pest'!
 

Lucky-C-Acres-Minis

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SOOO glad everything has turned out well!! Having had one mare choke and going through the tubing and scoping I know to well how scary that situation is, can't imagine the fear you had with your baby.. Give him a big smooch and hug for me!
 

RAPfrosty

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Oh no not again, how scary! I'm glad the little guy recovered and is doing well, he is such a cutie (probably my favorite foal this year, just don't tell the others haha). Hopefully Fever won't get any ideas, especially while I'm in Florida
 

Magic

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Whew, glad to hear that he's ok!! I had a very young foal choke last year, she was only a few days old, it sure was scary. She hasn't ever done it again though (knock on wood!) I hope that your colt doesn't either, he sure is a doll!!!
 

dreaminmini

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I'm glad he is okay. But he does have that cute troublemaker face.
Hope he doesn't land himself in any more trouble.
 

Kim~Crayonboxminiatures

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Thanks everyone, so far so good (knock on wood) the large pasture and the heat wave here seem to be keeping him occupied.

He is such a special guy I've decided to keep him and sell another, I think he planned this, LOL!
 

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