Wednesday, July 1, 2020

called it: my horse's big fever

There is a LOT that I don't know about horses. A lot a lot a lot. Because, ya know, at the end of the day, I'm mostly learning through experiences. But.... there's more to learn about horses than can be realistically experienced in any one single lifetime, right?

Actually -- that's probably my favorite thing about this blogging community:: everyone sharing all the small details of their own horsey experiences. By following along with so many other horse people online, I've been able to sorta vicariously live through certain situations that otherwise might remain unfamiliar to me.

remember this pic from a week and a half ago?
Ticks, tho.... Lol, they are definitely not unfamiliar to me. Haha. Hahaha. Yea... esp in this part of the world, we get a LOT of them. I've been pulling ticks off horses for as long as I've been grooming horses, and pulling them off myself for even longer.

And actually, at least in Maryland, any time a horse doesn't seem quite right - maybe he's not totally sound, or is behaving a little funny, or just something you can't quite put your finger on - testing for Lyme is almost always in the Top 5 diagnostic boxes to check off the list.

but really tho, what would we do without google, eh?

Since I've owned Charlie, he's been tested for Lyme at least twice -- but possibly three times. Always a very low titer, tho.  But meanwhile, in recent years, it seems like other tick borne illnesses have become more prevalent.

obligatory screenshot from the inevitable barn mgr text convo, with yet another variation of creative spelling lol

Particularly: Anaplasmosis. I swear, at least half a dozen times in the last two years - both in real life and in blogland - every time a horse pops up with a big fever, lethargy, and maybe one or more swollen legs, that's what it's been.

And idk.... There was something about that welt on Charlie's shoulder from the first picture. I've pulled a LOT of ticks off this horse. And we all know he's a fragile delicate hothouse flower.

sad freshly hosed off horse
But that big round swelling.... Idk, I've just never seen anything quite like that. Which is probably why I immediately started googling about that particular type of tick (Lonestar). And figured, based on what I was seeing, that.... Yep, wouldn't be surprised if Charlie busted out a big fever in a week or two.

Which, naturally, Charlie dutifully obliged exactly 9 days later, haha.

sad drying but still-very-clammy horse. homeboy was HOT to the touch :(
The poor guy, he really felt pretty crummy too :(

He's such a good patient, tho, such an open book. This is definitely a horse who fully expects humans to solve his problems and therefore is actually surprisingly communicative when he doesn't feel good.

yup, is a very sad charles.... look at his poor sweaty forehead and eye lids :( :( :(
He skipped his dinner, tho accepted a treat from the feeder, and explained to her that actually he was really quite feverish. 105*F to be precise, a number so high the barn mgr immediately tested again with a second thermometer. Then, obvi, administered banamine and initiated an after-hours call with the vet.

I was actually already on my way out after work at this point, so I could give him a second hose down and graze him in the shade while we waited for the vet.

and a Mikey cat, obvi, to interject some cuteness!
All signs did indeed point to tick-borne illness, tho I guess the clinical presentation is pretty similar for a broad range of particular ailments - from anaplasmosis to Potomac fever. Luckily tho, the banamine had already started working and Charlie's temp was down below 102*F.

So the vet pulled some blood, then administered a whopping 60cc IV of diluted oxytetracycline - a broad spectrum antibiotic.

 charlie was well enough on day 2 to "help" his super-groom paint the window frames lol <3
I guess you pull the blood first prior to treatment in case you need to look at liver or kidney function down the line, and/or if you decide to run a blood panel to test for the specific illness. The panel is really only necessary if the horse doesn't improve in the next 12ish hours, unless you just want to be extra careful.

also feeling well enough to tease his friend elephant while grazing lol
Lucky for Charles, he was allowed to spend the night out in the field with his friends --- definitely much more pleasant than the stuffy barn. And came in the next morning with a lower fever around 101. Much better, sir.

pictured: one f*ing GIANT syringe of (diluted) oxytetracycline
The treatment continues with banamine as needed for a day or two, and two more days of those mega IV oxytetracycline doses. The vets apparently prefer to administer this themselves, since I guess it can be pretty nasty if any gets outside of the vein. And since there's so much of it omg 60 fucking ccs..... yea, it takes a professional's touch haha.

dear lord... apparently the vet has seen this drug literally knock a horse out before?!
After that, the horse switches to roughly one week of doxy, an oral antibiotic, to complete the treatment. And... theoretically, is all better after a couple days.

We did opt to run the blood panel anyway just to rule out anything more serious, even with Charlie seeming better. I'm not expecting any surprises there, tho, based on how well Charlie's already responded.

doxy powder, and banamine just to have on hand since i had to use a barn mate's stock. barn mgr recommended the injectable formula since it can be IV and oral
And meanwhile, I'm gonna add a pro-biotic to his supplement baggies just to counteract his getting walloped by all the antibiotics. Gotta keep those gut flora happy, right? And actually, if he were a horse with a more sensitive stomach or had any serious history with ulcers, I'd probably add even more gastric support - like U7 or something.

But as it is, he'll probably be fine. And a nice bonus side effect of the doxy is that it also has some pretty excellent anti inflammatory properties haha. So who knows, maybe Charlie will come out of this feeling even better than before!

pairs well with doxy!
So ya know. Even without having the blood panel results back yet, we're feeling fairly confident in Charlie's recovery. As with so much in life, the simplest solution is usually the correct one. After that nasty tick bite, from a tick notorious for carrying anaplasmosis, it almost felt inevitable that, yup, Charlie would get sick.

Fortunately tho it seems like a fairly straightforward thing. Every horse I've known who has had it recovered without issue. Definitely a shitty couple days for the pony but.... Well. It could be worse I guess!



42 comments:

  1. Oh no! Poor Charlie! Pig definitely feels his pain acutely, lol. I feel like anaplasmosis is our November/December trick of choice these days. 😅 Those IV antibiotics can be really nasty. I'm always amazed at how slow my vet can administer them. #skills

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    1. that's why we pay them the big bucks, right? lol...

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  2. Poor Charles. I’m sending lots of virtual hugs your way. I had a dog with anaplasmosis and it was nasty. Frankly I’m shocked that Irish hasn’t had it yet.

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    1. ugh yea... i hate how common it is here too!

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  3. Could definitely be worse. Poor Charlie. Glad he's on the mend!

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  4. Poor Charlie, he looks so pitiful in that sweaty picture 😓 Glad he seems to be getting better!

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    1. omgosh he was MAXIMUM PITIFUL haha -- poor charlie, he really does experience everything at an 11

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  5. AW CHARLIE. I hope he's feeling better soon, poor dude! he looks so miserable.

    now i'm paranoid, spicy has a fat leg. altho I think it's because of the lady bug sized scrape and not a tick. and hes certainly anything but lethargic...

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    1. aw -- if you're worried tho just take his temp. anaplasmosis is characterized by a giant fever

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  6. 105°F sounds downright DREADFUL. I hope he'll be feeling 200% very soon.

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    1. as someone who was down with a fever in recent memory, yes. dreadful is the right word!! luckily at least with this, it's short lived!

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  7. Ughhh poor guy! Glad he's responding well to treatment.

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  8. Oh poor Charlie! It is sort of handy when they express their feelings so easily. Glad Mikey was there to offer a bit of support too. I hope Charlie is back to his old self soon after the meds! I really hate ticks and their damn diseases.

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    1. honestly i really appreciate that charlie is so communicative -- he will literally point to where it hurts for an injury haha. it's also nice tho when others discover his illness (like in this case), where i basically know immediately whether or not to be worried bc.... he WILL tell them if he's actually dying LOL

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  9. Poor Charlie. I am glad you caught it so early and really hope he pulls through feeling even better when treatment is done. I have heard anaplasmosis isn't a fun journey.

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    1. definitely! honestly most of the cases i know of are essentially one day of giant fever that people typically notice right away bc the horse won't eat or looks massively pitiful. actually, the vet said most horses can clear the infection on their own even without the drugs. but we treat heavily anyway esp on the off chance it's something worse like potomac fever etc (which was ruled out by blood tests in this instance)

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  10. Oh, poor Charlie, he did not look happy! I'm so glad you were on top of it and got him the good (big) drugs to help him feel better.

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    1. oh my god he was SO SAD :( and he literally could.not.believe that those merciless flies would still bite him given his state of unfathomable woe!!

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  11. Oh no! I hope Charlie perks up and feels better with no other issues soon!

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    1. thanks - he's already much better and basically just working through the tail end of an elevated temp. luckily it's a pretty short-lived illness!

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  12. Oh wow! I am glad he is doing ok! Also, he really does rely on humans doesn't he? He's like "don't feel well-whatcha going to do about it?"

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    1. Lololol he really is like a toddler haha, so needy!! Secretly I love it tho lol

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  13. Ticks be the devil. Glad he is feeling better & very glad it's fixable! Also wanted to offer a tip to keep the Probios somewhere climate controlled -- probiotic bacteria are heat-intolerant & die quickly if not kept within their temp range.

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    1. Ticks are 100% the devil. Luckily anaplasmosis seems to be among the most straight forward and low consequence tick borne illness....

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  14. Ugh poor Charles and poor you! I read up on Lonestar ticks the other day (was talking ticks with one of T's friends) and apparently they can make humans allergic to red meat. Weird right?

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    1. Dude isn’t that insane?!?!? I had literally never seen or heard of this type tick before this one - but the white dot on it was so striking plus he had that enormous reaction so obviously I googled it. Didn’t click on any of the ppl links so I was sorta focused on horsey implications - but I did see that about the meat allergy. Omg talk about tragic, I would be soooo sad if that happened omg

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  15. Hope Charles is back to his perky self soon!!

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    1. He’s much better already thankfully!!!

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  16. Wow, that welt! We have ticks here but they are mostly benign. Which is especially fortunate since they seem to like Cupid the best (probably b/c he's so thin-skinned). Freedom45 has seemed to help keep ticks off.

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    1. Yea we basically have every single type of tick here in Maryland, esp the ones with the worst diseases ugh.... they’re so prevalent that it almost seems pointless to try to avoid them. Like the cost benefit of coating the horse (and subsequently the local environment) with toxic chemicals vs just hoping for the best about contracting any of the diseases :(

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  17. Oh poor Charlie, he always seems to cop it. Glad he seems to be perking up, I hope he recovers quickly!

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    1. lol it's like he doesn't want to miss anything, doesn't want to be left out from anything. if there's ever an opportunity for charlie to get into trouble, it's like he cannonballs straight in haha. which ya know... at least he's predictable!

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  18. Oh poor big man. I hope he bounces back quickly. I have no experience with anaplasmosis in animals, but I did have it myself when I lived in WI and I'll tell you that was the sickest I have ever been in my life. It was awful. I have all the sympathy for poor big man.

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    1. ugh for real. i'm always amazed by how immediately a fever will just lay me out, ugh. the poor horse, i felt so bad for him :( luckily by day 2 he was much better and by now seems more or less completely recovered!

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  19. That's a serious fever, wow! Poor dude! I've been through anaplasmosis once with Scout and it was quite scary -- but caught quickly and treated aggressively they really seem to bounce back! I hope he's feeling like his usual self soon!

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    1. yea i think especially if you don't know what it is at first, the huge fever and swollen legs (if they get that symptom) can be really really worrisome. luckily in this case i honestly more or less expected it and knew what it was as soon as i got the message about a fever. and even better -- it really is a straight forward treatment. would 100% prefer an anaplasmosis diagnosis to lyme any day!!

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  20. Awww, poor Charlie! That sounds like a whopping treatment for that, but I'm glad he's doing okay!

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  21. Hampton has done this to me twice. Ugh its so awful when they feel so crappy. Sounds like your vet isn't messing around! Hope Charlie feels better soon!

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  22. Ugh, yeah ticks are the worst. I'm like two towns over from the town of Lyme, CT which is where the disease got it's name. So yeah. We run lyme titers every year when we do vaccinations.
    Poor you guys though! 105 is scary! I'm glad he responded quickly and hope that the bloodwork all comes back okay.

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  23. Poor Charlie!! I hope he continues to heal and feel better. Always worrying when they are spiking such big fevers.

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