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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Necropsy results

I swear! Last post on this subject.

The vet called me back with the necropsy results. She said it was "interesting". "Interesting" is a much better word to hear when your horse is dead rather than alive..... The small intestine was DEFINITELY displaced, and infected, which means at one point it was probably cut off from a blood supply. The cecum was also displaced and had a weird color. Her gut was completely obstructed. There was also hemorrhaging in various places. There was a hole in her cecum, but the vet said this could have happened during the euthanasia, since she thinks that her heart rate would have been higher if the hole was there during her life. I'm not sure. Displacement of almost every GI organ? Hemorrhaging? decaying small intestine? and only a 28 resting heart rate. I wouldn't be surprised if that hole was present. The point of all this? I definitely made the right decision. There was no way that fluids overnight, or even surgery, would have fixed this.

As a side note, I asked about the fat on her body. I struggled to put weight on this horse every single day of her life. Dr. R*said she was probably a ~3.5 when she died. Which means she LOST weight instead of gaining it (she was ~4.0-4.5 in January) this entire time. I don't know what was going on. There was definitely something going on. It's very frustrating. She was in light to no work too! Her last endurance ride was June 2008 and I only casually rode her after that. I wished she could have died fat.... She would look fine one week and then skinny the next no matter what I did. I did have a blood panel done on her in November that didn't show anything out of the ordinary. If I'm ever faced with this kind of horse again, I'll definitely get more aggressive with the blood work. I've never known a healthy horse that wouldn't put on weight with beet pulp and oil.


  1. Very interesting. What could more extensive blood work have shown?

  2. I'm not sure. The reason I did blood work in the first place was that she was going through 50 pound salt blocks like they were going out of style. Everything was "OK" except her red blood cell count was a little low. My vet and I talked about redoing the panel in 6 months. Hopefully by then I would have realized my failure to put weight on her and would have asked my vet's opinion. I know you have to be consistant about the extra feed (beet pulp and oil) if you are going to put weight on a horse, so I thought it was because I was a flake that she never could keep weight. But, in the last 3 months I was VERY consistant and should have been able to at least put 1 BC on her (which would have moved her from a 4 to a 5) so I would have started diaglog with the vet to see if there was anything we could have missed.

    It's funny - I don't have a problem shelling out for prevantative stuff and diagnostics, but when it comes to emergency care/surgery, that's when I start stepping back. Not sure what the difference is. I guess in an emergency situation I'm afriad that once I start spending lots of money to try and save an animal, I won't know where to draw the line.

  3. beet pulp and corn oil did the trick for us... and a coupla extra scoops of grain

    best of luck


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