Photo by Margaret Chant and edited by Jessica Metropulos

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Knightly News Update--El Finale

I've finally found the heart to post this on my blog. Our dear little Knight had to be euthanized on the evening of the 29th. It's a long story to explain, but the ultimate cause of death was colic, we think.

We had noticed him getting a little thin on the 26th, but thought little of it. It had been pretty chilly those past few days, and so we weren't alarmed at his dropping a few pounds. The next day (27th) he looked a bit more gaunt, and I noticed kind of a foul smell coming from his nose. I de-wormed him on a hunch that day, and on the 28th, I noticed some little red worms in his stool. Also on the 28th, we noticed he had kind of isolated himself, and didn't really perk up when we brought feed out. I knew he couldn't be feeling well, and I also knew that the vet was coming on the 29th to do a pre-travel exam on Prin.

The 29th came, and Prin passed her exam with flying colors. I pointed Knight out to the vet, who said "Oh my...go catch him and we'll have a look." (Keep in mind that Knight by this time looked downright gaunt) I brought Knight over to the vet, and he went to take a look inside his mouth. Knight tried to struggle, and much to our horror, was so weak that he fell over! The vet gave us a rundown of what was going on. He said that it looked like he might be feeling the symptoms of a tick-borne disease called Ehrlichiosis. It's similar to Lymes in symptoms, but caused by a different organism. Knight was running a 104 temperature, and based on the fact that he had blood worms, all the elements had combined to create a really sick horse. We were told that we needed to get him indoors, warm, pump all the feed we could into him, get him drinking warm water, de-worm him heavily using SafeGuard, and overall keep a really close eye on him. The vet drew some blood to do some tests, and gave Knight a massive dose of Tetracycline to reduce his fever.

Fast forward to about 9:00 that evening. Knight was in a stall, warm with all the hay and grain he could possibly want. He ate a bit unenthusiastically, and drank a couple of small buckets of molasses water. I had mixed up an electrolyte and pro-bio paste (applesauce, blackstrap molasses, and Fast-Track powder)and wanted to give him some. Knight, however, was standing with his head in a dark corner, and I couldn't see what I was doing. I asked him to turn around really slowly, and he obliged. I gave him the paste, and he went to follow me to the gate for some more, but he was so weak that his knees buckled, and he fell. What happened next will haunt me for a LONG time. Not only did Knight fall, but he fell HARD. Then, he started to thrash and kick at his stomach like I have NEVER seen before. It didnt' take long for that to wear him out, and he just lay on his side panting, looking helpless.

Micky and I were TERRIFIED, so we called the vet, and told him the update. The vet told us that we should administer a large injection of Banamine into Knight's HQ, and wait to see how he did. If his gut sounds and appetite returned, and he could stand up, he might be fine. If not, we'd have to make another call. The banamine seemed to do the trick, and when the Probiotics got there, he seemed to pretty much recover. He ate a bit of grain and hay again, drank half a bucket of water, and seemed to perk up considerably. He tried to stand up, and we all backed away and let him try. But he simply did not have the strength. He fell again, thrashing around like had had the first time, and by then, we knew what we had to do.

The vet came, took one look at him, and went "The only way this horse will survive is if you get him to the U of M. And I highly doubt he'd survive the trailer ride. I think your best bet is the option you obviously are not going to want to take."

But we took it. We HATED to see him like that.

The evening afterward was REALLY hard. Knight was a favorite to all who met him. A horse with that much heart, and SO CUTE. He had a special gift with children, and he seemed to melt when he saw them. To see that little horse go was the most painful thing I've ever been through. We'll miss him SO MUCH.

This concludes your Knightly News Update. Dear god, I'll miss them.


Jeanne said...

Fran, I'm so sorry about Knight. It's a difficult thing to lose a beloved horse. My sympathies to you and all who loved him. {{{hugs}}}


coc_parelli said...

I'm SO sorry, Fran. He was definitely a very strong, sweet, little horse with a big heart! I'll never forget playing with the little cutie. So sorry. Little Knightley is in a better place and you and Mickey did everything you could.


wildmagic said...

How awful! Im so sorry for your loss!


Renee said...

I'm so sorry Fran. At least he died loved and surrounded by people he knew. That much you can take comfort in.


Virginia said...

My favorite memory of night is when we did the spanish walk together, he was such a tolerant pony for that!