PSA: Doxycycline can literally kill your horse.
Thanks to the wonderful, amazing, god-like vets I've been working with the past three days, this is not the case with Red. We may be signing the paycheck directly over to the vet's office next week, but Bloom Vet has been at Red's beck and call 24/7. If I haven't called them, they've called me to check on him. What an awesome change from our previous vet, who may well have caused this whole mess.
Red, of course, was fine when we went to see him yesterday morning. We went back out in the afternoon to get a christmas tree, but no one was around. We decided to run up and see him again to waste a little time then come back and hopefully get our tree and finally begin hardcore christmas decorating. It was not to be.
He was standing in the back of his stall when we got there, but he came over to us when we went in. Stacey said he had eaten his dinner without any problems and had eaten some of his hay. We bothered him for about fifteen minutes, then just as we were getting ready to leave, he started biting his sides again and laid down. I gave him Banamine then took him to the indoor to start walking. Stacey put in a call to the vet for me because yesterday's vet told me that each time he colics again, it's going to keep getting worse and don't wait to call.
After half an hour, the Banamine seemed to kick in and Red seemed over it. Hoping it was just a minor stomach pain, I brought him back to his stall where he hung out eating cookies. However, not ten minutes later, he was biting, kicking, and circling to go down again. Back to walking we went.
The vet got to the barn soon after and, since he wasn't violently throwing himself down this time, he went back to his stall to get treated. His temp was normal, his gums looked great, he pooped while she was taking his vitals, and his HR was only slightly elevated at 50bpm. His gut sounds seemed normal on the right, but again a little off to the left.
She decided to tube him to rule out a block or twist. After three days, she felt confident that he would have emptied everything out behind even a really high block, but since we didn't have much to go on, it was at least something to cross off. The tubing went well and it was definitely not blocked.
Standing there scratching our heads as Red kept biting and kicking, she asked me again what we'd done for him since all of this started--from the first high temp to when we made that day's call. 10 days doxy for the anaplasmosis. Banamine and sometimes Bute for the preceeding high temps. 10cc Banamine that afternoon, which made him comfortable for half an hour, then worse than before. It was like you could see a little lightbulb go off over her head.
An ulcer would be in the stomach lining, and since the stomach sits more to the left, that would explain the slight abnormality to the left gut sounds. The Banamine and Bute are stomach irritants which would explain why it was actually making it more painful instead of better. Aaand....what would kick this off? Apparently doxy can literally burn a hole in the stomach and esophagus if not given with probiotics and either Ulcer-guard or Gastro-guard. Horses must be on one of these when getting doxy--the vet said she had seen both dogs and horses die from going on 30 days of doxy without at least the probiotics. Red was only on ten days, but that would kick the ulcer off, then the stress of having to deal with continuing high fevers, the banamine and bute on top of it, and then the bad colic was a perfect storm to make this thing really serious and really painful.
He got 3cc of torb last night, then 10cc of Gastri-Soothe which he'll get twice a day until the Gastro-guard gets here.
So the new plan of attack: Torb instead of banamine if he shows any discomfort. Six weeks of Gastro-guard. After the six weeks, 30 days of doxy with Ulcer-guard and pre- and probiotics. A quarter a scoop of grain for a month AM and PM instead of two scoops.
It seems so simple, but I'm so glad there's finally something to go off of and start treating! BO called last night at 9:30 and said, "I debated whether or not to call you, but I thought you might want a good call for once. He's eating his hay and seems bright and alert. There aren't any shavings in his tail or mane like he was laying down." Fingers crossed, this might set us on the right path.