HoofStep alerted on gas colic!
One rainy and cold day in January after lunch, I was with the Lusitano stallion at the nearby vet clinic - he has a hoof crack that require special shoeing. While waiting, this alarm came from HoofStep on my mobile:
Panic! Something had happened in the last hour. My thoughts went and I saw in my mind how Æskild had been unusually slow to feed in the morning. However, he did not show any other signs of trouble at that time. As soon as I could, I loaded the horse and went home to see what had happened.
But first, let me introduce Aeskild ...
This is Æskild - a happy, charming and curious celebrity throughout our neighbourhood. In Sweden, it is unusual with donkeys, so we are often named through him - oh yes, you are the ones with the donkey!
Sometimes cars stop and people we don't know ask if something happened to the donkey! That is when he has not been in his usual pasture but in the stable or in a nursing paddock, usually because of the hooves or laminitis.
Like all donkeys, he has hoofs for a very dry and warm climate, not the wet muddy pastures in Skåne. He should also feed on lean grazing or hay but has learned many tricks to maximize his food intake. His weight is a constant challenge!
If it is not carrots from the neighbours, he makes sure to be the first to reach the lunch hay and stuff himself as much as he can before the others arrive. Other tricks are inventive evasions - because he's smart! Once out of the pasture, he quickly runs to the stable and goes through the boxes in search of food. He is also caring for himself and wants it cosy and comfortable. He knows where the best corner in the outdoor stable is and how to cuddle up in a good straw bed.
Æskild is well-liked by all the horses and has his own fast track in the ranking in the herd. He eats out of everyone's pile of food, even the most rabid mare accepts him. He acts play uncle to the foals and likes to wrestle and tussle with the stallion. Socially he slides in on a banana peel.
But Æskild is terrified of the slightest pain!
Æskild is not like other donkeys...
...when he is in pain. Donkeys are usually more like cold blood and Icelandic horses when it comes to pain. Shows no signs and "a stiff upper lip". But Æskild - he's a drama queen. Once, when he got a tiny hoof abscess, he jumped on three legs for several weeks afterwards. This despite the fact that the hoof abscess was already healed long ago. A veterinarian who was about to put him down because of severe laminitis did not believe it was the same donkey who galloped around the pasture just a few days later.
He is special in another way as well. Æskild has long been selected in HoofStep's in-house important testing team for our horse monitoring technology. Since he is a donkey, he is given an important role to show how well the system works for "odd horses".
Back to what had happened ...
Out in the pasture, I was met by a nightmare scene - Æskild lies soaking wet, cold and shaking in the mud and the rain. He had not been able to walk the last 10 meters into the outdoor stable. The gaze speaks its clear language - I do not want to be involved! With a lot of persuasion and effort, I get him on his legs and into the stable. He throws himself down, rolls his eyes, groans and stretches his legs like sticks right into the air. I call the vet!
While waiting for the call to come through, I check mucous membranes, temperature and listen for bowel sounds. He is chilled, his stomach is like a tense balloon and no bowel movements are heard. And he is constantly trying to roll. The veterinarian can arrive in about an hour. On his advice, Æskild is allowed to walk slowly with many breaks, while preventing him from rolling. At 5 o'clock the veterinarian arrives, does a quick check and exclaims:
"This is very serious, the question is if he can make it!".
Treatment is initiated, against cramps and pain, vitamin B and 2 litres of paraffin oil solution. Then our slow walks continue for a further 2 hours until Æskild stops showing signs of wanting to roll. He is now tired and resting standing up. In HoofStep's app, I document that Æskild is ill and that we want to be alerted if there is a roll or attempts to roll.
No alarms came until a warning at 5 am. Then Æskild has rolled once. A check in the box shows that he has pooped and now his eyes are alert and he is hungry!
During the next 24 hours, Æskild will remain in the stall under observation and with activated alarm function. He gradually gets some hay and towards the evening, now a day later, he is hungry. The next morning he “bounces” in the stall and wants out. I mark in the app that he is now healthy and puts him out in the pasture. It's full speed through the stable door out to the morning hay! 6 hours later I get an alert that shows that everything is green! Æskild no longer shows any deviant behaviour.
The day after, the vet calls and gently wonders how things have gone, if we are now in a clinic with Æskild. "No, he is as usual, since yesterday it is full play in the pasture again" the surprised veterinarian gets as a response. Regardless of whether it was the drama queen in Æskild who showed up or not, I am very grateful for the quick alarm! No horse - or donkey - should hurt a second unnecessarily and the sooner we can act the better. In Æskild's case, the most likely cause was bad fermentation from eating something inappropriate. It could have ended badly.