When your horse goes to Rossdales Equine Hospital and you go to A&E in the same week you know it isn't ideal!
Travis has been out of work since June 2021. He hadn't been right for a while, but there was no obvious lameness or clinical signs, only the slight change in behaviour I had noticed. I took the decision to stop riding him as it just didn't feel right carrying on, but I started to feel like I was going mad, with a handful of vet visits and physio visits coming up with nothing. Gradually though Travis started to act completely different, and started to look tucked up, and show classic ulcer symptoms. He was referred to Rossdale's where they scoped and determined he had grade 3/4 ulcers, thankfully just 4 weeks of treatment he scoped all clear, "Great!" was my initial reaction, which quickly diminished when I realised he was no better and no different, but now he was starting to act completely miserable, so back to the drawing board. The vets decided to take some bloodwork and I got a very 'confused' phone call from the vet to say the results were back, and his white blood cells were low and his liver and kidney enzymes were lower than they should be. They had no idea if the cause was infection, inflammation or even tumours! I had a tough and expensive decision to make moving forward and we decided to try a month of antibiotics, steroids and liver boost to see what/if improvement there was. Thankfully, and much to my relief, there was some improvement but still not enough! The only annoyance was we didn't know which of the drugs had helped, so we re-ran the bloodwork which indicated it was inflammation not infection, but this gave us no indication what was causing the inflammation. Travis was no referred to Rossdale's again for a full abdomen scan to find anything out of place. What they did find was several places of inflammation in the large intestines! We were prescribed more steroids and this time a strong hind gut treatment. FINALLY! after 8 months and in less than 2 days of the new drugs I had my old horse back! Anyone that knows Travis will no that Travis isn't normal but at least he is back to being normal for Travis! And now officially diagnosed with Colitis.
I don't know what the future holds, I don't know if he will need to stay on medication and how often he may suffer from flare ups, but I am glad I trusted my gut and pursued all routes, without giving up, and I am just glad I have been able to make him comfortable again. Has and will horse owndership ever be straight forward?
While all of this has been going on, my back decided to go into complete spasm one day and I am awaiting the results of an MRI scan to find out if I have a disc hernia and if it will need surgery. I am still in the saddle, but very much on light duties, and finding basic yard duties like hay nets, heavy wheelbarrows and water buckets far more taxing and difficult. My partner has been amazing at helping me out, so despite the knackered back, I am making the most of what feels like full livery at home! Shhh - don't tell him!
A little picture of the somewhat feral looking Travis, hopefully ready to bounce back into work!