Rugby has been quite sick. For weeks. For 3 weeks he had the swelling along his belly and in his sheath and occasionally behind his jowls. Every day it looked different, some days it was so swollen that it was hard for me to keep patient and stay with the conservative approach of my vet. As if that wasn't bad enough, then the nasty diarrhea started (not to get too graphic... aww, hell why not - we're talking lift the tail and spray liquid poo in a 5 foot long stream diarrhea). The bloodwork indicated that whatever it was, was attacking his G.I. system and we had to immediately pull him off everything - bute (which we were phasing out anyway from the whole lameness episode) and his usual feed supplements. Then start him on UlcerGuard to stop the irritation and the diarrhea.
Now that belly and sheath swelling has gone down but he's definitely lost weight and his blood counts are still way off. Whatever hit him, hit him like a ton of bricks. I don't know if it was in reaction to his spring shots, a virus, that he ate something that triggered this reaction or God knows what but my guess is he's a pretty lucky horse to be here now.
I feel it may have been almost a "perfect storm" of events. The bute he was on for almost a month to help the lameness issue. Then he got his spring shots, then the swelling started several days later. I'd think that the bute should have also helped control the swelling but at that point maybe he'd been on it long enough for the added stress on his immune system to cause him the stomach problems - or something else got in the mix like a virus or he ingested something. I'm not a vet, I'm speculating based on what I know and all my years of experiencing the ups and downs of horse care. I'm just hoping he's now on the upside of all this.
As for his unsoundness. Okay, at least that seems to be doing well. He's been sound on the egg bar shoes since he got them 5 weeks ago and completely off bute for almost 2 weeks. I've been mainly lunging for 15-20 minutes at the walk and jog 3-4 times a week with the vet's ok to lightly stimulate his circulation to help with his swelling condition and every time he's been sound. Yay. I feel he can go back to light saddle work (walking and some jogging for no more than 15-20 minutes) but only if he seems up to it.
So, as I close my eyes and accept the vet bills like a firing squad, I'm hopeful this is coming to an end and he gets better. I was so looking forward to spring and nice weather to get his saddle training under way after this long and crappy winter. All I seem to be able to do with this horse is lose time.