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Monday, September 29, 2008

Foxsun is ill.

I pretty sure our 22 year old Morgan, the magnificent Apple Pi Foxsun Bay, has got the dreaded lurgy, Pigeon Fever. He has lost a lot of weight lately and looks awful. At first I thought it was maybe his teeth, but he seems to be eating OK. Brad thought is was poor quality pasture, which puzzled me because his old cow wife is very fat. Anyway I got him in to fatten him up with extra feed. I started giving him the John Lyons's Senior Horse feed, that I normally only give him in the colder months.

I gave him a nice 'all over' massage because he looked like he needed one. I was rubbing his chest, where his itchy spot is, and I felt a sore and some swelling about 3 inches wide and about 5 inches long. I just thought the flies were really bothering it, so I put fly spray on it.

The next day I noticed he was walking a little stiff in the front, not too bad, but it got my attention. When he turned I saw the swelling on his chest was much bigger and I thought 'Pigeon Fever'!


I decided the first thing I should do was to get him away from the Mustangs. I grabbed Echo's old halter and asked Brad to walk him to the horse barn. I rode my bike over there to try sort thing's out before they got there. Foxsun hasn't used the area for ages and it's become run down. I plan to fixed it up for the Mustangs because it's a great place for horses. There's a nice old horse house and trees. Here's Foxsun tied up for the first time in years. You can see he's very thin.



You can see the swelling behind his elbow (girth area) in the bottom picture. It's not so bad on the other side.

He didn't want to be left over there and stuck to me like glue. He called for his old cow wife and got a far off reply from Wildairo in the cattle corrals. (Little Echo has a very deep voice). Poor Foxsun. I left him with some good grub.

I went home to read up on Pigeon fever.

Today the swelling looks about the same. There doesn't seem much I can do except wait for the abscess to get big enough to drain and flush out. Horses do recover once the abscess's are drained. But if there's an internal abscess it's harder to treat and there's about a 40% chance the horse will die. The flies spread it. I'm not sure if isolating Foxsun will help much. I dread to think how I could treat those naughty Mustangs if they got it. We'd have to run them in the cattle chute. Wildairo has been mad at me for days just for spraying him with fly spray.

Foxsun is as gentle as a kitten and trust us as much as we trust him. I hope one day the mustangs will be like that.

Here are some pictures of poor old Foxsun today alone in the horse house and corrals.




He's getting good hay, senior horse feed, carrots, apples and a lot of love. Tomorrow I shall try to talk to people who have had horses with this ailment and our vet.

On a good note; Echo is not freaking out so much anymore when I touch him with the bamboo pole. I rubbed his hocks and he only lifted his hoof a couple of times at first. I found a itchy spot on his shoulder and he enjoyed me touching him there with the pole. I haven't ventured under his barrel because he was really bothered before when I did. I'll get him more relaxed with the pole before I try there again.


I'm so glad I have the Mustangs to distract me from worrying so much about Foxsun. Fox has been with us so long now he's part of our family and I dread loosing him.


Cheryl Ann said...

Oh, I'm so sorry to hear that your horse is sick!

Andrea -Mustang Saga said...

That sounds a lot like when our horse had Pigeon Fever. First signs were lethargy and no appetite, which for her was very strange because she's a big pig.

We separated her and it was an oddly late case, no flies to carry it to the other horses. I took her to the vet and they sedated her and lanced the abscess. A surprisingly huge amount of pus and blood and gunk came out. Sometimes even though the abscess looks big, it's more capsule than contents. Not so in our case.

She felt better pretty much immediately after having it drained, but it was probably 2-3 weeks before she was able to go back with the other horses. I don't remember it all too clearly now since my daughter was in the hospital for 3 weeks fighting for her life at the same time. (She had a severe case of appendix rupture.) I always thought that was odd, that they both had internal abscessing at the same time (this is my daughter's horse).

I hope Foxsun's recover is as easy for you as Soxy's was. If they lance it you should try putting Catron spray on it so the flies won't spread it. I guess you can't do that with all the drips though... Another thing to remember is that it stays live in the soil for a long time. If other horses eat off that ground they could get infected.

arlene said...

How long did you wait to have the abscess drained? I read that you should wait till this really full and then drain it because they recover quicker than if you drain it too soon.
How many other horses did you have at the time? I'm concerned about the mustangs getting it. Echo has been convinced all along I was going to stab him in the belly! lol.

Linda said...

OMG--I've never heard of it before. Now I have another thing to worry about!! Andrea sounds like an expert. I hope I never have to deal with it. I'll be putting a super dose of fly spray on all the horses tomorrow. Good luck and keep us informed. I want to study up on it.

Lea and her Mustangs said...

Oh Arlene, how awful. Have a friend whose horse had it. Missed the first half of the horseshow season. He did recover. Have you talked to the vet. Oh my goodness.

Andrea -Mustang Saga said...

I don't remember how long I waited, actually... I think I took her in as soon as I could after I found the abscess. But she was so fuzzy for winter and I was barely taking time to feed them and then head back in to the hospital, so I probably didn't find it as soon as I could have. The skin was looking like it was getting ready to burst anyway, kinda scaly. They cut a wide hole (big enough to poke your finger in) to make sure that it stayed open and draining for a long time. Your vet could probably tell you if it's ready yet.

I had 4 other horses at the time. None of them got sick, but then there were no flies to carry it.

Soxy is an older horse too, and she healed up fine. I hope it goes the same with your boy.

Andrea -Mustang Saga said...

Oh, and I should add that my neighbor's horse had a huge pussy blow-out in her chest at the same time Soxy had it. He didn't separate his other 3 horses, and I never saw any of the others with an infection. Doesn't mean there wasn't one, but I think I would have noticed. So there is hope that your mustang boys will be fine.