(a painting I did of Kruschev last winter)
My amazing Russian Orlov Trotter (half Arabian) (thankyou Lari Shea) big black brave athletic horse was about gone. Losing weight gradually this year, significantly over the past month, and looking near death after I got home from Weiser Fiddle festival a couple days ago. At 28 we figured it was his time. I made arrangements for euthanasia and burial on our ranch, sadly accepted his loss. He was no longer eating, and barely drinking. Merri commented that she didn't think he 'could' eat - couldn't or wouldn't swallow.
So a last ditch trip to the clinic, a sad vet pointed out all of his issues - maybe Cushings disease, equine odontoclastic root resorption (we had to pull several loose molars this spring), but the serious issue was fever and an anaerobic infection at the base of his tongue - causing the tongue to swell, thus the difficulty eating. Probably a foreign body had worked its way into the tongue, and festered there. My option for treatment was a week at the clinic on IV antibiotics, and even then the vet felt the prognosis was poor given his overall health. I decided to just take him home and we'd do a ranch burial.
The vet gave him a good dose of banamine and when I got him home he was able to eat a little bit, probably because the pain was less. He had a pretty good drink too. I gave him another dose of banamine at night, but his mouth was full of chewed-but-not-swallowed grass and clover, so he spat out most of it, I think.
I called our vet, set up a time for euthanasia. Called a neighbor with a backhoe, they'd come dig a hole in the morning.
Well in the morning ol' Krusty decided, not yet! When I gave him another oral dose of banamine, his mouth was full of stinky oozy bacterial goo. The infection had opened up, maybe because the banamine let him eat with less discomfort, working his tongue better, or more probably because he knew what that backhoe was doing...
At any rate, he's eating, drinking, and looking bright. I called the vet, said never mind (for now). The hole is dug, hopefully we won't need it for a while.
Dang, I love that horse - nice to have him for a little bit longer.