Tuesday, June 15, 2010


What a roller coaster we've been on.

When I wrote my last post, I inadvertently jinxed myself and Topaz, thinking we were out of the woods. I was wrong.

I wrote the blog entry on Friday, when I was sure Topaz was getting over her bug, and she ended up going to the other end of the spectrum.

Most people don't realize that despite a horse's size, their stomachs are extremely delicate and smaller than one would imagine. Horses are grazing animals, meaning their bodies are meant to consistently take in small amounts of food - not large quantities in a short period of time. But sometimes, even the most diligent horse owner (moi) can have a fluke illness, bacterial infection, or just darn bad luck when a horse has a stomach issue.

Matt and I were up with Topaz most of Friday night, forcing her to take medication (I ended up wearing more of it) and walking her when she appeared uncomfortable - if a horse goes down to roll from stomach pain, sometimes they can twist an intestine. That's a death sentence, unless you're prepared to spend tens of thousands of dollars on surgery - and that may not even work.

Matt had to head out of town on Saturday, so I was left with Topaz alone. Our vet made an emergency visit to us, and did a thorough exam on Topaz - including tubing her and pushing fluids into her. No conclusion was made as to her ailment. Topaz appeared slightly brighter, but later in the day, went downhill again.

Having a mild meltdown (ok, not so mild), I called my mom, who dropped everything and came over to help me administer more meds to Topaz and to generally calm me down. We had to talk about our options if she didn't improve - an awful subject, but necessary for an animal of their size.

Mom went back home in the middle of a raging thunderstorm, leaving me in the barn with the horses, finishing things up before I ran back to the house to ride out the storm. I just sat down in Topaz's stall and cried - cried for not being able to help her more, crying for the students and visitors that came to love her audacity and the (snarling, kicking, vengeful) charm that only Topaz has, and crying over the unfairness of it all, having just lost my "forever" horse, Midnight, 6 months ago.

I went to bed at about 3 AM, getting about 3 hours of sleep (typical for the past 3 nights) and getting up at 6 AM. I'll be honest, I really questioned whether Topaz would still be with us when I walked out to the barn.

She nickered for her breakfast - the first time since Thursday.

I'm happy to say that today, she's as normal as she's been since before her illness.

Our vet is coming out again tomorrow, to draw more blood (her white blood cell count was extraordinarily low when tested on Saturday) and make sure she is really on the road to recovery.

Whew. I think.

To all who have gotten in touch and offered their support, well wishes and offered to bring us food (since I certainly wasn't cooking!), watch Topaz so I could rest, and just let us know we were in their thoughts - thank you. If Topaz tries to bite you during your next visit, it's just her way of showing gratitude!


JayZ said...

So happy to hear Topaz is doing better. I hope she continues to improve!

KC said...

Janelle, I can't believe you're reading up on blogs already! Give your gorgeous little girl a smooch for me!

Arliss said...

KC, such a terrible few days you've had! We are SOOOOOO glad to hear that she's doing better. How wonderful it must have been to hear her nicker for her breakfast. My heart goes out to you for the terribly sad and upset moments you had before that, alone and crying while sitting in her stall. And during that bad storm. We are continuing to have you and Topaz in our thoughts and prayers for her complete recovery from whatever it was. We want to see that beautiful golden girl her dappled, robust, feisty old self for many years to come! She's such a lovable character -- ears pinned back and all full of herself in her stall, but with a 7-year-old on her back she's an angel on four hooves, just as gentle, wise, and trusting as she could be. Please give her some pats and neck-hugs from Madeleine and me. The two blondes have something special going. Sending her lots of love and good thoughts. :)

lizzieblue said...

My oh my, I can't believe you've had to go through all of this so soon after Midnight's illness! Topaz: Buck-up! I'm glad she's feeling better, and hopefully now you can finally get a little rest!

Catherine said...

I hate picturing you alone in Topaz's stall, crying while it is storming outside. Breaks my heart. I hope things continue to improve. I'm sending you an imaginary casserole with this post. If I lived closer, I'd bring you the real thing!

Sapphire said...

Even thought the tried to nip me when I tried to get close :p give the old girl a hug and stern admonishment to get well for her mommy Kace from Julie, I look forward to the next nip attempt so she better not disappoint :-)