Several hours later, Susan and I were riding along and Sadie just all of a sudden lay down! She had been acting a little sluggish but drinking well on the ride, but now I realized she might be colicing from this morning’s hay swallowing! We got her back to the trailer, untacked her, and let her roll in some sand. She rolled a little but then lay there like she was in some pain. Oh, boy, I thought, here we go!
It is very rare for a mule to colic, so sometimes when they do it can be bad!
I gave her 10 cc of Banimine and sponged her down. Once she seemed to be doing a little better, I loaded her on the trailer and headed for home. I called my vet Dr. Kate Lombardi to let her know what was going on. She said she would be there if I needed her. I wondered if I should just stop by the Vet School on my way home or just take her home and hope for the best!
We got home at 4:30 p.m., and Sadie got off the trailer and seemed to be doing well. She ate some grass and was acting normal. But later in the evening, my mom, who was in town from Virginia, noticed she was lying down in the pasture. When it was time to come up for dinner, she was not doing well at all. She wanted to roll, was in obvious pain, and would lie sprawled out on the ground. Very scary! Dr. Kate came around 7 p.m. and gave her some mineral oil and another shot for pain. She stayed about another half hour and Sadie seemed to improve, but as soon as Dr. Kate left, Sadie got bad again. I called Dr. Kate, and she recommended that Sadie go to the Vet School for treatment. I agreed.
I always keep my truck and trailer hooked up so all we had to do was put Sadie on the trailer and go!
When we drove up, about five people where outside to greet Sadie as I unloaded her. Of course from the trailer ride and being in a new place she was acting a little more bright-eyed and seemed to be in less pain that at home. They took her in and the Emergency Vet and Resident, with the help of some of the Vet Techs, went to work checking her out. They could not really find a whole lot wrong with her, but they could tell she was uncomfortable. After she was settled in a stall, my mom and I left for the night with promises that Dr. Hale would give me a call if anything changed.
At 4:30 a.m., Dr. Hale called me with a report. She said that at about 2 a.m. Sadie started having major pain and was being very dramatic and throwing herself on the ground. She had hit her nose tube and was sneezing blood all over the walls of the stall. Apparently, Sadie gave the technicians quite a scare! Dr. Hale said they had been working on her for two hours and had gotten her stable. They figured out that Sadie had a blockage in her small intestine, and from what they could tell with the ultrasound, it was blowing up with gas, getting very painful and then dissipating. They had her on double fluids and pain medicine and all they could do then was wait and hope that she would soon pass the blockage (aka: globs of the hay she had swallowed). Needless to say, I did not get any more sleep that night.
The next morning, I was very upset and crying. I really thought I was going to lose Sadie. I had a doctor’s appointment at 10 a.m., so my mom and I headed into Raleigh for that and then planned to go see Sadie. On the way, I got a phone call from Dr. Timo Prange, a Belgian Veterinarian who works at the Vet School as head of Emergency Medicine. He said that it appeared that Sadie had passed the blockage and she was doing much better.
I was so relieved, but I knew we still had to wait a few days to see if any damage had been done to Sadie’s intestines where the blockage was. That kind of damage can be worse than the blockage itself.
Went I arrived at the Vet School my friend Susan was there in the parking lot. She had gotten my email about Sadie and jumped in her car to come and see her! That was so thoughtful! She said that she got quite a scare because she found the stall with Sadie’s name on it but no Sadie in it, and she thought the worst had happened! But one of the students had only taken her out for a walk.
When I came down the aisle, I gave my little whistle I do to call my mules, and Sadie let out a huge bray! She was very excited to see me and seemed to say, get me out of here, Mom! We got an update from Dr. Hale and Dr. Kruger, and Dr. Kruger was already calling her Princess! The plan was to keep her until at least Friday morning if she continued to improve and start feeding her small amounts of food and taking her out to graze on the green grass! Thankfully, she continued to improve and was released to go home Friday morning. I called in and asked if Dr. Gerard would have time to take a look at her teeth before she left. Dr. Mat Gerard is the tooth guru!
He teaches classes to other veterinarians about dentistry. My thoughts were that if Sadie had a sore or bad tooth and that was why she did not chew her hay, well then this would just happen again. All went well, though, and Sadie got her teeth done with no problems. Some of the students and residents got to use the electric file on her, too!
So it turns out that she was just being greedy, and that is what started this whole thing!
Later I bought some special hay nets with small holes on them, and she doesn’t get any hay in the trailer except for through some small holes now!
I worried of course for a long time when she came home and watched her like a hawk! I am so thankful to have gotten so lucky and have her back in one piece! She would have been sorely missed by many!