I headed down to the vet clinic to visit Gina and Marrakesh after feeding Candy and Moe this morning. Gina appeared happy to see me (and the big container of cookies I brought). I let myself in her stall where she was watching over her sleeping colt.
I wanted to cry when I saw him lying in a corner of the stall with a bandage around his neck holding an IV catheter in place and a nasogastric tube on his tiny muzzle. Flies swarmed on his face and sheath, and he looked small and thin and helpless. I sat next to him and petted him gently; he woke up briefly, adjusted his position, and went back to sleep.
A few minutes later, the veterinarian treating Marrakesh came by to say hello and give me an update. This vet diagnosed and treated Moe for EPM last fall, and I was glad to see a familiar face. The vet told me that they’d noticed a mild swelling in baby’s sheath and jaw, and that his protein level had dipped a little. They’d administered Lasix, which brought the swelling down, and reduced the amount of fluids he was receiving intravenously. The vet thought the swelling looked significantly reduced; he also thought that Marrakesh didn’t need supplemental fluids any more.
While I was there, the vet and a tech helped Marrakesh get up. He seemed much steadier while standing today, and the vet told me he thought baby’s muscle tone had improved. Marrakesh walked around a bit before heading toward Gina’s flank to nurse. Gina was letting down a lot of milk, and some of it streamed onto baby’s head while he was suckling. He wasn’t a fan and proceeded to spend the next five minutes rubbing his face on his leg and Gina’s leg in an effort to get the wet sensation to stop. He made a few more laps around the stall before lying down in a mostly-coordinated fashion.
The vet advised me that Marrakesh’s prognosis remains good even if he does look terribly puny right now. He told me that he’d been more lively earlier in the morning and had even tried to buck a little. I thought he looked a tiny bit sturdier and more solid. Gina continues to be a total champion. She’s producing plenty of milk and eating and drinking well. She’s also well behaved for the clinic staff who are in and out of her stall and handling her foal frequently.
I’m really glad I live near a clinic with such a good team of vets and techs. I’m grateful for the assistance they’ve given Gina and Marrakesh, and I’m optimistic that they’ll help him overcome his rough start!
I can’t express how grateful I am for the words of encouragement and stories people have shared about foals who have turned out just fine after a rocky beginning. It’s heartening to hear!