Mr Pie’s pony pedicure (and poo problem!)

Einar had his regular visit from his barefoot trimmer Jane Cumberlidge from Barefootworks on Thursday.

In keeping with the rest of him, his feet aren’t at their best currently, which is a frustration, considering the mighty rock crunchers he used to have. His previous history of laminitis means he needs very restricted grazing and since he is currently unable to be ridden or exercised to any great degree, he’s not moving around anywhere near enough to stimulate strong and healthy hoof growth.

Jane (we like to call her The Hoofsayer™) has been working to keep his feet in top condition for the last 4 (and a bit) years, and I think she’d agree that it’s not been the easiest of tasks. Just recently he’s had a lot of flaking and chipping, and we’ve had to resort to turning him out in his Cavallo Simple boots each day to avoid this happening. Coupled with his ongoing propensity to produce sloppy cow-pat poos (and his mystery colic/virus episode earlier this week) we’re convinced that something is askew somewhere in his digestive tract. We were chatting this over with Jane when she mentioned an article she’d read earlier that day by Dr Carol Hughes from Phytorigins about her newly released Equibiome faecal test for horses. This analyses the gut biome and identifies any issues or problems. At £150 a pop it isn’t cheap (it’s horse related; of course it isn’t cheap), but if it gives us some insight into what the hell is going on in Einar’s gut (and more importantly, how we address it) then it will have been money well spent. Order duly placed, and the testing kit arrived first thing next day (speedy!). I’m both excited and apprehensive about what the test might reveal…I will report back in due course!

The best laid plans…

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Well, I was intending to kick this thing off with a brief synopsis of the illnesses and injuries Einar has endured since we bought him in August 2013, but a spanner has once again been lobbed into the works.

We arrived at the yard last night to a dull and subdued Pie, and a completely untouched haynet.

Alarm bells clanged.

This boy is normally loudly shouting his empty-haynet woe the second we drive into the yard, so something was clearly wrong. We’ve been through enough colic episodes with him to know his unique and very subtle signs – no thrashing, kicking his belly, or lying down. This stoic wee scone simply retreats into himself and sort of switches off.

Cue yet another call to Forth Valley Vets (aka The-Best-Vets-Ever™) and a swift visit from James. Pain relief and anti-inflammatory duly administered, and fortunately his heart rate was fine and nothing untoward was discovered upon rectal exam. However James was concerned by his high temperature (just shy of 40°C!) and suspected we may be dealing with a virus and infectionnot so good.

To rule out anything sinister, James pulled some bloods and performed a peritoneal tap. Fortunately, the fluid obtained looked relatively normal, and The Boy was considerably perkier by this point. He was left sans hay overnight (and rather vocal on that point), and by this morning was back to his usual bright and cheery self. Breakfast and hay demolished in record time, and temperature down to 37.4°C. James called early doors to check how he was, and to let us know that the bloods and peritoneal fluid were normal – phew!

So, a lot of stress and worry, a sleepless night (for me anyway – nothing much keeps Craig from his slumber), and a hefty vet bill to look forward to (thanks for that Pie!), but our lad is back to his usual, loveable self.

Horses…who’d have ’em?