“A very sick foal”

Friday was probably one of the top 5 best days of my life. I spent a good part of the day watching and playing with Presto, and getting to know his personality. He is, without a doubt, the coolest little baby horse I’ve ever been around. He loves people, to the point where he nickers a little greeting and walks away from his mom to come see you. My heart, it melts. I fell completely and madly in love with that little guy in less than 24 hours.

Saturday, by contrast, was one of the top 5 worst days of my life. Nothing seemed unusual at first… Presto was playing and nursing and acting just like any baby horse should. At 4pm he was cantering and bucking, really proud of how he was figuring out his legs. By 7pm he had bloody diarrhea and was very sick. I’ve never seen a horse crash that fast in my entire life.

We got him onto the trailer and into the vet hospital immediately. By the time we got there and they started working on him (IV tube went in, fluid and plasma were given, tests were run) he was not in good shape. He was laying there just trembling head to toe, obviously in a lot of pain. My heart broke for him.

The diagnosis was Chlostridium enterocolitis – basically a bad gut infection from a particularly nasty, fast-moving bacteria that newborns are succeptable to. The prognosis was “poor to guarded”. The first 24 hours would be telling, because foals either start to respond to treatment, or they crash and die within hours. The vets got a ton of antibiotics into him, gave him something for the pain, and by then he started to look a bit better. Still very far from normal, and he was still shooting blood out of his bottom, but no longer trembling at least. His bloodwork was not good – white blood cell count was through the roof. The only encouraging sign was that he didn’t have a fever. The vet made sure to warn us several times that this was a “very sick foal” but they’d do what they could and said he’d give us an update by morning. I walked out of there feeling like my dream come true had turned into my worst nightmare.

We spent some of the drive home talking to Michelle’s other vet, a neonatal specialist, who was away on a family trip at the time. Luckily the vet clinic was able to consult with him and they all worked together on the best plan of action. He said the fact that we caught it immediately was good, because he likely would have been dead by morning. Chlostridium is nasty, nasty stuff.

I did not sleep much on Saturday night, and what sleep I did get was full of bad dreams. I was so terrified that I’d wake up to a phone call saying my baby was gone. It took a little while to get an update in the morning, which I hoped was a good sign, and luckily it was. He was more comfortable, was nursing well, his diarrhea was no longer bloody, and his bloodwork was looking much better. He was very very far from being out of the woods yet – this kind of infection can take a nose dive in an instant – but so far he was responding to treatment. I bawled like a baby. Never been so happy about bloodwork and poop in my entire life.

We went to go see him in the afternoon and despite having a terrible tummy ache and having been poked and prodded endlessly, Presto still gave a teeny nicker and marched right up to us when we opened the stall door. He is still a bit dull and tired though, he basically gets up to nurse and then lays back down to rest. You can tell he doesn’t feel good. He enjoyed his scratches though (so itchy) and it made me happy to see that he was still friendly. A lot of sickly babies really start to dislike people when they’re constantly being stabbed with things and having gross stuff shoved in their mouths. 

The vet said he was a very kind foal, which was just about my emotional undoing in the middle of the clinic. But she was very happy with how he’s responding so far, although it’s still very early on, and she still really wants to see him have solid poop. At this point we’ve gotten the infection under control, but now we need to start undoing some of the damage it’s done. His prognosis now is “cautiously optimistic”. We definitely aren’t out of the woods yet… some solid poop would make us all feel a bit better, and his bloodwork needs to continue to improve.

Many of you have been following along with my updates on Facebook and Instagram, and I really really appreciate your support. All of us do, it means a lot. The number of people sending good thoughts and prayers to this colt are astronomical, and it seems to be working so please keep it up. I really, really, really need him to get better.

57 thoughts on ““A very sick foal”

  1. OMG I was at a hotel on Saturday night and had to get up at 530 to get to the 7 am start of the Half Marathon and the 830 start of the Marathon (Shamrock) to cheer on some of my friends/gym people and I was up texting with Amanda most of the evening and i was bawling like a baby. My husband was like what is WRONG with you and once i told him he shut up and went into the other room. He just knew that i was freaking out and I felt so bad that i couldnt help anyone from 3000 miles away! And my stomach hurt all night thinking about it and tossing and turning and thinking he was SO normal when he was born. And i was determined NOT to text Amanda!! (SO I was very very happy to hear from her yesterday via text that things were better (IE not normal but better). I dont think there is a foal around who has more positive vibes coming from all over the world!! We are all pulling for Presto and I am so glad the vets realize what a special nugget he is as well! I swear I am booking a flight to Austin as soon as i can to meet said little nugget if all goes well!! I feel so emotionally attached to him already and havent even gotten to see that face in person yet!! Kudos to you and Michelle for managing to hold it together (I know you said you are a mess but i also know how strong you are!). I am thinking of you all every minute!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hubby and I follow along on Instagram all weekend! I was terrified to check for an update this morning! Glad the little guy is holding his own 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. So hard for you, I can not even imagine. He is a good, strong guy and he has a good chance. Being strong for him and mamma is the most important. He is a fighter. Continued prayers sent.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My cold little heart broke when I saw your post on Instagram. I’m glad he’s fighting the good fight, and I really hope he’s back home and healthy in no time! Still sending all the positive juju I can to you all!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. i’m so sorry Amanda – what terrible news. sounds like Presto has a top notch team, and you know we’re ALL rooting for this little baby to keep getting better and stronger. you’re in my thoughts!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Keep fighting hard Presto! I have been thinking of him (and you) since you first posted he was sick.
    Sounds like he is in good hands and hopefully he continues to get stronger.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have no idea why but I had a funny feeling the other day when you announced Presto’s birth that “something” was going to happen. I’m praying that the something will be beat and your darling, darling baby is going to be just fine. So far it sounds like the excellent care and love pouring out towards him are working their magic. Get better, Presto!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Been sending tons of good vibes, hugs, thoughts and prayers to both you and him. He is so lucky to have people who are so watchful and taking great care of him. Get better you adorable little foal!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh no… that has to be so terrifying for you and poor little Presto. Sending tons of good vibes and warm wishes he continues to turn around and improve.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Stopped by to see if you had a foal yet. So sorry to read what you’re all going though. Sounds like he couldn’t be in better hands though. Prayers and constant thoughts that he’ll continue to improve!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. First reading he was sick, my heart went out to you. I can’t imagine the Rollercoaster you’ve been through. But yes we are all here for you. Do what you need to do, and ask/tell if and when you need something.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I couldn’t believe how much my heart sank when I saw your first post about him being sick. I don’t know what it is about him that makes him so stinking special already, but he just is. I have been thinking about him and you all throughout the days, knowing that things must be alright when this finishes and you will have your journey with your boy again. That’s the way it has to be, dang it.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. If love and hope from strangers can save your little guy, he is certainly getting all he needs. Here’s hoping he recovers as fast as he got sick- Like Magic.
    Hang in there, and remember to take care of yourself, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. OMG Amanda! I read this with tears in my eyes fearing for the worst. Thank God he’s responding to treatment and his prognosis is getting better. Baby Presto (and you and Momma Sadie) are in my prayers. Give Presto a gentle kiss for me ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’ve been following along on insta and my heart has just been twisting up in knots thinking about you, Presto, and Sadie. I am sending lots of love and happy juju from Colorado. He’s a special little baby horse, and we’re all pulling for him!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Saying lots of prayers and having lots of good thoughts for little Presto. So glad to see he’s perking up. Maybe this is a sign that be should stay with you forever.

    Liked by 1 person

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