If you follow me on instagram you know that Henry was diagnosed with pneumonia just over a week ago.
He had a bit of a cough from the smoke about two and half weeks ago and it was improving daily.
Then on Tuesday (August 8th) he took a downward turn. A girl at my barn texted me that he had a runny nose and seemed a bit lethargic. I checked him after my shift at around 11pm. His temperature was normal but he way snotty and it was greenish. The barn owners had just thrown in hay (the horses have been on straight grass for a while), I thought maybe it was a little dusty and inhaling it had caused some runny nose/greenish snot. He had no temperature and seemed his normal self (although maybe a little more sedate than usual).
On Wednesday (August 9th) he was similar but the snot was yellow… I made a vet appointment for Thursday (August 10th).
I honestly felt super ridiculous about calling the vet, as he didn’t have a temperature. But he just wasn’t right. Turns out it was a good call - poor guy had pneumonia. And he actually did have a slight temperature when the vets came out. The vet thought we were catching it quite early, which is a good thing. I was given banamine for if his fever rose again and some "liquid gold" antibiotics to be given IM twice a day (which was super fun for a needle-phobic human like myself).
"Your Horse Has Pneumonia" Starter Kit (3/4 meds were for me)
I had a discussion with the vet on the following Saturday (August 12) with some good news. He hadn't had a fever again since his appointment and seemed to be more lively. I didn’t discuss him going back to work or what his recovery time would be like. Honestly I just wanted him better and then would figure out the rest.
The timing was not great (is it ever though?) as I was going away AGAIN to be a bridesmaid in a different province from August 17-20. The vet and I agreed that if he continued to not have a temperature after his antibiotics were finished (on August 15) and seemed happy/healthy then I would be ok to go away. I continued to take his temperature religiously.
My flight was at 6am on the 17th and I got special permission to come to the barn at like midnight for one final temperature check before I left. One of my barn mates agreed to look after him for me and monitor him closely (I OWE THAT WOMAN SO MUCH WINE).
The vets theory was that the smoke irritated his lungs and that allowed bacteria to get in (also maybe a comprised immune system due to a bug/cold could have contributed). I guess that makes sense. It still seems a little strange to me that a young healthy horse could get pneumonia in summer (I pictured a senior citizen horse getting pneumonia in the -40 winters) … but now I know. Apollo wasn’t affected by the smoke at all (and he has pink skin, is kind of old and is a delicate flower), which makes it even odder.
What was amazing to me is how fast he progressed from having an occasional cough to having legit pneumonia. It was terrifying to me as I know how serious pneumonia is. Hug your horses guys.
Through out the whole treatment process (read: amateur IM stabbing) he always whinnied at me and walked over. Even on my last quick visit when all the horses ran away (even Apollo - traitor!) because of *stranger danger* in their pasture at midnight he came bounding over to me.
I hope to talk to the vet again this week to get "back to work" instructions for him. I found out he destroyed the seat of the toro yesterday when it was parked in the pasture for 5 minutes (which is very Henry-like) so I think he's ready to do something again.
WTF YOU MONSTER
I'm still working on some updates and plans for Henry and his herd mates to share :) Coming shortly!