Today was the kind of day that just makes one despair. What started out as a regularly scheduled Vet Day at the rescue, turned into a heartbreaking day.
Unbelievably, both Sweeny Todd and Pongo had to be euthanised this morning. Those of you who knew these two special horses will know how hard it is for me to even write that sentence.
Sweeny Todd, our stallion, was scheduled to be gelded today and all started off normally. We took him out of his stall, where he had been eating his breakfast and lead him into the Cherry Pie area where he could be laid out on the grass. As Dr. Little began to do his initial exam, ST began to shows sudden signs of a bad colic. As he continued to exam him, he got worse very fast, so he was sedated and given Banamine. By the time Dr. Little got his kit together to do a rectal exam (about 5 minutes), ST stopped responding to the meds and was trying to go down. More sedation and we got him back into his stall to do the exam, where it looked like he was responding a bit. So we decided to give him a few minutes to let all the meds work.
At this time, Dr. Little stepped across the barn aisle to Pongo's stall. By this morning, all four of Pongo's legs had swelled up and he just did not want to move at all. He had stopped eating his Equine Senior two days ago, and since then has just started to go downhill quickly. Dr. Little did a thorough exam and let us know that his body was just shutting down, his heart had a very big murmur, his fluids were not filtering properly, and his old Laminitis was becoming extremely painful for him. We decided that it was best to let him go and let his pain end.
While we were discussing this ST began to thrash in his stall. So we had to decide that ST needed to IMMEDIATELY be out in the trailer and driven to the clinic, an 1 1/2 hour drive. By the time we got him into Shiloh's big trailer, he went down again inside the trailer. Dr. Little sedated him again and after examining him, it was obvious that his only chance was to go into emergency surgery. But he was so shocky and painful at this time, that we all knew he just would not make it for the long drive. We all decided that the right thing for Sweeney Todd was to peacefully euthanise him and ease his horrible pain. Sadly, he was put to sleep, still in the trailer because he just could not get up. He passed with all of us letting him know that we loved him as we all cried. Dr. Little though it might be possible that ST had a defect or lesion in his colon that caused it to be displaced- this was the third time that he had coliced since his arrival. The same sudden pain, but he always responded to the initial medication in the past.
Then, it was back to Pongo's stall. We all gathered around him and told him that he was very loved and that we were all so happy that he had come to Shiloh. He was quietly euthanised, he went very quickly. He was ready.
This all happened in about 20 minutes.
I will post more about the vet day- every other thing was routine. I am just too emotionally drained to do it tonight.
I do want to say this, Sally and I want to thank you Sharil, Robin, Daria, and Elisa, (and all of our other volunteers and visitors) who were there, and are always there, to help us help horses in their time of the most need. It is not easy to see an animal pass, but our volunteers stay strong and pitch in, helping the Shiloh horses pass with dignity, peace, and compassion in the midst of a whirlwind of activity and emotion. The caring today made a difference to Pongo and Sweeney Todd and we can't thank you all enough for being there with us. Thank you also to Dr. Little from Desert Pines and his tech, Tracy. They helped us make these difficult decisions and allowed us to say our good byes to our Shiloh friends.
We will be saving two special need horses at the Fallon auction in Sweeney Todd and Pongo's memories.