Poor Cash. He’s been with us since June, but we honestly don’t think he wants to be here. We were concerned when he came here on a visit and escaped, but chalked it up to his being in a new place with new horses. Since then, though, he just acts like he’d rather be somewhere else. First of all, he’s broken down the fence more than once; he’s gotten out again (but thankfully didn’t take off that time); he tried to escape between the truck and the barn when we were bringing the chipper/shredder into the pasture; and he is still afraid of the other horses. And if his general unhappiness in the pasture weren’t enough, he is apparently allergic to something out there too.
One day the week before last, Cash had a swollen eye when he came in for his grain. I mean, BIG. (Not the eyeball, but both eyelids.) So we called the vet out, and she stained it to check for scratches. There was a questionable spot, but for the most part it looked OK other than the swelling, so she gave him a couple of eye ointments and some bute. We decided he most likely had gotten some dirt in his eye while he was rolling – his favorite thing in the world. The eye was 100% better by the next day. We continued the eye ointment for a few days and everything was fine.
Then last Wednesday he had two swollen eyes. He looked like a prizefighter who’d gone a few too many rounds. So we called the vet out again (thank goodness I work for the vet!) and she sedated him again, stained both eyes this time, and found no scratches again. His eyes were all goopy too, so she thinks it’s probably an allergy. This time he got more eye ointment and antihistamines. But within an hour after she left, we checked on him to discover that all four legs were swollen from the knees/fetlocks down (or “stocked up,” in horse-speak). She sent another medication home with my friend Shari (who also works at the vet – I was off that day) for the swelling. This time it took a couple of days for the eyes to clear up. The legs went down by the next day.
We’re all pretty sure that the eye symptoms are caused by an allergy, but we’re stumped as to what it could be. The only new thing we’ve introduced recently is bermuda grass hay, but we started feeding it a couple of weeks before his first episode. Also, why was it only one eye the first time? We think it might just be something in bloom out in the pasture, but isolating that would be nearly impossible. We are eventually going to mow down everything out there and plant grass, so hopefully that will take care of it if a pasture allergen is the problem. In the meantime, we just watch his eyes very carefully and keep antihistamines and eye ointment on hand.
The poor guy. If we didn’t like him so darn much, we’d think about finding him a home were he might be happier.