Here's a pic of Ryon and Black Jack to brighten your day (and this post)
As it is with horse things (or really all life things), everything can change in the blink of an eye.  Thursday night everything was calm and quiet with all the horses snug as a bug in their stalls.  Then, this text message:

“Mae’s colicking. I’ve called the vet.”

On early Friday morning, one of the other trainers found Mae colicking and called my trainer.  They had immediately dosed her with banamine, and by the time the vet made it out to the barn to see her, she had settled down a little.  My trainer blamed the weather change and thought that she had stopped drinking water because it had gotten so cold, so quickly.  My vet found that she had a soft impaction and told us he thought the colic was likely caused by stomach ulcers.  After running a liter of fluid through her, he gave her a more thorough physical and then prescribed an ulcer medication.  Because she is so skinny (which is twice as fat as she was when she got to Texas), he also suspected that she had a bad case of worms.  So even though we had already dewormed her, we’re running her through a five-day dewormer again to get rid of any eggs and larva in her system.  He advised us to put her on grain to get her to a more normal weight level and to order GastroGard for her as well.

On Saturday morning, I got another call that Mae still wasn’t doing well.  We went out to the barn right as she was being sedated.  She was still clearly feeling pain in her stomach and had been rolling on the ground and kicking out with both legs.  We hadn’t really given her any food since the previous day and with her behavior, we were more than convinced that ulcers were the culprit.  When we went back to check on her later that night, she had been drinking water and pooping and seemed tuckered out by the whole affair.  She was laying quietly in her stall and breathing steadily so we left her alone.

Sunday evening she was much better.  She was standing up, alert, bright-eyed, and more than a little interested in food.  We dosed her again with her ulcer medication, which she reluctantly took.  Since then, she’s been laying around in the turnout, sunbathing during the warm winter days we’ve been having lately.  Mae isn’t rolling around anymore or kicking out, but I think the medication is slowly working its way through her system and she is most likely physically exhausted as well.

I’m not surprised that she had ulcers; studies say around 80% of racing thoroughbreds have them when transitioning off the track due to the intense exercise they do while on the track and the large amounts of grain that they eat during training.  I’m optimistic that the ulcer medication will run its course, and she’ll slowly start feeling better.  It’s never pleasant to see an animal in pain and awful to know that there isn’t anything more you can do about it.

I’ll keep you all posted as to her progress - here’s to hoping that this is the only and biggest health concern we run into this year.