Here we go again. Sunday evening Apocalipse was a bit off, ate slowly, and slept a little too much. Naturally, I checked his temperature, which is a thing I have learned to always do after 13 years with Apollon. If anything is a miss, check the temperature, then you will know whether to panic of not.
Sure enough, Apocalipse had a fever. Not a bad one, but a fever nonetheless. I decided to let him hang in there until Monday morning, because he is young and sometimes the temperature goes a bit up and down on a youngster. If I was real lucky, it would go away over night.
Monday morning he still had a fever and he had stopped eating. So I called my vet. First thing they said was, “we haven’t heard from you in a while.” No, it’s been almost two months. Really, it was long overdue that something would go wrong. They didn’t sound too alarmed by his temperature though, thinking like I had first done that it can vary a bit in a young horse. I insisted that they came.
So I spent the day in the blistering cold, watching my little baby grow worse while waiting for my vets to fit him in. It’s always a problem on Monday, because all those who do not call the vet in the weekend because the prize is double then, they call in Monday morning… just like I did. So of course they have to see them according to who is dying and who is not, and when I called in Monday morning, Apocalipse were not dying. When the vet showed up in the afternoon, his fever had grown real bad, his circuit was shutting down and he had not eaten all day.
That’s how fast it can go, in a matter of hours, he went from a mild fever to a really, really sick little horse.
The vet examined him while I was hoping, praying and getting ready to bargain with any god that might listen, that he had pneumonia, or something treatable with antibiotics.
No such luck. A virus infection. My all time favorite diagnoses. It rings so horribly in my ears. It brings back so many memories of Apollon, of sitting in his stall night after night, watching him hyperventilate and in the end, after 13 years, of on- off having made him live, having to come up short against a viral infection that ruptured the small arteries in his body. You will excuse me if I did not jump for joy.
I don’t get it. My horses live completely isolated. Why on earth would they keep getting viral infections? I mean, yes, there is a good chance that Apocalipse has what Apollon had, just not responding as badly to it- he better not- but still, I can’t phantom when and where they might have picked up something like that. Maybe I isolate them too much… I must be doing something wrong…
I must admit, it was a terrifying experience for me, watching the vet inject Apocalipse with painkillers. Drawing blood, just like they did with Apollon. Injecting it into his bloodstream, just like we did with Apollon. I nearly told her to stop a hundred times in those five seconds it took her. What if he swelled up like Apollon had done? What if he never recovered?
I am so damaged. And I didn’t tell her to stop. Apocalipse needed something to help him fight the fever, and to make him feel better, so he would hopefully eat something and avoid getting a stomach ache as well. So I kept quiet and tried to overwrite my panic.
The vet then instructed me in how to treat him for the next few days and left. Apocalipse ate a little hay and I almost jumped for joy, because he seemed to be better. Then, about half an hour after the vet had left, he started hyperventilating.
I have seen that before too…
I told myself that it was the fever, the body cooling down. Apollon always did that when he had a virus and we started treating him. But then again, by now I don’t trust anything I thought I knew about Apollon and about what is normal and what is not. So I texted my vet, asking if it was a normal reaction.
She called me up and said that as long as the fever was going down- it was- it was okay. He should not be doing it if the fever was climbing. That snapped something in my head. That was exactly what Apollon always did. Hyperventilate when the fever rose.
Horses hyperventilate to cool down. Apocalipse was doing it, and it was working, along with the painkillers. His temperature was going down. Apollon always started hyperventilating when his fever went up, desperately trying to cool down a body that was burning up, to no avail.
So, there is a difference. I know that with my head. I know Apollon was sick, and the viral infection just pushed him off a cliff. Apocalispe is not sick generally. This is just a “childhood- illness,” he will get better soon.
So, Monday night he stopped hyperventilating and ate a little hay. I went home after having spent 10 hours in the blistering cold, watching him. Tuesday morning he was breathing normally, but not eating. I checked his temperature and it wasn’t all that high, and I medicated him and sat down to wait and see what happened.
He didn’t start eating again. To my great surprise, my vet called me up, just to ask how he was doing. I am so grateful that she bothered to ask, that she cares this much for my little star. We agreed on me, treating him like we had decided yesterday and, if he didn’t start eating again tomorrow, they would have to come by again.
By midday he had perhaps eaten about half a kilo hay. That’s not much, but I guess it’s something. He then laid down and fell asleep, looking more tired than actually sick. The temperature wasn’t going up or down.
I went home. I am now sitting at home, trying to pass time, before I can go out there again tonight and feed him more painkillers, trying not to worry too much. Fingers crossed that when I do go tonight, he will be eating, just a little bit.
Believe it or not, he has lost about 15 kg overnight. All his ribs are showing, his hips are displayed violently and he looks… well… I know I am a bit fussy, but no horse of mine is supposed to look that thin. He sure is Amalia’s son. I don’t get how they are able to just drop in weight like that overnight, but she could do it to. And it would take me months to make her gain it again. But no, not the issue here. I’ll feed him anything he likes, for the next ten years if that is what it takes, and I’ll call the vet any hour of any day, as long as he recovers. But a virus…
All you can do is wait for the horses own immune system to beat it, and try and treat the symptoms. I absolutely hate that, especially so soon after having just lost one horse whose immune system failed and didn’t beat the virus.
So… I really, really hope that he is eating when I go back tonight. I am so far beyond my breaking point I don’t even know how to feel anymore. I just keep repeating to myself, “he will recover, he will recover, he will recover…”
Of course he will. He is only 2 and a half years old. Not even Apollon died that young. He will be better tonight. He will.