Saleem is driving me insane again. In the past, we have had problems with him not eating right. I am guessing I should start at the beginning here. Mostly to sum it all up, for my own sake. Here goes.
Saleem got kicked in the face when he was 2 years old, and broke his jaw. A lot of complications later, we got it under control and it did not bother him again, until two years ago, when he suddenly broke a molar.
The vets came by, of course, because he wasn’t eating as he should. He does have a tendency to get sharp edges on his teeth, which is why we have his teeth looked over by the vets twice a year. If I don’t, or if I’m a little late, he actually cuts holes in his cheeks, and I can usually smell the blood on his breath before he shows visible symptoms. Now, this sounds bad, and it has been a learning process for me, but we manage. When the molar broke, I knew instantly that he was in trouble and the vet was there with bells on.
As it is, if the root of it should be removed, we would have to take him to a hospital, break his jaw again, and pull it out through the mandible. I really, really don’t want to do that, mostly because that is a lot of pain to subject him to, but also, because Saleem tends to respond badly to being sedated. (Like, he went into shock from it, twice.) I am honestly terrified of losing him on the operation table.
So, we decided to fight it with loads of teeth check ups, keeping the surrounding teeth from becoming a problem. My vets are guessing that the tooth broke because it had been fractured when the jaw was kicked. At least, that is the only reason we could come up with.
Anyway, after we got the broken molar under control, things eased up. For about 6 months, Saleem was eating normally again.
But, then he started chewing his food, and spitting it out instead of swallowing it. I called the vets, but they had no answers. As far as they could tell, it was not a tooth issue.
It went away.
And it came back. The vets came back. No answers. And it went away.
For about a year, on and off. I even got a drench gun and a mouth thingy from my vets, so I could clean his mouth out myself. Not that it ever had any effect, when he wasn’t eating as he should be.
This summer has been good though. I honestly can’t remember the last time he has had problems. And then, this weekend, bam!
Not eating. And when he tries, he doesn’t want to swallow. He leaves trails of chewed hay everywhere, and he is sad.
Now, Saleem is a gentle horse, that never complains about anything. He is a trooper. When he is sad, it is breaking my heart. Trust me, there is nothing more sad in my life, than Saleem, when he is feeling miserable.
So, I tried feeding him treats, which he does eat. But when he eats them, he turns his head sideways, and is clearly frustrated and uncomfortable.
The weird thing is, when he has been eating a handful of treats, he usually picks up the hay afterwards, which has me thinking.
Maybe it is not the teeth at all. Maybe I let myself, and my vets, be sidetracked by his history.
I mean, if I have a tooth ache, it doesn’t get better, once I get over the first mouth fulls of food. But… When I have a sore throat, once I get over the pain of eating the first few bites, it gets better for a while.
Could he be fighting a viral infection, with NO other symptoms? He has no fever, no snot, no coughing. Nothing. He even came and joined Apocalipse and me yesterday, when we were playing. He galloped around like nothing was wrong. Until yesterday evening, when he wouldn’t eat again.
So, yes, I am staring myself blind on this horse, standing on my head, jumping through hoops, (any cliche, really,) trying to figure him out. I can’t wait to call my vets in the morning and ask them what they think of my new theory.
Any of you ever heard of a horse with a sore throat, and NO fever and no cough? Because I sure haven’t. But they do say there is a first for everything….