UPDATED MARCH 2010 Unfortunately our baby passed away on the 7th of February. We are absolutely devastated. Solly had a small operation 4 days before he died, to remove a small abcess on his face. This was minor surgery. He took too long to come out of anaesthetic, about 1 1/2 hours to wake up, and when he tried to stand, he had bad pins and needles, he couldn't put his feet down properly. Solly kept trying to get up but he kept falling down. Over the next 3 days we sat with him day and night, he ate, drank, weed and pooed like normal. We got a crane in to lift him, but he couldn't get his footing, we got a special harness made and made a special attachment for our tractor so we could lift him every few hours to get him on his feet. We rolled him over every hour or so and supported him with foam to encourage him upright. We administered regular anti inflamatories, antibiotics, fluids and painkillers. He was lively and animated in his face, eyes and in his attempts to get up, he just wouldn't stay up. The vet came every day to check up on him, do any test he thought might be beneficial, and adjust his medication as needed, but it wasn't enough his muscles were wasting, and he was starting to get pressure sores from lying down. We contacted the best equine vets in Australia to try and work out how to make him better, but had to end it for him when it started hurting. We don't know exactly what went wrong with Solly or why, but we do know some things, that we didn't know before, please read the below information and let all your horsey friends know, no one should have to go through this, we were so desperate to fix him, we would have given anything for him to just get up and stand.
1 in 100 horses do not recover properly from anaesthetic
Post Anaesthetic Myopathy is bad pins and needles from lying on one side to long
Horses are not designed to lie down, the blood does not pump through their muscles properly, depriving their precious muscles of oxygen and nutrients, once the blood stops pumping through, the muscles die very quickly, when the muscles start dying, they stop working.
Spinal Melitia occurs more often in Heavy Horses, this is a condition where a blood clot forms on the spine while under anaesthetic, when the horse wakes up he is paralysed and his legs don't work, there is no cure.
Heavy Horses do not appear to need as much anaesthetic as other horses, this may be a metabolism issue
Heavy Horses and their derivatives (quarter horses etc) are prone to a metabolic disorder called EPSM which predisposes them to an inability to metabolise anaesthetics.
Watching our baby not understand why he couldn't get up, and struggling has been the hardest thing we have ever done. Please research the above information thoroughly before you have any horse anaesthetised for any procedure.
INSIST a vet nurse is present as well as the veterinarian operating
INSIST heart rate, respiratory rate & BLOOD PRESSURE is monitored constantly
INSIST your horse is given oxygen throughout the procedure
INSIST that your vet talks to you about the type of anaesthetic to be used, the horses exact weight, and dosage rate
ENSURE the procedure can't be done with a much safer sedative
ENSURE you have a mattress or soft bedding for the horse to lie on while being operated on
Please enjoy the photos of our special little man below, he touched so many people, in his short life. It isn't fair that he was taken from us, it wasn't right that such a beautiful animal with so much potential died from an anaesthetic. Solly had everything, money was no object, if he needed it, he got it, 2 full time 'parents' the best feed, the best education, the best medical treatment, the best lush shady paddocks, he should be at the gate, not buried in the paddock
Thankyou to Paul at Oscarville for giving him the best life any foal could ask for.
Thank you Vicki, for your kindness in training Solly, showing us how not to spoil him, helping understand him as a young stallion, giving him confidence and leadership, understanding him, loving him, laughing with him and enjoying him for everything he was.
Thank you Michael for ensuring he had the healthiest hooves possible and treating him with kindness, patience and understanding even when he was trying it on with you! You were his ultimate playmate.
Thank you to all the people at shows who came up for a pat and a smooch and told him how lovely he was, he lapped it up!