Last evening I fed the ponies about 7:30 p.m. and then went out to do some work in the garden next to the barnyard since there was still some daylight and it was a mild, balmy day. But after a few minutes, Missy, my 31 year old, came out of the barn and was making some odd, squeaking and coughing noises. I went over to examine her and saw mucus and saliva coming out of her mouth and nose. She sat down. Stood up. She was clearly uncomfortable. I checked her feed bucket in the barn and saw she had not finished her dinner. So I immediately went into the house and called the vet. I was told that she had "choked" as older horses sometimes do, with their food getting stuck in the esophagus. I have been feeding her Senior Equine and will need to soak it in water from now on.
The vet said he would come right away but it would still take an hour before he arrived. In the meantime, I ran an electric line down to the barn and set up a bank of lights so he could see to work on her. The barn is a good 600 feet back and it took three extension cords. I used the lights I use in my booth at shows so the barnyard was lit up bright.
The vet gave her a shot of banamine and then a tranquilizer. He rammed a long plastic tube down her nose and pumped a gallon of water through her. The clump choking her was dislodged. Blood dripped from her nose after he pulled out the tube. My poor baby! Her head drooped and her eyes were closed. But at least she was doing much better.
I stayed back at the barnyard for another hour putting away the lights and cords and keeping an eye on her. I didn't get back inside until 11 p.m. when I finally was able to sit down and eat my own dinner. This morning, Missy was off her feed a bit. She didn't clean her bowl but I noticed in the past, when having their teeth floated and being tranq'ed, the ponies didn't eat too good for a day or so.
The hardest part about having animals is when they get old and start declining. So hard to see a beloved animal start to fail. Same for people.
Here is a picture of Missy with her winter coat. I brushed her out yesterday morning and the fur came off in handfuls. And she is still shedding! Her eyes have shrunken because she is now blind and they have atrophied. Luckily, she has her son to help lead her in the field and she has lived here since 1996 (18 years!) so she knows her way around pretty well. Still....she bumps into stuff.