Just the Facts

I need to get this out and it’s easier to do it once here and then never have to say it again than to tell people separately. I owe my mom a telling of it since Coyote was partially hers. I don’t know that I will be reading or answering any comments on this at the moment. Maybe someday. That doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate everyone’s support. Just can’t at the moment.

On Wednesday Morning, Dec. 26th, I went out to give Coyote his Bute. He turned his nose up at the apple with the Bute, then at any apple or treat. Instead he went back and stood in the middle of the corral. Something was definitely wrong.

In between getting the kids breakfast and while my husband finished feeding I watched him. I gave him his dose of Bute the old fashioned way, quickly and without him knowing what was happening. No fuss no muss. I thought it might be the pain from the eye. He was pooping and not kicking at his belly or rolling.

After breakfast I went to look again, thinking he’d be doing better now that the meds had kicked in. He was not.

It was drizzling freezing rain. Even the dirt was coated in ice and slippery to walk on. Getting out with a trailer would not be easy. We check road reports. Some people said roads were awful, others said just wet. My husband left with the kids to take them shopping for their Christmas presents. They could stick to the gravel roads until they were almost to town and take it easy the rest of the way. I had planned to go along too but there was no way I could leave Coyote.

As soon as they left I called the vet. Luckily our usual vet who had worked on Coyotes eye answered. She said usually they would have me bring him in but the roads had been awful over that way. If we had Banamine give it to him. I told her that if we didn’t I would drive over in the pickup on the back roads and pick some up.

I went up and asked my father in law if he had any on hand. He said he had had some and searched for it. The bottle was no longer there. He called a neighbor, they didn’t have any either. I thanked him and said I would just drive over and get a new bottle.

First I check on Coyote again. I had put him and Rusty in the barn so he could be warm and dry instead of standing out in the freezing rain. By now he was showing actual signs of colic. He was rolling violently, pawing, and rubbing his head on everything. He had to get to the vet. If the roads were still covered in ice we would try to make it on the gravel.

By then my husband was well on his was, in the opposite direction, he said the roads had melted and were really just wet. Luckily because the gravel roads were a slippery mess. We slid to a stop at the highway with wheels locked up and gaining speed before we hit pavement and stopped. I went back to check the trailer and make sure everything was in order like I always do before starting out onto the highway. Coyote had not laid down to resume rolling in the trailer like I had left him loose so he would be free to do. Instead he looked alright. I hoped the trailer ride was fixing things like it had a couple of months ago.

The road was just wet with ice off to the sides. We were able to make good time without any trouble. Pulling in at the vet I unloaded him and left Rusty, who came along to keep Coyote company of course! in the trailer to paw and have a fit. We led Coyote into the exam room and into the stocks.

He had his gut sounds thoroughly listened to and pooped again. His gut sounded good. Then she gloved up for a more in depth exam. After a minute she pulled out and went for a second vet. This vet gloved up and reached in. That was when I realized it was not going to be good. She had felt the band to and he flinch terribly when she touched it. He was twisted.

They asked about my budget. I asked for a quote, knowing surgery was out of the question. The quote she gave me assured me of it. Even if I was able to spend that kind of money on him, and the risk of complications was not so high, I would have to be able to haul him, colicing badly, three to four hours, either south into the coming snow storm or north into the hills. Ogallalla, Cheyenne, Rapid City, Denver? There was no way over icy roads with a predicted blizzard coming in. The cars I had met coming in had been covered in snow already.

I didn’t hold up well at that point. I love having female vets. Not only because I just like it better, they don’t get all condescending and know it all like men, but also because it was much easier to sob in front of them.

They said there was one last thing they could try. If they pumped him full of fluids, there was a slim chance it could push through his intestines and straighten things out. I was willing to try anything at that point so they hooked him up to an IV and hit him with the strongest pain killers they could. I brought Rusty in to keep him company.

We stood and waited. I questioned the vet on whether letting him roll could have made things worse? She reassured me, again, it’s something I know but it’s hard not to question at times like this, that rolling doesn’t hurt anything and making horses keep walking while colicing is mostly to give owners something to do. Rusty kept sniffing his nose and roaming the room to check things out. Coyote was mostly out of it from the drugs.

As they wore off he got fidgety and started shaking from the pain. I went for the vet and she gave him more meds. I tied Rusty up to try to paw a hole in the cement after he started giving Coyote little bites. Company is good. Company that keeps bugging you not so much. The vet said we were looking for less pain each time as he the drugs wore off, that would let us know it was working.

In less than an hour the last dose of drugs was already fading. Instead of lasting longer the drugs couldn’t keep the pain at bay. He started shaking and I couldn’t take it any longer. It was time.

I led him out to a patch of grass. The other vet brought Rusty. Coyote nibbled at the grass and then it was done. He already had the IV in his neck and it was a simple job to administer the drugs. He was gone almost immediately.

This was in no way related to the eye surgery. They did a wonderful job at that. As good as they did in helping him at the end. They have a place there in the tree row where they bury horses. It doesn’t matter where his body lies, he is not there.

His time with us was entirely too short. We should have had another ten, if not twenty years with him. Really though, any amount of time would have been too short.

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