Small Emergency, Big Head

I was mowing the lawn this afternoon on the big riding mower. Cruising around in the sun. Looked over at the horses and thought “Gee, Ares is acting a bit strangely”. Then thought “Gee, why does Ares head look so odd?”. Ares was looking quite distressed actually. So I jumped off the mower and went over to investigate. His head was looking a bit swollen. And as I watched, it seemed to be getting way more swollen. And bumps were coming up all over his body. I suddenly realized he was having quite a severe allergic reaction to something. He was very glad to see me (well… when he turned so he left eye was looking at me anyway… not sure he could see out of his right eye by then), and was extremely happy to be led into the barn and into a nice safe box stall. It appears that he probably ran into a nest of yellowjackets out in the pasture somewhere and got multiple stings. I put Zamaluck in beside him, and then called the vet.

I could see the swelling increasing as I watched, and at one point felt a bit alarmed that possibly his nostrils would swell shut. His muzzle got really enormous and he did start to whistle a bit as he breathed. I had to loosen his halter, as it started looking like it would get too tight with all the swelling. The photo at left was taken after the swelling had come down very considerably.

I tried cold hosing him. But I had forgotten that his previous owner had warned me of his fear of hoses. That was definitely NOT happening. So I got a bucket instead and sponged him with cold water while I waited. I don’t know if it really helped, but it seemed like a safe treatment anyway. And I could tell that he liked it. He’s really a sweetheart. He wanted me to help him, and was actively asking for comfort. Resting his forehead against me and following me around the stall.

The vet called back and had me give banamine (a painkiller), dexamethasone (a steroid), and an antihistamine. I had to run down to the farm where I work to steal the dex and the antihistamine. But gave him banamine before I left. He looked quite a bit more comfortable already by the time I got back. And once I got the dex and the antihistamine into him, it was amazing how quickly the swelling started coming down. He seems to be much more comfortable and looks a good deal more like a horse and less like something out of the black lagoon now.

He’s out with Zamaluck in the round pen for a couple of days so I can keep an eye on him and continue giving him antihistamines. Zam seems quite concerned about his beloved friend’s health and well being.

Zamaluck is 11 years old and has never had a friend before. In his entire life. Ares likes him, and Zamaluck is totally besotted. They go everywhere together. Quite literally. Check out the photos of them grazing together a couple of days ago (before the swollen head).

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