Updates on Foster’s Health & Recovery

On February 1st, we made the tough decision to bring Foster back to Weems and Stephens Equine Hospital.

Foster's Health Recap

He had been discharged on Monday, January 29th, and we were hopeful as he had shown significant improvement during his stay. At that time, he seemed to be doing well, with no signs of colic. But the next morning, he started coughing more than usual, which set off alarm bells. 

We ran some blood tests, and the results were concerning: Foster still had high white blood cell counts, and an ultrasound revealed pneumonia in his right lung. Despite this setback, we left the hospital armed with a treatment plan involving a series of antibiotic shots over the next two weeks.

Over the following days, Foster's progress wasn't as steady as we'd hoped. We kept our team of veterinarians updated daily. Our main concerns? He wasn't finishing his grain like he used to and just didn't seem his usual bright, perky self. Along with his antibiotics, we introduced Ulcergard to ease any discomfort we suspected might be linked to stomach ulcers.

Uncovering the Root Cause

On Wednesday, Dr. Metcalf visited the ranch for our routine herd maintenance and conducted a thorough exam on Foster. First, he performed an ultrasound on Foster’s lungs to assess his pneumonia. Fortunately, the abscesses were minimal and didn’t seem to be the root cause of his symptoms. He then examined Foster's gut using ultrasound and conducted a rectal exam, all of which showed normal results. 

However, Foster showed sensitivity in his stomach area, suggesting possible stomach ulcers. Dr. Metcalf also examined and x-rayed Foster’s teeth, identifying issues with at least one incisor – a cracked crown – and subtle changes in another, possibly indicating decay.

Despite these dental findings, they alone do not seem to explain Foster's symptoms. We plan to address them once his other health concerns have been resolved.

Treatment Plan

The next morning, Foster took a turn for the worse, showing signs of colic once again. He wasn't eating his breakfast and seemed uncomfortable in his stall. It was clear he needed more help than we could give him at the ranch, so off to the hospital we went.

At the hospital, Dr. Chisholm gave Foster a thorough once-over. While the colic exam and ultrasound showed some concerning signs, it was the bloodwork that really worried us. Foster was dehydrated, and his white blood cell count was climbing, indicating that the antibiotics weren't doing their job as effectively as we'd hoped.

With heavy hearts, we admitted Foster to the hospital, where he received fluids and careful monitoring. We're treading cautiously with further antibiotic treatment, keeping in mind the risks involved. An endoscopy is also on the cards to delve deeper into his stomach issues.

Dr. Chisholm took a closer look at Foster's stomach and confirmed what's been troubling him: bad ulcers. It's been a real relief to finally have some answers about his condition. To help him feel better, Foster's now on a treatment plan that includes two medications – Ulcergard and Sucralflate – specifically designed to ease his discomfort and prevent further ulcers. We’re also sticking with his antibiotics for his pneumonia.

Back Home... and Back to the Hospital

On Friday, February 9, Foster finally got the green light to leave the hospital. They sent him home with a couple of meds to tackle those stubborn stomach ulcers and a pair of antibiotics to keep his pneumonia in check.

But just an hour after getting back to his stall, Foster started acting strange. He plopped down like he'd hit a wall of exhaustion. We consulted with the vet, hoping it was just post-hospital fatigue. But when he showed zero interest in his lunch, alarm bells started ringing. We hustled him right back to the hospital.

Back in the care of Dr. Chisholm, Foster seemed to perk up. The colic exam came back clear, leaving us scratching our heads over his sudden slump. We suspected his stomach ulcers might be causing discomfort, as they can be quite painful, but it's tough to say for sure.

A Midnight Scare

At midnight, Foster had a bout of diarrhea (a potentially life-threatening condition in horses). It was likely triggered by the potent antibiotics he had been on for nine days, although it took a while for the symptoms to show. He was promptly taken off the antibiotics and switched back to fluids for his treatment.

Looking Ahead

For the first time in weeks, we’ve noticed Foster finally having his spark back and his healthy appetite has returned. His manure is beginning to firm up, and his pneumonia has improved to the point where he can temporarily cease antibiotic treatment while the diarrhea resolves.

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our incredible vets, who've been by our side through every twist and turn. They're not just vets; they're true advocates for our furry friends, and we couldn't be more thankful for their unwavering support.