You know how whenever you think you can do a quick visit to the barn it never works out that way?
Yeah, that was my trip out on Thursday night.
As I have been doing all week, I went out at about 8:30pm to avoid the worst of the heat, so I arrived at the barn around 9pm.
The plan was to bring both horses in together to eat their grain and throw them some more hay. I wanted to keep my visit to no more than 45 minutes as I had a doctor's appointment at 8:15 the next morning on the other side of the city so I wanted to get home to air out the house before trying to fall asleep.
I had pre-soaked their food so when I arrived I set up their food dishes in the barn aisle before heading out to grab the ponies from their paddock.
At the gate, I was met by Cisco. Who was coughing. A lot.
My immediate thought was that he had some degree of choke. It wouldn't be the first time.
But there was also a concern that it could be some type of respiratory distress brought on by the heat.
I brought Phantom in so that she could start eating and removed Cisco's dish from the aisle. He wasn't going to be allowed to eat it. Then I went back out and brought him in.
The good news is that he wasn't feeling very sorry for himself - he was quite perky as we walked to the barn, and then he was quite pissy about the fact that Phantom was getting to eat and he wasn't. That's good because when he has choked in the past he has had no interest in eating.
He was still coughing quite a bit, and was breathing a little heavier than I liked, so I was still concerned about a respiratory issue. I also took his temperature as he had a bit of sweat in his elbow area, and he came in at 38.1.
I squirted a couple of small syringes of water into Cisco's mouth to see if that helped the choke issue, and then hosed him off to try to cool him off a bit. I don't know if he was holding his breath while I was spraying him with water, but he didn't cough the whole time, and I only heard a couple more afterward.
It seemed to resolve itself about 25 minutes after I first saw him. Nevertheless, he didn't get his soaked grain that night (Phantom got a second serving.)
The paddock that they live in is fed with hay forked off a round bale and I usually give them a bunch before I leave at night, but I didn't want Cisco to be able to gobble a bunch up. I had a small hole hay net in my trailer so I set that up on the fenceline. I thought that either Phantom and Pete wouldn't let Cisco eat with them or that they would all share and thus Cisco wouldn't get very much of it and everyone would be able to have some. Unfortunately, Cisco seems to have been asserting his dominance as of late and when I left he was eating from the net by himself. I had put down very small piles for the other horses so they didn't get left out.
I alerted the barn owner in case he starts coughing again in the morning, in which case I'll have to get him looked at. Fingers crossed he decides to chew his food!