Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tying Up rare in Mules

Exertional rhabdomyolysis also known as tying up is a terrifying experience for any equine owner.

You may not recognize the symptoms.
We certainly didn't and neither did the veterinarian that came out the other night.

I came home an Siera was laying down.  I went to get her out of her day pen and she didn't want to get up.
When she did her back legs were tucked under her and her hind quarters were shaking and trembling.

She walked as if both back legs were lame.  
I noticed that she hadn't pooped all day so though...Colic!

She'd had food and water but kept bashing her bucket around while having her hissy fit from being seperated.
Normally when we do this, I am home and when she gets upset, I take her for a walk or tie her up and groom her.

But I was at work.

The vet came and took her CRT.  4 seconds for capillary refill.  Heart Rate of 100.  She was in major distress and pain.
Her hydration was fine yet we all concentrated on the pain and thought it was colic too.  When he arrived she had no gut noises which is a terrible thing for any equine.

After a shot of Rompun, and Banamine ... and an enema ... she passed manure but was still in extreme pain.  We tried walking her.  Doc and hubby watched me walk her around, she was acting as if she was starved so I just stopped and let her graze.

Suddenly she just laid down and began to graze quietly in the yard.  The sweat in her coat started to dry up and she seemed content.
We left her like that.
The Doc was amazed as her CRT dropped to 2 seconds and her heart rate returned to 40.  
Soon Siera stopped and began to doze.

A light went of in the Doc's head and he said, "She's acting as if she is 'Tying Up'!"

He looked at me and looked at Siera.  "In her condition," he said, "that would make sense if she was carrying on all day.  This would be more exercise than she could take."
Yes.  Siera was FAT.  Normally I start riding her in the spring and control her weight.  Not this year though.

Doc wanted Siera to be able to lay down for no more than 2 hrs at a time.  Part of the night I lay on her while she was resting.  The night was cold and I used her as a heater and a pillow.

Siera survived.  She is making a miraculous recovery.  She will get about 2 weeks of rest and mild walking aside from what she is doing in the paddock.  Her muscles in her back quarters took a beating the other night.  Think of a Major Charlie Horse and you'll probably know what she was going through.

I'm hoping that no permanent damage was done to her muscles and that we can prevent this from ever happening again.

I've searched several sites and have found no incidences of mules tying up.  But her symptoms were classic for it. 

She's fine today and acting as if nothing occurred the other night.  However she is back to her Siera-self.  She sees me and knickers.  She follows me like she is a puppy.
I really do like this odd mule who seems to think the world of me.


The Three Muleteers said...

Oh poor Siera! We're all so sorry to hear you were sick, good thing you got a good owner and vet. We've never come across this in mules either sure sounds like what happened. Hope the recovery continues well. Sending you Neighbrays and get well wishes (and a good night's sleep for Val!)

Val said...

Thank you my friends across 'the water'!!!

The Dancing Donkey said...

Gosh, I've only ever seen tying up in horses who are in heavy work, but I can see how it could happen in this situation. Although, I would never have thought it possible. I hope she heals fast. I think that it is a very good sign that she is already feeling better, really bad cases don't usually turn around that fast. You probably know this, but one thing to watch for is very dark urine or blood in the urine, it is a sign of the body trying to repair bad muscle damage. Good luck!

Val said...

She passed no dark urine. She is up and about acting normal now, but I am giving her a week of light hand walking and she can walk in the paddock for exercise.

If all goes well, then we start back in with light riding and continue the work this time and not let her get into fat shape again.

I also plan on keeping her solo from now on as much as possible so we don't go through this again.