If you own a mule, donkey, horse, ...
know your vitals.
Know how to spot a problem.
A week before Easter we lost Opal. After much discussion with the vet, it was thought that simply it was her 'time' and not any disease.
She had no signs of any issues other than not eating and being tired.
Within 24 hrs of a vet's visit she had passed.
Last night I went out to brush the mules in the lot near the front of the house.
I noticed that Fred was laying down 'enjoying' the sun.
Well that is what it seemed to be.
Curious I decided to just watch him for a moment.
Next thing I did was run for my new stethoscope and a lead rope. His sides were heaving and his breathing was rapid.
I knew Fred was not well when he allowed me to walk right up to him.
I took his vitals.
Respiration: 60/minute [absolutely alarming and not normal]
Heart rate: 60 [high]
Gums pink with rapid refill.
Gut noises: very hard to hear because of the rapid breathing.
Immediately I did a rectal exam and found him full of manure. We did an enema while we waited for the veterinarian. His respiration dropped fairly drastically to about 40 a minute which is still very high.
When the vet came I was able to tell him exactly what had transpired since we'd called.
The vet concurred that heart rate and respiration were a bit high but we had no temp in Fred.
He was treated with some Rompum which sedates the mule enough to insert a nasal tube into the stomach and insert a gallon of mineral oil.
And then we waited.
His gut had better sounds after about an hour.
We finally felt he was stable enough at midnight to put back in the paddock.
This morning at 6am, I woke up and saw Fred laying on the ground and though, Oh Crap, here we go again.
I went out armed with a lead rope ... but Fred was having nothing to do with that.
He kept trotting away from me and finally he got on the dirt mound where he stomped his back feet and began to grunt.
I stood and watched in no uncertain amazement as a huge ball of manure that resembled a monster egg was ejected from Fred.
But yes, the mule pooped out the biggest 'thing' I'd ever seen.
I grabbed it and stuck it in a plastic bag, then went back and took Fred's vitals again.
He had good gut sounds, his heart rate was normal at 40/minute, his respiration was at 24.
I called the Vet's office and the doctor wants to see the 'item' Fred removed from his bowels.
Hubby will be taking said item into the Vet's office after lunch.
Meanwhile I am on Fred watch.
He has eaten.
He has passed all the mineral oil.
He has peed.
He finally took a huge long drink and is now standing quietly in the sunlight.
I am hoping to see a BM soon but imagine after what he passed earlier that may be a bit of an issue as in ... it may cause him some pain.
After eating all of his vitals are still within the normal range.
However I think he has some leftover pain by the occasional stomp and tail crank.
Causes? We don't know.
But we hope to find out some clue from the 'item' he passed.
And yes, I took a photo of it because it was so unbelievable.
Not sure people on my blog would want to see a photo of such an item.
After we get some sort of feedback from the Vet, I may do that, but for now, I am on Fred watch.
PS~ You can actually learn so much just watching an animal for a whole day!
Update 1:40 PM.
Fred has done the BM thing and all systems seem normal. Still some discomfort. Sample is on its way to the Vet's office.