On Monday, our sweet Foster seemed a bit off. During his evening feeding, he left some of his food untouched, which is quite unusual for him. However, we noticed he was munching on hay. While grain aversion often signals stomach ulcers, we wanted to be thorough, so we gave him some pain medication. After 2 hours, he showed interest in eating grain. Since an ulcer wouldn't respond so quickly, it seemed more like colicking (stomach pain).
As we watched him eat, we noticed some peculiar movements with his mouth. It got us wondering if he might be dealing with teeth issues. But struck us as odd that he'd favor hay over grain if his teeth were bothering him. (And yes, all of this was in consultation with our trusted vets.)
We took Foster's blood sample into Weems, which revealed an elevated White Blood Cell count (this means he had an infection). We promptly administered an antibiotic to address the issue.
Over the next few days, Foster was acting slightly unusual, but thankfully, nothing signaled an emergency. Our continuous communication with both Dr. Metcalf and Dr. Splawn involved reporting any new or worsening symptoms, reaching a point where we felt comfortable not bringing him into the hospital.
By Friday, Foster appeared slightly more uncomfortable. Dr. Metcalf examined him, checking his mouth, where he found a small abscess on his gums above his front tooth – confirming he was having some discomfort in his mouth. Dr. Metcalf then conducted a colic exam, finding nothing remarkable. Still, we opted for an ultrasound to investigate further.
The ultrasound showed that Foster had a Nephrosplenic Entrapment, where his large intestine had shifted over and was between the spleen and the kidney (known as the nephrotic space). To address this, we decided to take Foster to the hospital. Dr. Metcalf administered fluids to assist his journey, and we quickly informed Dr. Splawn about the findings, preparing to bring him in.
A Remarkable Turnaround
At Weems, Dr. Splawn re-ultrasounded Foster, ran bloodwork to confirm the findings, and began treatment. Foster received a shot that worked within minutes to shrink his spleen. He was taken out to the pasture and ran for about 10 minutes. After returning to the exam room, another ultrasound was taken—amazingly, his entrapment had resolved! The intestine, kidney, and spleen were now in the proper positions.
Foster was admitted so that he could stay on fluids and be monitored. Since he had a significant amount of grain in his stomach, constant care was essential in case anything changed.
If the shot and exercise hadn't worked, the next step would have been to physically roll him. After that, surgery would be the next option. We were impressed, grateful, and OVERJOYED that the first option worked so quickly!
Gratitude to Our Vet Team
Our team is so incredibly grateful for Dr. Metcalf and Dr. Splawn (and her team at Weems). They consistently respond promptly and efficiently, helping us assess the situation and determine the best option for every animal at our Sanctuary!