Dante had his first visit from the UC Davis Large Animal Veterinary Clinic today. I called them the other day because I noticed he had lost even more weight (he has already been thin) and it was concerning me. He also became super lethargic about 3 days ago. They came out this morning around 9:30AM (they were amazingly on time, I was extremely impressed), and I asked them to just do a physical on him and a routine teeth float.
His physical went really well, they said aside from being thin, his heart, lungs, and gut sounded good and that his coat and mucous membranes looked great. His sheath has been a little swollen on and off the past year, despite numerous cleanings and de-beanings. She checked out his sheath, but she couldn't find and underlying problem besides the fact that it's a little swollen. So although it's not super pretty to look at, I'm glad nothing bad is going on there that's obvious.
His teeth also looked really great, although they required a routine float because they were ramping in the back. Aside from that though, they told me that his teeth looked awesome for a horse that's 19 years old! He was pretty well behaved for them, but he required so much of the drug they gave him to make him drowsy! Such a heavy weight. They literally added more 3 times and had to give him a total of 4 IV injections of the stuff.
They also took some blood work for me to preform a CBC on Dante to see if there were any underlying causes for his lethargy and weight loss. They called me about 3 hours after Dante's appointment with some not-so-great news. She said that Dante is anemic and that he also has a low WBC count. In humans, this isn't a big deal at all, because usually it can just be managed with some iron and dietary supplements. Although that can be the case with horses, Dante already receives iron daily, and usually with anemia in horses, it's just secondary to something else much larger that's looming in the background. It could literally be anything at this point, maybe he just isn't being fed enough, or it could be something like cancer, ulcers, kidney failure, etc. I'm worried. I had them proceed with doing a chemistry of his blood to narrow down why his blood volume is low and why he isn't producing the WBCs his body needs/why he may be losing them. They haven't called me back with results yet, but I'm hoping to hear something good. Fingers crossed.
I know that this honestly could be nothing at all, and Dante could be completely fine, but it's really made me realize how fragile horses are. I could find out that there is something seriously wrong with Dante and I could lose him. It's so scary, and maybe I'm overreacting at something that could possibly be nothing, but I am absolutely nowhere close to being ready to lose him. I don't know what I would do with myself. I'll follow up with this whenever I hear something!