This morning after I turned our blind foal Cash loose in the corral with his Aunt Lena and Cousin Destiny, I looked over and noticed a bulge on his abdomen, just in front of his sheath. It looked like a small balloon hanging there. Uh oh.
I called Alayne over to hold him while I checked it out. The "balloon" was his skin filled with a very soft, fluid-like substance. I worked my finger into it and soon realized there was a hole in Cash's abdomen. Ah, the hernia! Yes, we knew he had a small hernia ... our equine vet, Dr. Bill Brown, found it during his medical exam when Cash first arrived. The plan at that point was to wait for Cash to get a bit older to geld him (for non-horse people, that's a neuter!) and close the hernia at the same time while he's under anesthesia.
But he should NOT have anything protruding through the hernia. This was new, and a bad sign.
Bill was already in the field and scheduled to come out here late this afternoon. He was going to do surgery on blind Hannah's remaining eye (it's now chronically inflamed and we need to remove it), and also examine our Belgian draft horse Beaver, who has a growth on his abdomen.
I called Bill about our discovery. "Oh no," he said. "That's not good." He was afraid Cash suddenly had intestine sticking out, which is extremely serious and even fatal if it became perforated.
Bill got here as soon as he could, and sure enough, it was Cash's intestine we were feeling inside that balloon of skin. Bill gently pushed it back in and then ran big loops of Elasticon tape around Cash's abdomen to help hold it in until he could get him into surgery. I took the photo of Alayne with Cash just before we loaded him into Bill's trailer for the trip to Missoula. Given the nature of the surgery, Bill wanted to do it at his clinic rather than out here, and as soon as possible.
After we loaded Cash in the trailer I put Hannah on board, too, so Bill could do her surgery at his clinic tomorrow. (Meanwhile we also did a biopsy of Beaver's growth.)
Bill called this evening to say Cash's operation went well ... the hernia is closed and Cash is now a gelding.
(Click on photo for larger image.)