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“They were waiting

for us when we arrived,” Judy explains. “They basically did their normal thing when we got there. They put him in the stocks, checked him over from head to toe, started him on IV fluids, and ultra sounded him to see if they could find anything, which they ultimately couldn’t. Once they had him stabilized, they decided to admit him for observation. “I just figured that

more than likely, going to have to make a very difficult decision in the morning. I’ll never forget that call.” Miraculously,

The playful young Caruso.

they would treat him and send him home. I hated leaving him up there. But of course I wanted him to get better, so that was the only option,” she remarks. Two days later, on December 23rd, Caruso was still at

Michigan State. He had remained fairly stable since being admitted, but new symptoms were beginning to emerge. His heart rate had become elevated and he was beginning to battle a fever. On Christmas Eve, he took a turn for the worse. “His fever was 104.5,” Judy remembers. “His heart rate was extremely high, and he started developing diarrhea later in the day. To top it off, he had to stand in ice boots to prevent laminitis from coming on because of the fever.” On Christmas day, Caruso’s loose stool worsened.

The doctors at MSU took stool samples by this time, and it wasn’t long before they diagnosed the Trakehner with salmonella poisoning. He was quickly moved to the Matilda R. Wilson Critical Care Center to prevent him from spreading the highly contagious disease, plus they could conduct 24-hour video observation on the ailing animal. “I was absolutely shocked,” Judy says. “I called my

primary vet after they told me this and asked if he had ever dealt with salmonella before. He said that he had twice, but neither horse lived long enough to cure it. But he also said, ‘He’s red-headed and German, Judy. He’ll pull through’. I hoped he was right.” The next two days proved damaging for Caruso. He

began refluxing his stomach contents on December 26th, and it became worse the next day. “I think it was around this time that one of the doctors told me that they would keep him on morphine for one more night, but that I was,

38 September/October 2009

38 September/October 2009

he was starting to look better the next morning. Caruso stopped refluxing fluids, although he still had diarrhea. He remained stable but weak for the next few days, but on New Year’s Eve,

his left jugular vein, where the IVs had been since he was admitted on December 21st, became the next problem. “His vein had thrombosed,” Judy reports. “Basically, it blew up since it had become badly infected, so they moved his IVs to the right side.”

Salmonella in Equines

Some possible carriers that are typically found around a barn include birds, rodents, goats, cows, dogs, cats, llamas, or even humans. When an infected animal deposits feces, they

S

can infect anything from pastures to feed, water, buckets—any surface that a horse can contact orally. It is even possible for humans to contract salmonella from these surfaces. As Caruso’s story demonstrates, salmonella poisoning is extremely serious and contagious. Horses suspected of carrying salmonella should be treated by a veterinarian right away. Symptoms of salmonella poisoning include a combination of any of the following: high fever, diarrhea (possibly bloody), repeated tail swishing, rectal prolapsing, colic, and dehydration. In severe cases, horses are often found dead

before their owners can do anything about it. In cases like Caruso’s, a long hospital stay could save a horse’s life, although salmonella remains one of the more fatal diseases that affects horses today. v

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