Rocky is home! He is so much better! It's such a relief to see it with my own eyes.
Okay I'm going to start from the beginning of today. Last night before bed I asked my hubby to check on Chrome before he went to work, because I was so terrified of walking out there and discovering he was worse and not having hubby there for my inevitable panic. As soon as I woke up I sent him a text asking, "How's Chrome?" He called and told me that Chrome was fine, but that he needed a million peppermints and hugs to make sure he fully recovers. My hubby always knows how to make me laugh.
So I was happy and relieved when I hurried outside to see Chrome. He was standing at the gate to his pen, dozing. He'd eaten every scrap of the whole square bale I gave him the previous day. He gave me a huge neigh when I woke him up. I walked over to him and was relieved to see he wasn't shaking or swaying or anything. He still walks a little funny in his rear, but anyone else probably wouldn't even notice it. I just notice it because I know him so well.
I fed him his Empower Balance and his extremely sloppy beet pulp mash. I didn't realize the beet pulp pellets don't need as much water as the shreds lol. I've never used them before. He drank the water off the top of it and then dug in. He had that stuff all over his face. All the way up to where the noseband of his halter sits lol. He thoroughly enjoyed himself.
I listened to Chrome slopping away as I guarded Zep from the goats while he ate. The goats are bad about using their horns to keep Zep out of the bucket, so I have to keep them chased off so he can eat. It was so hilarious though because when he was almost finished I left the pasture and the goats immediately went for him. Zep turned around and trampled them. He ran right over the top of them!!!!! Maybe they learned their lesson and will leave him alone now. Don't worry they weren't hurt. Nobody was limping or bloody. They kept their distance though!
Zep and the goats were in the pasture because they weren't eating the hay to begin with, but don't worry we spent all day yesterday raking and burning hay as soon as we found out what it was. The only reason I left Chrome separated last night is because he was sick and I didn't want him having to defend his hay against the goats.
As soon as everyone was done eating I turned Chrome back out into the pasture. He immediately galloped off. After getting his gallop out he ran over to Zep and they started rough housing. Once they finished rearing and striking and pounding on each other Chrome started trotting around looking all over the pasture trying to find Rocky. It broke my heart to see him searching like that. Then he walked over to the gate and stood there for the rest of the day... so sad.
When hubby got off work we went to pick Rocky up from the emergency clinic. We paid our bill (about gave me a heart attack, but I was relieved it was less than I was expecting to be honest), then I walked back to see Rocky while hubby went to move the truck. I was so scared when I walked to the stalls. I knew he was better because that's what they said, but all I could see in my head was him standing propped up against the wall, shaking all over. I was so relieved when I walked around the corner and saw him just standing there. So still. Just quietly dozing. I have never in my life been so happy to see a horse stand still. Rocky was ignoring all of the techs in the aisle, but as soon as I spoke his head swung around so fast to look at me. I almost started crying again at that point. I didn't think he would respond to my voice like that.
The first thing I said was "He isn't shaking!" I couldn't think of anything else to say lol. She let me in the stall and I started petting him. Then it hit me..... the SMELL!!!!!!! I've been told that DMSO stinks, but wow you can't fully understand that until you smell it for yourself. Ugh! It was awful. I could taste it!
Hubby showed up and we led him out to the loading area. He was so happy to be leaving that I could barely keep up he was walking so fast!! He hated the rubber mats that are in all of their aisles! The stall didn't bother him because of the shavings. I guess he's never seen them before. You could almost see his relief when he got to the gravel.
When we got him to the trailer I was worried he wouldn't load. Who could blame him after what he went through?? Horses don't like feeling off balance and he was almost falling down when we took him up there. He hesitated at the ramp, stepped his front feet on it, sniffed it and then walked on. He is such a good boy!! I honestly think he was hoping we were going home and just wanted to get there. He's a seasoned enough traveler that he knows getting back on the trailer means going home.
We drove him the hour home in the dark (hate night driving even when I'm the passenger!). When we got home Chrome neighed before we could unload Rocky. Rocky responded with this loooooooong drawn out neigh that I thought would go on forever. As soon as the ramp was down Rocky exploded out of the trailer (I know that's really dangerous, but our place is fully fenced and he was so overly excited and unsteady that we didn't feel comfortable getting on the trailer, so hubby just opened it and got out of the way) and ran to the pasture gate. Chrome and Rocky blew at each other in greeting. We let them hang out for a second and then I shook a bucket with feed in it. Rocky came right to me and went in the small pen to eat in peace. Once he was done we turned him out in the pasture. He and Chrome were glued to each other. I hadn't realized how close they'd gotten.
We gave them some hay (that we bought from the feed store and I thoroughly inspected for seeds) and left them to eat in peace. I know the best thing for Rocky right now is being in his home, with his friends and his normal quiet routine.
Now I don't want to freak anyone out, but I'm going to share a picture I found online of this Dallis grass seed so you can all check your hay. I don't want to make anyone paranoid, but I also don't want anyone to go through this. Keep in mind Dallis grass is only dangerous once it's gone to seed. The grass itself is not dangerous. For some reason after a drought the seeds get a fungus on them (ergot poisoning) that is toxic. So if you're feeding a first or second cut hay you probably have nothing to worry about. This hay was cut very late (without our knowledge... we were not sold what we were told we were getting) and was full of seeds. Here is the picture.
The one on the left is Dallis grass. The one on the right is Bermuda, which is what we normally feed. When the Dallis grass seed is infected with the fungus it turns an orange red color, but once it's dried in hay it just looks like normal hay.... so there isn't a way to tell if the seeds are safe or not, so it's best to just not feed any with seeds. I will never feed my horses hay with seeds in it again. I wish I had known all of this before it happened, so I'm sharing all of this in hopes that it saves someone else from going through this traumatic situation.
Thank you all for the comments, thoughts and prayers. I really appreciate all of them. I'm so relieved my boys are safe.
Also another part of the story that I didn't tell yesterday is that when Rocky first started staggering I was terrified it was rabies. What made the fear of rabies so bad is that six days before he started staggering, Rocky had accidentally bit my finger when I was hand feeding him (my fault for not paying attention and keeping my fingers out of the way) and broke the skin! So I was terrified that I could be infected with rabies!! That made this whole situation even more traumatic. So during all of this while trying to help him I was also calling the health department trying to find out how much time I had since it had already been six days and what I was supposed to do. I was told that I had time (apparently it's not as fast acting as I thought and it's normal for a ten day quarantine to be done on domestic animals), but that if he died I'd have to have him tested and if he came back positive I would have to have the shots. The vet told me if it was rabies he would die, but that if he improved with treatment he didn't have it because rabies cases don't improve. So when we loaded Rocky up to go to the vet and I checked on Chrome and saw him shaking it was almost a relief! If two horses were infected it was more likely they ate something and less likely it was rabies, because Chrome was vaccinated against rabies (I honestly can't remember if Rocky was because he wasn't done at the same time due to his laminitis... I'll be remedying that as soon as it's safe) and what are the odds they would both be infected and showing symptoms at the same time. It's a very strange feeling to be relieved to see Chrome was sick at the same time being terrified he also had this mysterious disease and could die. It truly was absolutely terrifying!! In the process of all of this I've learned a lot.... about rabies, toxins, ataxia, Dallis grass, emergency vets, etc. From now on I want to learn about all of this from books!!!!
Sorry it took so long to update. Once again, thank you all for your support guys!
P.S. Tomorrow I'll get pictures of the boys (even if they are crappy cell phone pictures) so you can see with your own eyes that they are alive and well (or getting there at least). :)