Waiting and watching
Once the flow abated, Arnesen capped the chest tubes with valves to prevent air from getting into Parker’s chest, then he taped the tubes securely to Parker’s body and wrapped the ends with bandages to absorb fluid that would continue to drain. Parker would remain like this, at the clinic, until his condition improved---or until the situation became hopeless.
The first 24 hours were tough, for everyone. Parker was started on two very strong intravenous antibiotics, which Arnesen told me could be stressful to organs like the kidneys. But, considering how sick my horse was, waiting for the results of the culture to tell us what kind of bacteria we were dealing with really wasn’t an option. Fortunately, Parker’s liver did fine until the test revealed that only one, much safer, antibiotic was needed.
I went to the clinic daily to brush and massage Parker. I took him for short walks outside in the sun, and he’d pick grass with his teeth but then let it fall out of his mouth. The walking seemed to make the drains more drippy, which was fine by me because I wanted to get that fluid out of him any way I could. Every other day the tubes were removed and cleaned, then put back in. Overall, Parker seemed lethargic, and he still wasn’t very interested in eating or drinking.
On the fifth day, Parker developed explosive diarrhea. Arnesen told me that it wasn’t an uncommon reaction to the stress of illness and hospitalization