I have a 24 year old Appendix bred gelding that I rescued nearly a year ago. Up until a month ago he was gaining weight and coming along very well. He was approximately 450lbs underweight when I brought him home at 16.1 and 900 lbs!
Last month he began to lose weight again and yesterday he was very wobbly in the pasture. Late last night I went to check on him and he refluxed black goo. I called the local vet and he can't figure out what could be wrong.
I am afraid I am going to have to put the old boy down and he is such a good horse that I hate to see it come to that. He has no history of colic or any diseases. He checked out clean last October when I had him tested for a trail ride that required it. I am just hoping you have heard of something like this and could give me an idea on what I can do for him as our vet is stumped.
He is not extrememly weak, but you can see in his eyes that something is wrong. His heartbeat is strong, bowels fine, urination normal with no discoloration and regular, and he eats fairly well, but is losing weight at an alarming rate and the reflux has me frightened. Is there anything you can suggest?
Mount Sterling, IL
I am sorry that your horse is so ill. I am not sure what you mean by refluxÑare you seeing black goo coming out of his nostrils or mouth? If it is truly black, it may be a draining melanoma. If it is dark red, it may be blood from stomach ulcers.
Because of his age, his weakness, and his losing weight, cancer is unfortunately very likely. I am sure that your vet checked his teeth and mouth to make sure that he can chew well and is not in pain. You did mention he has a fairly good appetite and is still losing weight. Are you sure the horse is not choking?
If you really want to know what the black goo is and where it is coming from, take your horse in for endoscopy. This is a long, flexible tube with a camera on the end that can be passed in through his nostril and turned to look into the sinuses and down into the esophagus and stomach.
I wish you the best of luck.
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