Gratitude for the Glorious Gift of Poop.

This is how you can tell there is a tourist in the barn: they keep their eyes on the ground and there’s lots of erratic tiptoeing. Some even squeal at the sight of manure. I call it Fecalphobia- an irrational fear of digestive waste. Thankfully, humans are the only species prone to the disease. (Nincompoops.) Everybody else is fine about bowel relief.

People who live with horses don’t get emotional about poop. It’s such a normal part of the day-to-day reality; Fecalphobia is an urban luxury we just can’t afford. More likely, horse owners appreciate a steamy monument affirming the health of their equine, remarking “Quelle Bon Merde!”

“A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” William Shakespeare.

But something happened this week that make me lose my sense of humor. During my 10 pm feed, I found my elderly gelding lethargic and wobbly. He’d had an explosive bout of diarrhea, his gut sounds were audible at a distance, and he actually burped loud and foul. (I know- horses aren’t supposed to be able to burp.) My gelding collapsed to the ground and laid flat. He was in obvious pain and kind of hopeless at the same time. Not funny, and very scary- I feared the worst.

I finally got him to his feet an hour later, just as my vet arrived. We set to work in zero degree temperatures to try to help my grandfather horse.

Diagnosis: Equine Colitis. How have I never heard of it? Have you? (Google it.) It’s dangerous, like colic, with stress being a factor. Was this early, bitter winter weather the culprit? The treatment includes tubing fluids for dehydration and banamine for pain, followed by Bio-sponge (serious anti-diarrhea) and a course of pro-biotics.

My grandfather horse slowly got comfortable. My focused, hard-working vet eventually left, along with my holiday money, in the wee hours. Farm calls like this confirm the total lack of romance in the veterinarian occupation, all the more reason I’m so grateful for someone to call.

I limped on frozen toes to the house to watch and wait. There is such a fine balance to an equine digestive tract. Once that process gets interrupted, there is no peaceful rest until that nutrition-elimination cycle is working normally again.

In pre-dawn light, I was thrilled to see the old gelding still on his feet. I continued his meds but he was still dull, with no interest in hay. By mid-morning there was not much improvement- he would chew a bit of hay but then spit it out. He seemed so depressed- what could I do? I brought him his best donkey-friend to share his hay snacks and remind him to swallow.

Each hour I cheerfully offered scraps of hay, each hour he would nibble. He took a bit of water. Very long hours crawled by.

And finally, just as the sun was setting, I saw it! The incredible miracle of excrement!

Turditis with projectile infermatude no more.

Craptastic!  Fecalicious joy! Fanscatic release.  Cow-pie-pretty poopitude!
Stoolpendus healing!
Turdatious gratitude!

Thank God for poop. We live to muck another day!

 Anna Blake, Infinity Farm.

5 thoughts on “Gratitude for the Glorious Gift of Poop.

  1. I share your admiration of vets and poop alike. Love your great poop adapted adjectives!
    My #1 read post on my blog right now is the one about manure so if you tag this post with the words poop and manure, you’ll find that a ton of people in the blogosphere are searching for those words in blogs. Whatever is the world coming to? Hope your old guy continues to mend in that frigid weather (heavens!)

  2. AMEN! Horse people (like new mothers?) have a healthy interest in horse poop. Wonderful post pointing out how indispensable it is as our first line of defense in knowing how our horses are feeling.

    I’m still giggling over ‘nincompoops’, and share your gratitude and awe for the unromantic life of a veterinarian. Off to google gastritis…(thank you for the info!)

  3. I believe it takes animal care givers and nurses to truly appreciate poop. Our discussions over a pizza can stop the appetite of those around us (more for us!)
    Truly amazing how much control the colon has over us

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