I didn't go up to Madison today to visit Pie, as I'm worn out from all the driving and had things to take care of at home - today they're starting to increase his feed and will do so again tomorrow - right now he's still not getting very much to eat. By the end of tomorrow, he will be at the full hay ration (26 pounds a day, calculated by the vet students and approved by the vet) plus pellets that they think he needs. So far - since he's been up there on Thursday - he hasn't had another colic attack. This is good news in a way. In a way it's frustrating, since the vets haven't been able to observe him when he's having an attack. But it's also good - the vets say he's the picture of good health. If he doesn't colic again, he'll be coming home on Monday.
But he'll be coming home without a definitive diagnosis. We know a lot of things he doesn't have - he doesn't have sand colic (they tested for that), he doesn't have primary liver disease, he has no masses in his liver or spleen, his GI tract is completely normal as far as they can determine. They don't think he has ulcers - he doesn't present like a horse with ulcers and they've decided he doesn't need to be scoped. He does have these multiple masses inside his abdominal cavity and outside his GI tract, but we have no idea what they are, or even how many of them there actually are. They aren't fatty lipomas - the shape is wrong - and there's no overt constriction of his abdominal tract. They probably aren't bastard strangles or any other infectious process, since his blood work and abdominal tap were unremarkable (although we're still expecting culture results, the vets don't expect anything). They aren't certain types of cancers that shed lots of cells into the abdominal space - those would have been picked up in the pathology analysis of the abdominal fluid. They could still be some other type of cancer, and that can't be ruled out. A biopsy or laparoscopic or other more invasive surgical examination isn't warranted at this time because of the risks of complications and the fact that he's not that ill.
So there we are. We'll see how he does over the next day or so, and then follow the vet's recommendations for the amount and timing of feeding him and see how he does. That's what we can do, so that's what we'll do, and we'll live our lives like horses do - experiencing and enjoying every moment we're given to its fullest - that's all any of us can do.