Panama effectively hijacked my day, and I spent about four hours at the barn instead of doing the work I'd planned for this afternoon.
While Michael and I were grooming Panama, we realized that he was acting rather differently than usual: That is to say, he was standing still instead of dancing around, and seemed to have no interest in treats (very unusual for him!). His nostrils also looked a little snotty.
Then I turned Panama out into the arena and chased him around a bit, but he didn't seem to want to canter. When he stopped running, he looked at me at such an angle that I realized his cheek was swollen. We immediately pulled him out of the arena, and I began making phone calls.
I was concerned about two major possibilities: strangles, which is a horse disease that can result in blocked airways, and that he had ingested lime, which the stable owner had put down (uncovered!) for the first time. It didn't help that Panama was clearly feeling very needy — he stuck as close to me as possible, and showed no interest in grazing (also very unusual).
I got a hold of the vet and he came out. It turns out Panama must have banged his face recently and badly; I'll have to have the vet drain the abcess in a few days, but for right now all he could do was to give him a shot and leave me with some painkiller/anti-inflammatory medicine. Still, better safe than sorry!
Once Panama had the shot, he started feeling better within 10 or 15 minutes. I could tell because he started grazing and stopped following me around with sad eyes. I cleaned his stall, letting him graze a while, and then did a little groundwork with him.
By the time I finally left, I had been there for about four hours, and the entire afternoon was gone. I'm not sorry, though — I'm glad I was there and was able to call in the vet to make Panama more comfortable. It was also rather heartwarming that when he was feeling crappy, he wanted nothing more than to feel close to me: It proves that I really have gained his trust in a major way.