Tuesday, June 30, 2015
Every vet I have spoken to has been very guarded about any optimism about finding a source for Prair's symptoms. Apparently chronic diarrhea in horses is like saying we have a "rash."
There are about 400 different rashes with thousands of potential causes or irritants that could cause one. Apparently so goes watery horse poop.
Here's what we know:
There are no obvious correlations with her diet. her hay, grain and supplements have all been adjusted at some point without a large impact on her symptoms.
Symptoms started 2 weeks after our arrival to our farm, and have varied in severity, but have always been pretty consistent. Most of the time her manure itself is well formed there's just extra... liquid.
Until the last couple of weeks she has never appeared uncomfortable. No signs of colic, no worried eyeballs, nothing. Recently she has seem upset over passing manure, which I think is due to her skin being a bit scalded...
Her fecal showed nothing weird, egg counts are right where they should be in her worming schedule, so it's unlikely a traditional parasite.
Blood was also mostly normal. I say mostly because protein counts were a tad off, and oddly, a few other horses on the farm who had blood drawn showed the same protein irregularities - but no tummy symptoms.
Sand was also well within a acceptable range. I know sand checks are fairly subjective, but he didn't hear much of it in her belly, and there wasn'y much in her manure. She's not grazing on sandy soil, and I've never seen her eating sand in her paddock, so I'm not that concerned about sand...
Our vet is Mr. Thorough. He spent 45 minutes on the phone discussing significantly more detail on the lab results and possible causes than I could ever hope to remember or understand. Which - is saying something since I'm usually a vet-detail-hoarder.
Right now the plan is to collect another blood and fecal sample to overnight to Davis for a different lab screening that will focus more on screening for weird viruses. (I think).
Prair's getting some of her supplements pulled just to simplify her diet a tad, and depending on the results from Davis, we may try pulling her off traditional hay for a couple weeks and give her hay-mush only in order to let her tummy settle and not have to process stems for a while.
All in all, there's no clear path to explore. Initially Mr. Thorough was thinking the protein levels in the bloodwork was going to be our primary avenue, but with other horses showing the same levels and no symptoms, he's less confident that is what's driving Prair's symptoms.
The increased confinement of Prair's "stall rest" (with turnout) could also be contributing to her tummy troubles, but sadly, that's not about to change anytime soon either.
Mostly it's a big bag of question marks for the moment, but hopefully the second round of lab work will at least rule out a few causes and I can keep the mare's tushy a tad cleaner.
All the watery poop has really done a number on her tail as well... While she never had a thick, luscious tail to begin with, it's even sadder after so much breakage and snarls with manure dreadlocks.
A sad, but less serious side effect I suppose.
Always an adventure!
Friday, June 26, 2015
I'll start with the check up on her left hind, since that's most of the drama.
We started by lunging Prair on a small circle, where, even with a heavy martini in her veins, she was still exhibiting Dragon-like-symptoms. But once a bit settled, she looked great.
No limp, no shuffle, no quick step. Sound.
So we flexed.
And that's where the wheels fell off the wagon.
Her left fetlock flexion is still really positive. She shows obvious discomfort at the flexion being held and the first two steps off the line looked nearly as bad as I remember eight and a half weeks ago when this adventure started.
I almost canceled the Ultrasound since we knew it wasn't going to show brilliant progress, but I was too curious and too interested to delay the opportunity to get more information.
The (little bit) of good news is that general inflammation in the area is down. There is still some edema around the suspensory, but less than there was 8 weeks ago. The medial branch of the suspensory still shows a small area of disruption, but appears to be making (some) progress. This would be great news f the DDFT was following suit, but the DDFT looks exactly the same as the images we saved from the previous ultrasound.
There is s slight line showing on the DDFT, which is likely a small split in the tendon. We can't confirm exactly what or where without an MRI, but I'm still holding off on that procedure since confirming it's a split doesn't change any treatment plans.
Essentially, the vet took one look and asked for two more months of stall rest followed by another ultrasound. A pattern we would keep repeating until we see either improvement in healing or scar tissue form.
There we are. I spent the long drive home from the barn being fatalistic and trying to think about my (reasonable) options. One thing I am fairly certain of is that if we can get meaningful healing, and Prair comes back sound on that limb, I don't think it's fair to ask her to jump (however small) again as her primary job. Attempting to rehab her as a solid, exceptional Dressage mount for an Ammy seems more responsible.
At this point (as in today, thought I'm sure I'll waffle on this), I still really want to jump, so if Dressage-Ammy-Mount was an option, I'd likely be looking for a home I trusted for the big mare.
Of course I have to consider the possibility that she won't be serviceably sound and think about what that means too.
She's pretty, she has great bloodlines and two (stunning) babies on the ground, so we know she has value as a broodmare as well... it just seems too soon for her to become a professional mama.
Anyway, obviously for the time being some patience is probably what I need the most - but it's hard not to let my mind race a year down the road and wonder if I should try to move her now to a less expensive facility where she can enjoy her (extended) rest in a slightly more affordable fashion.
Though my immediate reaction to that thought is concern over moving a horse that I want keen eyeballs on to a facility where the service level might be lower and the staff won't be familiar with her.... Not necessarily a great tradeoff, especially for peace of mind.
Lots of thinking to do, and thankfully a sunny, beautiful weekend coming up so I can wallow in my Mare Despair, probably with wine in hand
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
|Gus, in situ|
This responsibility is exactly what wakes me up at night every once in a while wondering if I should try a different treatment, supplement regimen or even discipline in order to be fair to my horses, but nowhere does this guilty conscious shout louder than when I'm looking for a new home for one of my horses.
Admittedly I haven't sent that many horses down the road - and I've sent even fewer to homes and/or owners that I haven't had a 10+ year relationship with (really just 2).
So, there was a bit of trepidation when Gus loaded on the trailer last winter bound for a new home, in a new state with new people.
But every time I hear from his new mom about how he's doing and what he's up to, I get that huge, massive sigh of relief that only comes when you know that your beloved pony found a home better than you could give him yourself.
Gus. Is. Great.
He's also living the life most horses only dream of. Huge green pastures, a nice turnout buddy, and most importantly a little girl to adore him.
I should note all of these photos are from the farm his new family just moved to, I've been choking down my jealousy ever since they landed in my inbox.
want want want
|Gus House :)|
I mean, I'm tempted to move out there myself.
But I can assure you, there are no 2am musings over whether or not I did right by Gus.
Gus. Is. Great.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Firmly in the category of nobody-really-cares-cause-where-are-the-horse-pictures, The Boy forced/convinced/made me go back to Boston last weekend for my 10 year college reunion. Now I'm sure some of you are like "OLD LADY GO HOME" and others are thinking "10 years, cute, call me when you go to your 20, or 30... or whatever.." but omg REUNION = hysterical. wildly entertaining
In retrospect I should have made a College BINGO card because I'm certain a) I would have won (and I like winning) and b) um... it would have been fun.
Somehow in 36 hours, we (we being my old housemates and I) ticked off all major college experiences and somehow managed to get ourselves back on our respective planes and back to real life. Now, we came back mostly exhausted and slightly worse for the wear, but still - success. However I've been playing catch up all week and haven't had a chance to talk about the Mare at all.
I could report on what staying in dorms is like in your 30's (gross, but fun if you're slightly drunk) and if anyone needs a recommendation for a pair of nude wedges that won't kill your feet when you end up in them from 4pm-4am, but shoes reviews are not as fun as tack reviews so I'll skip that.
I will however sum up the experience buy clarifying that it is always funny to watch friends make out in common rooms, always appropriate to sneak whiskey into campus events and always smart to end the night/start the morning with buffalo chicken calzones (why the rest of the country doesn't offer this delicacy is beyond me).
If I did have time to talk about the mare it would have been this "She's fat. She likes hand grazing"
That's it. We are 2 weeks away from our 8 week ultrasound (god it sounds more like she's pregnant, than a sport horse) which aside from being closer than I thought also means I should pay my last vet bill before I ask my vet to take more pictures of my mare again. (face palm).
My catch ride lessons continue to be really productive (and also exhausting AF) but I'm eager to get the mare back, so I really, really, really hope I get my mare back soon.
Time for a nap.
Thursday, June 4, 2015
Last week, I finally had my long awaited appointment with the Animal Communicator (I've heard they don't like being called psychics..). At the start of the call I told her that I was calling with regard to Prairie, a horse, who is a 10 year old black, Hanoverian mare. Oh, and she's 17 hands.
That's it. No description of our discipline, injuries, schedules, history, anything. I suppose it's possible she googled the blog in the first 30 seconds, but it seems somewhat unlikely.
Anyway, so we began. When I started to offer context for some of her initial observations, I was cut off and told not to tell her anything. This being our first call, she really wanted to just tell me what she saw without any input from my end. If I thought she had chops and wanted to get more specific in future sessions, I could, but no "helping" during this conversation.
So I shut up and started taking notes.
I'm not really too sure how to structure this post, so I'm just going to copy and paste my notes, somewhat reorganized into categories, and then I'll offer you my thoughts at the end? For those of you who know Prair personally (or have just read long enough to know the drama), some will resonate.
Okay, so let's digest. If I hadn't collapsed this across topic, you'd see that the call started out with a physical rundown, followed by some of Prair's childhood, followed by her friends in the barn, followed by her attitude toward work and trainers, followed by her opinion of me, followed by the Communicator's assertion I have Daddy issues.
Honestly, I lot of it was ringing very true until I was told that my Father had unrealistic expectations of me as a child and I carry that into my riding. I suppose it's true that my family has had high expectations, but never, at any point did I feel like a failure, or unworthy, or that what I was doing wasn't enough. I do like being the best at things (even if that thing is a cross pole division), but I digress. Long story short - if we hadn't touched on Daddy Issues, I would have hung up feeling totally spooked out.
Here are the same notes again, but with my commentary:
Communicator did say we often complicate what our animals are trying to tell us..
Monday, June 1, 2015
Not the least of which involved me going to the tack store armed with multiple credit cards to take advantage of a 20% off everything sale. (crap crap crap). Thankfully I had an enabling friend with me who somehow managed to make sure I knew that there were things I could buy with a horse on stall rest.
New show coat? nope, just got one (omg, it's here and it's so pretty I wear it around the house in my yoga pants).
New saddle/bridle/girth? Nope, all are relatively new in the last year
New Boots? nope, those are new too...
New show shirts? nope, have some I haven't even worn yet..
Breeches? I can always justify new breeches
Gloves? also useful
maybe a new show helmet if they've got something velvety in my size...
So we tore through the store, I managed to find a pair of cute Pikeurs to school in for a steal, some sparkly Samshield gloves (because rhinestones will totally help mask my busy hands..) and a new curry comb since mine disappeared?
|Both my breech and glove sizes were bigger than I remember...|
Speaking of vet bills, we also spend the weekend spending $1,200 on diagnostics for the cat to learn that he "probably" fell off a tree (or a fence, or a tire swing) or something and "will be fine." Why this irritates me so much I'm not sure. Lord knows we've far exceeded the $1,200 mark for Prair's diagnostics, and I'd gladly write a check of that sum to learn that she was going to be fine.
So instead of a $25 shelter cat, now he's a $1,225 fancy cat with a confirmed healthy heart, (thanks ultrasound!) and lots of consults to confirm he probably fell out of a tree (or something).
Staying on the cat insanity track for a moment, kitty's outdoor adventures were limited while we thought he was legitimately dying, but he snuck out and since we have a GPS locater on his collar, I was pissed when I saw he had wandered about a mile and a half away.
That's totally within his normal wandering range, but at midnight, when he's not quite 100% and there are raccoons and coyotes about, I was ticked and wanted him home. So The Boy and I loaded into the car and proceeded to follow his little GPS beacon around the neighborhood with the windows rolled down and shaking a bag of greenies and calling his name.
Just about the time I was feeling sketchy as all get out and embarrassed about our creepy behavior in the middle of the night, kitty came running (everything in our house is motivated by food) and we scurried home before anyone called the cops on us for prowling arnoud the neighborhood at 2mph and poking around in bushes.
Finally, to cap off the long weekend (that wasn't spent horse showing) The Boy and I enjoyed a long walk, which involved me obsessively watching a HUGE HICKEY on his forehead develop from slightly red to deep purple. Now, how does one get a HUGE HICKEY on your forehead you might wonder? Well, see the baby has these great suction cup toys that I adore because she can't immediately toss them on the ground, but obviously they are funnier if you STICK THEM TO YOUR HEAD and shake it around. Baby thinks it's hysterical and - whammo - perfectly round, huge hickey accomplished.
I should have taken a picture. it was fairly epic.
So my friends, that is how you spend a 3 day weekend while all your friends go horse showing.
Cat bills, hickeys and tack stores. A perfect trifecta of something, just not sure what.
Then the insanity continued this week with the arrival of The Vet Bill (because all previous vet bills were just practice for THIS ONE), followed immediately by wine to mitigate the realization that I am not in fact saving any money by not showing. Wednesday I finally had my phone call with the Pet Psychic which was awesome and aside from her being really certain I had some unresolved daddy issues which clash with Prairie's PTSD, she was pretty spot on, down to the location of Prair's stall in the barn (remember, this lady was 2,500 miles away and talking to me on the phone... not meeting us in person, which would make identifying Prair's stall location not impressive at all).
More to come on that phone call. I have lots of notes written down and am sort of eager to schedule another call? But maybe I should pay my vet bills first before blowing more cash on psychics in different time zones...
|I could be a pro hand-grazer I think.|
Also I nearly chopped off one of the baby's toes (though I didn't, so I'm grateful for that) and worked out for the first time since 2013 which means I'm functionally crippled. (the baby isn't though, her toe is healing, I'm the only one limping around the house, thank god)