Thursday, January 31, 2008

Some Photos, Finally

A close-up of her poor eye, above.
Below, tubes and things. :-(

Tomorrow I hope to have time to get a couple decent pictures of Andolu and organize the other ones and maybe post them. I need to put something fun on here. They both keep rolling in the mud, so I might just post a mud bath photo series of the Dude!


Rats and Drat. Arggh.

The vet came and looked at Mira today and said that the pus in the anterior chamber of the eye cleared up, which is good, but her eyelid is still somewhat closed, meaning there is still pain. Not good. The ulcer is slightly raised and appears to him as if it has a fungal infection. Bad! If it were a melting ulcer I would just schedule an appointment to remove the eye right away. As it is, fungal infections are not fun to treat. A 3-week course of meds for that, at the cheapest compounded prices he can get, would be $500.00. That does not include vet visits. He said normally he prefers to see these cases 3 times a week, but due to my budget constraints and the fact that I am a very good nurse (quoting him) he could maybe just come every other week. The problem with fungal infections is they take a LONG course of treatment before there is any progress. It would be about 12 weeks, minimum. So, the cheapest it would get is about $2,500.00, which is over the amount I have set that I am willing to pay. A long time ago I figured out guidelines for what is and is not an appropriate amount to shell out based on my budget, and the fact that I don't want to get in a ton of debt. My new job will be several months before I am making that much money, just due to the inherent learning curve, and it is never wise to count on future income, anyway.

So, I am not sure what to do. Neither I nor the vet want to remove the eye yet. Removing the eye is about $500 and has very little aftercare, and almost no chance of complications, but it's not a fun idea. Right now I am trying to contact Gloria Garland, a Chinese herbalist, to see if there is any possibility of treating it with herbs. They would likely be cheaper, and I don't mind spending more weeks on her eye. I would prefer trying that before removing the eye, if possible. And since it would be cheaper, I wouldn't feel as bad as if I spent several thousand and then had to remove the eye anyway. We'll see what she says, anyway.

Anyway, tonight I'm really discouraged! It's so frustrating not being able to have any certainties, or even probabilities.


Monday, January 28, 2008

Mira's Eye Update: 6

Well, we had a lot of rain/snow over the weekend, but I got more sleep, even though I had to work both jobs on Saturday, so I am feeling better right now. And this afternoon it cleared up and was nice and sunny, which was a major help for getting things done.

And today it looked like Mira was using her eye more than she has been, and the lid looked exactly like the other eyelid, not swollen at all. She has been keeping both eyes semi-shut due to the windy weather, as has Anatolian, so I couldn't really tell how she was feeling. But it doesn't seem to be weeping much today either, so I'm hoping that means it is still recovering. The vet should come out to check again on Thursday, and I'm hoping & praying she'll be well out of the danger zone by then! Meanwhile, the horses continue to get fatter... Have you ever seen a fat Thoroughbred? I'm afraid Anatolian is getting there... Oh well. As soon as the weather clears up and I can ride then he'll slim down nicely.

In a previous post MiKael mentioned I should take photos of Mira eating from her unconventional lawn chair feeder, to show what a "spooky Arab" she is - tee hee. At the same time I think I should get some pictures of Andolu tossing the plastic garbage bag with hay back and forth, trying to get the hay out! I guess he doesn't need too much desensitizing with plastic bags. :-D

Have I mentioned what a big help my sis has been during Mira's illness? When it rains I wake her up to help me at night, and she does Mira's meds and feeding while I'm at work in the morning. I really appreciate it. And because she knows how much I need the help, she hasn't even complained. :-)


Friday, January 25, 2008

Mira's Eye Update: 5

Right now I'm not too happy with her eye. The vet had said to try taking her off the Banamine and see if she was still comfortable without pain meds, but today it had some pus coming out, and she was holding it a little more closed, so I'm going to have to give her a half dose and hope that makes her feel better. I will probably do a little Atropine ointment again, too. I have not been able to try to gently examine her eye yet and see if the possible pus is clearing up at all. I sure hope it is, though!

I don't think I mentioned it yet, but we got over 6 inches of snow, and during the night when I was feeding the horses I slipped and managed to strain a bunch of leg and stomach muscles. With that, sleep deprivation, and trying to learn my new job and get good as quickly as I can, I am pretty much exhausted and crabby. At least Mira's behaving better for her medications again. I just hope all this works and she finishes recovering fast!


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mira's Eye Update: 4

Well, the vet came and checked her on Wednesday. He says everything looks very good, except that he thinks there might be a little pus in the anterior chamber of the eye. That is not a good thing, and if it hasn't cleared up in a week then we'll have to switch to a much more agressive antibiotic, the one that costs about 5x as much. Yippee. I am really hoping and praying that whatever is in there will disappear by then! He did say though, that the cornea is not taking the stain any more, which means that it has closed up and is busy healing. And her eye is obviously MUCH more comfortable than it was.

I let the horses together again since it started raining and they both needed the shelter. I was kind of worried about Andolu chasing her, so I'm doing my best to keep a constant supply of hay around for them to chew on and stay busy. So far he hasn't been too much of a pill. She has, though! The rain switched to snow last night, and at the midnight meds/feeding time she decided she did not want to be caught and dosed. I guess she's tired of all the fuss. Anyway, she's been a brat every time, but I'm still making sure she gets her meds. Maybe she just doesn't like snow. Right now I don't like it, either! Not the most fun thing to deal with in the middle of the night. And it's snowing again, on top of the 6+ inches we already got. Oh well.

They both like the 6x a day feeding schedule, though, which is twice as many times as usual... I am giving them both the beet pulp/Equine Sr. mix, soaked in hot water, every time I go out. I still crack up at how much horses LOVE hot food. :-D I am trying to be careful not to overfeed them, but with all the hay they're eating to keep busy, both of them have gotten noticeably rounder in the last week. I guess at least that way they stay warmer when they do dumb things like stand out in the rain!

MiKael, I will try to get a picture of her eating off the chair soon. I have several pictures of her eye, as well as pictures of Andolu, that I will get organized as soon as I have the time. They are both mudballs, of course, but at least it'll be new photos!


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Mira's Eye Update: 3

Things are still moving along well. I think I'm getting used to the midnights too, 'cause I hardly yawned at all today. ;-) Her eyelid looks almost normal now, hardly any swelling at all. I'm going to see if the vet can come over tomorrow and do a quick progress check. Tomorrow is one week from when she injured herself. I think he'll be very happy with the progress. Of course, being me, I still worry that something will happen and there'll be another crisis, but I am trying not to be pessimistic!

Other than that, not too much going on today. Just work... Well, I'm off to try to catch up on everyone's blogs now!


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Mira's Eye Update: 2

The swelling is down a LOT more; if you didn't know something was wrong, you probably wouldn't notice the swelling. She is drinking more out of the bucket now, too, which is a relief. My sis and I took the horses on a little walk this afternoon, and Mira was doing her best to run circles around my sister, which made me quite happy. Small blessings....

Anatolian was also frisky, as it was a bit windy. He's so cute, and he has gotten a lot more TB-ish in the last month or so, which may seem like a crazy thing to be happy about. But he seemed too calm for a 6-year-old when I got him. He just seemed a bit too subdued. Now, while he's still a good boy, he will do mini spooks every now and then, and he loves to run bucking around the pasture at full blast. :-D Yesterday I mentioned a fun thing about him. When the vet came the first time, right away he commented that he really likes the looks af Andolu, and then during the surgery he said what a nice looking horse he is several more times. So, I told him a bit about Andolu's pedigree and history, and found out that most of the vet's horses are Arabs, and his favorite horse ever was a TB. It was a fun chat in the middle of a somewhat tense day. I just hope Anatolian doesn't get too full of himself with all the compliments!

Well, ciao until next time.


Saturday, January 19, 2008

Mira's Eye Update: 1

So far, so good. :-) Overall things have been going pretty smoothly. At first I was a little worried because she didn't seem to have much of an appettite on Friday morning. But then I realized that she actually knows quite well that she has "attachments" hooked up to her right now, and it must feel funny to bend her neck down with an IV port in her jugular. So immediately we put her water bucket up on a large, overturned tub, and I am feeding her her meals in a plastic lawn chair. It looks kind of funny, but it worked - she started finishing all her meals!

She seems more comfortable today, because pretty quickly after I feed her, she keeps sliding the bucket off onto the ground and eating there. I wish she would drink more, but she seems to be staying hydrated so far. Plus, I am making her "Senior Soup" as liquid as possible.

I did have trouble overnight with the eye tube. The stopper kept coming out, and so I taped it on. Then it started leaking when I syringed the medicine in, which meant not enough was getting to her eye. It was very frustrating, but after quite a bit of fiddling I got it working right again.

She is in the small pen for now, partly to make it easy to catch her at midnight, and partly so there are no obstacles to negotiate. The really encouraging thing was that yesterday evening, when it got all dim outside, she had her eye partially open and you could tell she was (sort of) looking through it. And today she is moving her head and ears normally, i.e., when I go over she perks her ears and looks straight at me, rather than just with her left eye.

Just now I brushed both the horses, and it was nice to have a chance to play with Andolu for a few minutes. The poor guy has been a good boy through all this, but I don't want to neglect him. Oh, and tomorrow I have a fun little anecdote about him that I'll try to post...

Anyway, so far Mira is looking good, and as for me, I am SO glad it's the weekend right now! I really, really need the extra sleep :-D


Thursday, January 17, 2008

Mira's Operation

Phew, I am totally exhausted. What a day! We trailered Mira over to the vet's at about 2:00 this afternoon, where he has a nice flat grassy arena, and he shaved a piece of her neck, injected lidocaine, and inserted a catheter in her jugular vein. This will stay in there until she no longer needs intravenous medications.

Then, he gave her a tranquilizer, and Mira started getting really woozy. She kept leaning her neck against me, so I put my arm under her jaw to help stabilize her head. He put a big head "bumper" on to protect her head when she was down, and after a couple more minutes, he gave her the IV anesthetic. This anesthetic is interesting, because the animal can still sense noise and touching, and will wake up if there is too much noise or stimulation. Otherwise, it is very effective.

It was about 60 seconds before she went down, and she just kind of sat down and rolled over. Once she was out, we put ropes around her legs and rolled her over the other way, which was amazingly easy - I've never had to do that before, but it was not hard at all. The vet didn't need me then, and I was feeling pretty upset at the moment and didn't particularly want to watch, so I went and sat at the edge of the corral and looked at a book I brought along, and prayed. I felt like crying from sheer nerves, but after reading some of the book (I don't remember much of it, now, though) and praying I felt a lot calmer. The entire operation was maybe 15 minutes at the very most.

He debrided the dead flap of the cornea, and installed a second tube going through (yuck) the upper eyelid. The tube ends at her withers, and I'll use it to flush her eye 6 times a day. Tonight I am making a chart to use for all the different meds...

After another 10 or 15 minutes Mira started to wake up, and she got her front legs under her. Then she stretched her neck out and tried to prop it on the ground to keep her head up, but her lower lip kept sliding and she kept having to adjust her position. I told her she was a goofball.

Once she was up, it was only a matter of standing/walking around with her for the next hour and a half, until she was really steady on her legs, and the vet had finished getting all her supplies together. One good sign was that as soon as we took the head bumper off, she started gobbling the grass.

Then we came home, and she and Anatolian were REALLY glad to see each other again! I guess he ran around whinnying for a long time after we left... They are still in separate corrals, though, because I can't chance him chasing her or bugging her at all.

Now I'm looking at about 2 weeks minimum of flushing and meds every 4 hours. I am not really looking forward to the midnights, but oh well. The vet said he was really pleased with how smoothly everything went, and now it depends on the nursing care - and if we can keep her from rubbing that eye! So, I am going to be praying a LOT that I can keep her from rubbing it at all. I am thankful for my vet, who used to be a farrier and horse trainer before he went to vet school, and is extremely knowledgeable. I am also thankful that he prayed for Mira too. I am especially thankful that my bill for the operation and all the various syringes and meds and things was under $600.00. I know he must have really given me a discount, just looking at all the paraphernalia, so I'll have to give him some banana bread or something as an extra thank-you when this is over. Any other suggestions for gifts for vets?

Thanks for reading this book (:-D) that this turned into, and I hope you are all having a good day. I'm gonna go get supper and go to bed ASAP...


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Not good at all

Argh. This is so not funny. I got home from work today and casually noticed Mira was walking around like she was really sleepy. A bit later I went out to feed, and discovered her right eye was all swollen and purulent! At first I thought, "What? Pinkeye, at this time of year?" And then I realized that no, the other eye really didn't seem messed up, and she was holding her right ear back stiffly like she was in pain. She kept her right eye half closed most of the time, and there was a LOT of pus coming out.

I called the vet, and as soon as he heard her eye was partly open, he said "That's an emergency," and arrived about 45 minutes later. I was hoping maybe she "just" scratched her cornea or something, but no, she managed to get a nice, 10 mm long tear in the cornea! She has to have surgery tomorrow. He said she'll need to be under general anesthesia, and they'll either snip the flap off, or stitch it. Then they'll attach a cannula near the eye so I can flush it with medicine for several days, but after that she should be fine. I asked about chances of complications, and if it would be safer to remove the eye, and he said no, horses have thick corneas that usually heal very well after surgeries like this. Not including the fee for today, the operation will cost somewhere around $300-$600, which is not horrible, but not what I enjoy handing out, either. I'm just glad it's not a couple thousand, or else I would have to seriously wrestle with the horrible decision that I hate ever thinking about. Fortunately, the outlook is good.

Right now I have the horses in separate pens, and Mira seems pretty cheerful with all the pain medicine in her. Now that I'm calmer I have to go make some calls. Prayers and good wishes are much appreciated.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I'm very tired...

I started my new job last week, and so life has been totally hectic. I graduated right before Christmas and found an afternoon job doing medical transcription, which has been a goal of mine for what seems like a LONG time, and so I have been working my first job, (before dawn to around noon) and then coming back and doing my typing in the afternoon. The account has a lot of different specs, so it is a LOT to remember, which makes me very glad that I can only do a certain number each day until the first part of training is done. Phew! Eventually I'll be doing this full time.

I have had quite a bit of stress starting this new job, because I want to learn really quickly, and not give my trainer more work than necessary. I also kept wondering, "What if it turns out I HATE transcription? What would I do then?!?" Thus, it was a nice surprise to find that, even though they started me on a doctor who is a very hard guy to hear, and gave me all sorts of warnings about how awful he is, I actually am enjoying the process! He has not been really horrible yet, and I'm very happy because if he is the worst than I know I'll really like listening to the others! :-)

One thing that I am very grateful for about this job, is that they have a stellar reputation for how they train and treat the workers. In the MT world, it is pretty hard to find companies that are good to their employees, so I am glad to have gotten this job.

However, my brain is dead...

Oh well. The horses are doing fine, but I haven't had too much time to play with them lately. Tomorrow I hope to have enough time to take them both for a walk and groom them more thoroughly. I want to get more pictures of them!

I hope everyone else's week is going smoothly!


Monday, January 7, 2008

Anatolian's Pedigree!

Anatolian's leg seems to be healing quickly, still with no swelling or anything. So far so good!

On another topic, before Christmas I pulled his Jockey Club 5 generation pedigree and race report - they were doing a special where you could get those free, and I jumped on it! The previous owners had told me they thought he was bred in CA, at Harris Farms - not! He was bred in Kentucky, and has MUCH better breeding than I expected

Here is his sire:

His dam is a mare named Rosebrook. He is heavily line-bred Nasrullah, with quite a bit of Native Dancer & Mr. Prospector blood as well. Rahy's stud fee is $60,000 (which is still less than Dynaformer, the sire of Barbaro, who stands at the same place) so I'm guessing Andolu was at least a $100,000 yearling or so. Tee hee. That's the racing industry - buy high, sell low! Quickest way to make a small fortune in the horse industry... at least, if you start with a large one!

I love having access to his records, and finding out that when he was sold as a yearling, he went to England. He was started in racing there, and didn't do much, so he came back to the US, and didn't do much, so eventually was sold on until I got him. He never came in first (bunch of 2nd and third places) and only won about $12,000 total, which is about what I was guessing as far as his performance on the track. I WAS surprised he'd been to England, though!

Anyway, it was fun finding out some of his background, and his birthdate, (3/24/02) and discovering I have a "blueblood" in my backyard. (I figured he had decent bloodlines, but the "Big Names" were closer and more numerous than I expected.) :-D


Sunday, January 6, 2008

My *not* favorite thing to see in the morning.

We have had LOTS of rain, which is very good (our pond is completely filled up! In 2 days!!!) and LOTS of wind since Friday. Puddles everywhere, but we need it, and the electricity stayed on, so I just enjoyed getting to stay inside and listen to the rain. :-)

However, this morning I went out to feed and discovered that Andolu managed to injure his left hind leg! Aargh! I am realizing he is quite accident prone - this is the third accident type thing he has done in 2 months. Not sure how he does it! He scraped himself on the inside of the leg, a couple inches above the bulge of the fetlock, and ON the bone, NOT on the tendon area. Phew! It had bled and then dried. It was a very small scrape, and due to the position I don't think he did it on a rock - it must have been interference from his other hoof, 'cause there isn't anything else I can see that he could have scraped it with.

Of course, I pulled him out of the pasture and took him over to the gravel area where I do baths, etc. with them, and washed his legs, all 4 of them, with warm water. He didn't mind my messing around at all, as he had his head in a bucket of hay pellets the whole time. :-)

After cleaning the wound, I examined it VERY carefully for any signs of needing to call the vet. He was not very tender, no heat, no swelling, puts all his weight on it, etc. etc., so for now I am holding off on the vet. If anything changes I'll call. Fortunately, it continued to improve all afternoon, and hasn't developed any heat so far, so I think it is just a simple scratch. He's moving around like he normally does in the pasture, so I'm hoping for the best! I put a thick layer of antibiotic ointment on it, mostly to protect it from all the mud. That was what my day was like. :-D Hope your Sunday was better!


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

One year Anniversary, and Happy New Year!

Wow, it has now been exactly one year since I started this blog! It has averaged almost 10 posts a month, which is much better than I ever expected to be able to do. It has been very enjoyable so far, and I really like getting to talk to fellow bloggers and other horse lovers.

This post is just to celebrate the anniversary, and give each of you my best wishes for this coming year!