Tuesday, July 29, 2008

2 Whole Years!

Wow, it has already been two years exactly since I bought Mira! I can hardly believe it has both been such a long time and been such a short time! She has definitely been a blessing to me (and to my family) with her truly sweet nature. The way she loves being around people and loves new things always makes my day brighter. It's hard to say enough good things about her personality and how much fun she is, even though she is retired now. I am giving her extra peaches today, and a good long grooming. I won't have time to post more pictures until later tonight or tomorrow morning, but I am trying to spoil her today. :-D

The photo above is me unloading her the day we brought her home. Yes, I did sort of break my picture rule, for once...


Friday, July 25, 2008

Laminitis Update: 6

Tomorrow I am going to try and catch some pictures of Andolu playing with his things. For now, though, just a quick post. He is still doing great, and squeals at me whenever I am too late with another meal. I like to try to keep grass hay in front of him to chew on, but he does run out sometimes. He has always had the cutest way of squealing when he's excited about something. He nickers too, but he likes to squeal, and buck if allowed. So cute! You can see his ribs now, but he is not too skinny. Let's just hope I can keep him from losing too much!

I think I mentioned before about how he likes to make flehmen faces. My brother #3 likes to visit the horses and rub Andolu's nose and then tell him what a good boy he is for displaying the flehmen face. It's just a funny trick. Laughter really motivates Andolu, and he likes showing off, so he mostly learned it on his own. One of these days I should solidify it with a better cue... Anyway, all that to say he has an active little brain.

He likes to tip over his water buckets, and then bang them on the ground to call us out to refill them - that is when he is out of other things to do. Sometimes he gets thirsty before we come out, and then he will nuzzle around the hose as I am filling the buckets, waiting until he can put his head in and drink. I've been laughing and encouraging him when he does that, and sure enough, today he started biting at the stream of water! One of these days I am going to have a horse that knows how to drink from a hose. :-D (Now, If I can just get a rideable one...)

I am still waiting for the hay to come. It'll probably be Monday now. Ciao until tomorrow.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Laminits Update: 5

The farrier did come yesterday and put aluminum plates on Andolu's front feet. I was talking to one of my friends and she said, "I know how frustrating it can be to have to do something for my kids that I never planned on doing that way, but things change and we have to do whatever is best for them at the time." I was like, yeah, I know, I know. I am still conflicted over the shoes, but the vet wanted him to have support to prevent further tearing of the lamina these next few weeks, and hoof boots 24/7 would have issues like rubbing and retaining heat, stuff like that. The main reason I did go ahead and get the shoes, though, is because now that my really good trimmer doesn't want to travel all the way up here anymore, I have not been able to find another committed and experienced trimmer, and this farrier is committed and experienced with laminitis care. They are Natural Balance shoes, too, which means they have good breakover design. Anatolian was almost sound before the shoes, but still obviously tender on asphalt. After the shoes he was moving better on the asphalt and still walking slightly heel first, which is ideal. He didn't seem to care at all about having shoes on, either, so that was good. Once he can have controlled exercise I will still put boots over his feet for shock absorption. Hopefully he can go back to barefoot soon, as I do believe that proper barefoot is much better overall than proper shoeing. But, we'll see!

Mira got trimmed too. She didn't need much of a trim, but now her feet look absolutely perfect. It really is cool what fabulous feet she has! (Sorry, couldn't help the brag)

I finally, after 2 months of looking, connected with someone who is putting loads of hay together for delivery to our area, and I am going to buy a squeeze of mostly grass hay. (A squeeze is 84 bales) I can hardly wait - it will be SO nice to have the next year's supply of hay on the property! Phew...


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Laminitis Update: 4

The Racehorse Dude is MUCH better. It is amazing how quickly he recovered from that abscess. He is now pacing again when waiting for his food, and he moves with just barely noticeable tenderness rather than obvious ouchies. I, on the other hand, need some rest. I feel like this year started out with me being hit by a truck and has continued with a truck running over me at regular 10 day or so intervals. One of these days I would like to have a routine I can count on! Oh well.

Mira is looking pretty good, and Andolu has actually started losing weight, which is good. Oh, and when the vet was here last week I was somewhat surprised that Mira didn't turn tail and run when she saw him after all the shots, etc., last January! She was friendly but looked a little suspiciously at him when he was petting her. The scar on her eye hasn't changed much lately, and I don't know if it will ever decrease its size more, but at least she is comfortable and can see out of it!

I probably won't update again until after Andolu's appointment on Friday. I am glad the weather is better this week - when he first had the flareup we had three or four days of 115+ temps, which was not very good weather for being sick in!


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Laminits Update: 3

Anatolian popped the abscess this morning - yay! I still did the hot packs/hot soaks four times today, and the swelling is pretty much completely gone from his leg, and he is MUCH more comfortable! The top picture is a photo of the drainage point. Gross, I know, but I'm so relieved to have that come to a head!

The middle picture is of the Dude this afternoon, and the bottom one is Mira keeping tabs on the medical procedures.

Well, over and out for now. I'm too tired to be coherent...


Saturday, July 12, 2008

I TRIED to take pictures...

... but the batteries were dead. I put them in the charger earlier today but unfortunately someone removed them too soon. So I will try again tomorrow!

The swelling has gone down by about 40% to 50% so far with hot packs/hot soaking, but that leg is still pretty sore. Hopefully he pops the abscess soon. You know, I wish he was prone to abscesses rather than laminitis, I really do. They are painful but not nearly as serious!

Meanwhile, he is not really losing weight yet. It is rather odd to me, since the last time he was on grass hay only, when I ran out of alfalfa on a weekend, he got ribby in just those few days. That is one reason I've been feeding him alfalfa, because I didn't think he could hold weight on grass alone. We'll see! I have about six bales of alfalfa sitting around - they'll probably last Mira until Christmas. :-) She is feeling rather neglected. She is used to being the one with issues/illnesses and being pampered, and I'm sure she misses her walks, too. When things settle down a bit I'll have Sis take Mira down the road while I stay with Andolu and keep him quiet.

Today I was sitting behind Andolu while I kept his foot in the bucket, (behind meaning towards the outer fence, away from Mira) and she kept running around and whinnying at us. I guess maybe she was afraid he was stepping on me, or something? She knows he's not the kindest boy there is and can be a bit of a bully. Anyway, she didn't settle down until she could see me clearly again. They both are such cute little horses. I really love their personalities and how different they are!

Tomorrow I will make some toys for the Dude and see what I can do to occupy his mischevious little mind.


Laminitis Update: 2

This morning Andolu turned up with swelling in that right front leg. The vet said he most likely has an abscess, which apparently is very common after laminitis. SO, no more cold soaking - now we're going to be do doing hot epsom salt baths to draw the abscess out of his hoof. And I guess I'll microwave the ice packs and use them for hot packs for his legs, too. Pictures later on today...


Friday, July 11, 2008

Laminits Update: 1

Do I have to do an update series? I really hate having a reason to do another injury/illness series...

Andolu is still not out of the acute phase yet. I've been icing him 3 times a day, bute, etc., but I can still feel the digital pulse. He has also started holding the right front bent a lot of the time. He often used to do that for a little bit when eating - it looked like he would start to take a step, and then pause and stay where he was for a bit, finishing what he was eating. He would do it with both sides, and I could never tell for sure if he was sore or just a goofball. But he is definitely extra sore on the right front and is holding it up a lot - that just started yesterday. He still has not done the classic laminitis stance, though. The left front is much more comfortable already, but obviously is taking too much strain right now.

I'm going through phases of freaking out and being too tired to worry much. Right now I'm kind of in the "keep going and we'll see what he's like in a week" mood. At least he figured out the new rules and has realized he is IN THE PEN ONLY for now and will not be getting out and will not be getting any "nice" food at all. He has mostly behaved better today and not tried to buck and rear while I feed Mira. He is still going through a crash course reminder of just how stubborn I am and how he cannot remove his foot from the ice until I say so. He doesn't like ice, but oh well! I'll get a couple pictures tomorrow of him. I feel so sorry for the boy, I really hope he isn't inflamed at all any more tomorrow.

Thanks for everyones' well wishes.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Better News

One exhausting part about horses and illnesses is how your emotions can swing so wildly. I just talked to the vet, and he said Anatolian's x-rays show only a 2 or 3 degree rotation. He said he has had low-grade laminitis for a long time now, probably since before I got him; I agree with that now that I've thought back to ever since I met him and little things I've noticed about him. (I would also bet quite a bit that that was why he was such a dramatic flop at racing - Racehorses can be prone to laminitis due to all the grain they are pumped full of starting when they are babies, and if he consistently had a little bit of inflammation in his feet, then no wonder he didn't try very hard).

Anyway, I told the vet honestly that I am not capable of dealing with a horse for the next 20 years who has to be fed a very strict diet and has to be watched every day to try to prevent flareups, and who would still inevitably have flareups occasionally, causing his feet (and my wallet) intense pain. I also said that, while I had been resigned to him possibly having bony injuries from the track to keep him from being ridden much, if he was a permanent cripple/on the edge of lameness, that that would not be fair to him at all. The vet listened to me, and said that in this case, if it were his horse, he would definitely try the bute for a few weeks, icing, and simple egg bar shoes. We discussed shoeing/barefoot options this morning, and even though I am a strong believer in barefoot for soundness and recovery from laminitis, it does require a good and experienced trimmer to help. Since the guy I was using has been so reluctant to come up to this area any more, there really isn't anyone like that around here. So, we will try the shoes once. The vet works with this farrier all the time and says he's had a lot of good results. So, we'll see!

Anatolian has a reprieve of a few weeks. Very little movement for him (fun, fun) and lots of icing and bute. Grass hay only, with applesauce and bute to relieve the boredom. I am really hoping this works!

Andolu is usually a good boy about medical stuff/cleaning stuff, and he is good about the bute. But it has been a bit interesting doing the icing so far. I'm not doing his legs now, but his feet. I do have a wide rubber pan to put the ice and water in, so it is easier to get his feet in. Then I sit on the stool next to him and try to read. I keep the end of the lead rope looped around his leg, and that way he can't take his foot out of the pan. He is supposed to eat while he soaks, but it seems to be making him grumpy, so he has been making persistent efforts to bite me or eat my book. Argh! Despite this, the only times I've been able to relax today have been out there with him...

Anyway, I am amazingly ecstatic that it was such a "little" bit of rotation. The vet says he does not expect this to escalate into Mira-style bills and that we will re-evaluate immediately if he does not respond the way he should. So for now, I am to pray a lot and try to keep him sane! Does anyone have any good ways to make toys?


Bad news

I am in shock. Andolu has laminitis, in both front legs, and the vet thinks it is pretty bad. He also says he does not like beet pulp for horses at all, and never recommends it. He considers it really bad for laminitic horses especially. I know I told him that they get beet pulp mixed with senior feed before, when we were treating Mira's eye, and he never said anything about it then. I guess he was thinking about her eye at the time and didn't remember to warn me or something. I've seen so many articles recommending it as a good feed that I thought their diet was pretty much safe from laminitis with that and the grass/alfalfa mix. He gets three flakes of alfalfa a day, shared with Mira, and I didn't think that would be too much. I asked the vet a lot of questions. He said yes, Andolu is too chubby (which I have been trying to bring down without it being too sudden) but not that fat, and he said there really aren't any obvious things he sees that caused it. Just "luck of the draw."

He'll develop the x-rays later and we'll see how bad it is. I'm pretty sure it is bad, though. It's weird, 'cause I kept trying to feel for heat, and never could really tell. I checked in the wrong spot for the digital pulse, because as soon as he showed me to move my fingers, I could feel it pounding. Not good. He hadn't reacted to my prodding, but he did react to "real" hoof testers. In the pasture, he was standing pretty square, and, if anything, under himself rather than in the "laminitis stance." On the gravel it was pretty obvious how sore he was, though. I'm glad I iced him, but I wish I'd done it sooner and more. For now he is in the round pen, is not to move much, and is on anti-inflammatories. I need to get a bucket to ice his feet in.

For now, things don't look good, though. Laminitis is such a chronic illness, and it can be so hard to keep them comfortable much less usable, that unless the x-rays show very little damage at all, the prognosis is not good.

Please pray for me - I really need it today. Now I have to get some work done.


Monday, July 7, 2008

Monday and the Racehorse Dude's progress

Andolu is actually a bit better this afternoon. He is moving around voluntarily quite a bit more than he was, and starting to think about depriving Mira of her fair share of food again. The last few days I could feed her 20 feet away from him and she would eat her whole bucket in peace; that is how bad he was. Hopefully I'll have to start feeding her in the pen again soon.

The vet will get here Wednesday morning, and I want to get x-rays. I was going to have some done in September anyway, but we might as well do it now. I want to know the exact state of his bones - I don't like guessing!

I have to say, Anatolian is a really great patient. He is good about bathing and fussing in general, and he really seems to like having me go out there every 20 minutes to change an ice boot to a different leg. He did seem better after icing, and he likes being cooed over, too.

By the way, I though exercising horses was supposed to tire them out so they didn't think up so much mischief to do, but I think it woke his brain up! Before all this happened, I was going to post about the various things he's figured out in the last month. For one, I have often left the hose partly in their pen so that I don't have to move it each time I fill their water buckets. However, somehow in this hot weather, the little pill managed to figure out that if he stepped on the end enough times, that the hose would turn on and spray a mist up into the air. Then he and Mira would stand right next to it, not in the spray, and watch it like it was TV while they enjoyed the slight cool breeze. When I wised up and figured out that all those incidents were NOT accidental, he then started reaching under the electric fence to grab it and bring it inside. So, it had to be even farther away to keep him from getting it. There are various other little things, too. And he is getting better and better at deciphering directions given by voice and by pointing. :-)

Now that I am really clicking with him, I sure hope he gets all better soon!


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Photos and an update

Well, Andolu is still not any better. He actually seems to be generally sore to me, so I guess I'll have to ask for ultrasounds or x-rays. There is still absolutely nothing I can point to. He could have started to roll and done something to himself then, but that's kind of a wild guess. I am feeling guilty about the fact that we live in such a hilly area. They do have a sloping pasture, with several wide flat areas, but Mira doesn't seem to mind it. Neither do the other horses that live around here in the same terrain. I keep wondering if going up and down our steep road did something to him... Sometimes it seems to aggravate Mira's hip arthritis. Below is the section of road right above their pasture. A few hundred feet after that it levels out and turns into dirt road with various hard, weedy places you can explore off the road. That is pretty typical for our area. This is a place with a LOT of horses, too, but maybe it is hard on them? I don't know what to think.

My main worry in this whole thing is that he might have just been truly wrecked by the racing. I knew it was quite possible that he would not be sound for riding when I got him, and I took the risk that he would have to be a pasture pet. But it is a different matter altogether for him to not even be able to tolerate exercise being led - that sort of unsoundness is not a good thing at all. We'll see how this turns out over the next few days.


Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Racehorse Dude is limping...

And I have no idea why. He has not been exercised for three days, but yesterday he started acting sore on his front legs. It is the left more than the right, but it is definitely both. He stands square, which is good, but occasionally he will point one of the front legs for a few seconds. He is reluctant to move, but is still a pig as far as feeding time. I have not been able to get any tenderness/reaction on the bottom of his feet, which means it isn't something "simple" like a stone bruise or an abscess. Definitely nothing going on with the tendons, and even though I keep imagining his fronts are warmer than his back legs, I can't really convince myself they are. I have been hosing his legs, and I'll use the ice boots tomorrow too, but this is really a mystery. He has a couple bug bites, as usual, but nothing that could possibly be causing the soreness. He has had something like this once before, on his right front. That was months ago after he somehow managed to bend one of the metal pipes in the fence and understandably was sore afterward for a few days. There is nothing bent this time and no signs of a struggle.

The best I can describe it is he looks like I do when I'm "bone sore" if you know what I mean. Like having the flu; all your joints ache, you have a headache, and you really do not want to jar anything so you walk very carefully. I'm afraid it could be his knees. I have mentioned before that I think they are a bit back at the knees, which makes them weaker, and having been a racehorse does predispose him to problems there. It is really upsetting though, because I haven't even started riding him yet - so did just taking him on one mile walks cause this? ( I borrowed some hoof boots from the tack shop for his back feet, and have been waiting until my order comes in to start riding him.) I sure hope this wasn't by caused by light leading exercise! Anyway, if he's not much better soon then we'll see what the vet says. Humph. I like my vet, but only in social situations...

Oh well, here's hoping tomorrow he feels a lot better and is chasing Mira around again like normal. I did take some pictures today - here is one. Tomorrow I'll put the rest up.