velessa: (Horses - Waldo & me2)
The last time I posted it was only to my horse-people filter, so if you didn't see it, that post is here. Basically about six weeks ago my horse Waldo had to have emergency life-saving surgery. He was so unbelievably sick that everyone was amazed that he survived it at all. And not only did he survive, he bounced back incredibly well and has been on a steady road to recovery ever since.

Until two nights ago when he suddenly went off his feed and spiked a small fever. We thought perhaps he was just tired of eating pellets (he was put on an all-pellet diet after surgery), because he would still eat all the grass he could find, and he would eat as much hay as you would give him. We were keeping him off of hay, but at that point we wanted him to eat whatever he would eat. His temp kept fluctuating between in the normal range and slightly out of it. I spent the day letting him eat anything he would, but I decided to take him back to the hospital when his temp stayed up (101.6), and he stopped pooping and drinking or eating altogether and was looking too dull.

I had already taken him back to the hospital one week before this for a recheck, and everything had looked great. We were getting ready to take him off antibiotics altogether. One week later, his bloodwork was so abnormal the vet would have sworn this was something that had been going on for a long time if she hadn't just done the same bloodwork on him a week ago.

Bottom line: his liver is failing. :( The super acute onset points to something called Theiler's disease/serum sickness as the cause, an incredibly rare condition which can occur 4-10 weeks after the horse receives a horse-derived product, in his case the plasma he was given when he had surgery.

Horses with this disease either recover or fail within a few days. If they can keep him stable (and get him eating) for the next 3-5 days, his liver might have a chance to recover; we don't know how much damage has already been done to it. Last night the vet was pretty sure we'd have to put him down that night with the way he looked, but he managed to stabilize overnight. I went down to see him last night and all day today; he looks terrible, but apparently a little better than he did before I got there. I don't know. Everything that's possible to do to support him and his liver through this is being done, but we just have to wait and see if he responds. :( The vet has advised continued treatment as long as it looks like he still has a fighting chance, and for now he does, so that's what we're doing.

It's so unfair that he's already been through the wringer once, did fantastic against all odds, and now has to go through it again. I'm hoping for a second miracle. He's just the best horse ever and losing him would be absolutely devastating to me. ;_;

He is insured, but we used up all the insurance money getting him through colic surgery and the aftercare for that. This new bout of hospitalization and treatment will be out of pocket, and we're looking at something like $3,000-5,000 if he can make it through. My wonderful friend Kim has set up a fundraising site to help with his treatment costs. So please, if there's anything at all you might consider contributing to his care, Waldo and I both would be so very grateful: Waldo's Emergency Care Fund. Please feel free to share far and wide.

Thank you and keep your fingers, toes, everything crossed for him!!

ARGH

Feb. 19th, 2013 08:45 pm
velessa: (Headdesk)
Well no wonder Waldo isn't completely back to normal...turns out his abscess is STILL draining! My trimmer came today to do Waldo's feet, and he found that stuff is still coming out of the crack. He said I could try more epsom salt soaks and walking him around to help it work its way out. I guess he doesn't move around enough in the pasture to accomplish it?

It can't be that BAD since he walks on the foot almost totally fine, but he's probably landing toe-first since it's coming out the heel bulb. I don't think this is a new abscess since he never got lamer again; he's just not getting completely better. I left a message for my vet to ask if there's anything else I can try or should be doing. I bought one of those little hand held infrared thermometers (like this) to accurately measure the temperatures in his feet since I can't tell well enough by hand. Today both front feet read the same temp from the front of the hoof, but when I pointed it at the heels, there was about a ten degree difference, with the right (abscessed) one being warmer. I think this will give me a better idea as to whether or not anything is still lurking in there. I think he's going to be one of those multiple-month recoveries. SIGH.

Hoof pics (haha, get it? I didn't even do that on purpose!) )
velessa: (Horses - Waldo 1)
I haven't really mentioned much of anything about this, but Waldo has had some white line separation in all of his hooves for a long time, I believe since before I got him (hard to tell from the crappy pre-purchase pics I took). Up until recently, my trimmer and I haven't really done anything to remedy it as it doesn't appear to bother him or cause him any pain or lameness. The only issue I've seen is when he occasionally picks up a pebble in one of the gaps, then he immediately starts limping until I pull it out. But since the gaps are always packed with dirt and crap, and that can lead to infection (white line disease), it's really not good to just let it stay there.

We'd been hoping the issue would eventually resolve itself, but it's still just as bad or worse after nearly a year. Separation is caused by environment (too wet -> mushy feet) and diet (food too rich -> laminitis). His feed has been analyzed by an equine nutritionist, so that shouldn't be the problem. I thought for a long time it was just a matter of him adjusting from wet Oregon to drier California. Every time it was dry for a while we'd get another big rainstorm, which I thought was messing up that adjustment. But it's been completely dry for at least three months, I think the separation ought to be gone or at least diminished by now, and it isn't. My trimmer is stumped as to what else the problem could be, other than that he's just a big horse with feet that are a bit small for his size.

So for the last few weeks we've taken a more proactive approach to getting rid of the separation. Since the laminae can't reattach itself, the only thing you can do is cut the hoof back and get rid of as much of the separation as possible, keep the gap as clean as possible, and let the laminae grow down from the top. So first he had an aggressive trim (7/16), then another one a week later (7/25), then another one two weeks later (8/8). He'll get another one in another two weeks probably; his feet grow really fast!

I have to keep an eye on him for soreness, and I have to keep the gaps cleaned out as much as possible. I've also started scrubbing an antibacterial/antifungal mixture into them to try to stave off any possible infection. The trimmer thought I might want to keep him in a stall with mats for a day or two after the first trim, but thus far he's seemed fine out in the pasture. He gets his hoof boots on for anything else, though. The ground around the ranch is really hard and rocky, so he needs them on just to walk around; I'm definitely getting my money's worth out of them now. He's very comfortable in them and steps out nicely as long as he's wearing them. About a week ago I did try taking them off to ride in the outdoor arena, but as soon as I did, he was clearly mincy and ouchy with every step, so I put them back on and he went back to normal. That arena is full of dirt clods and rocks, so I wasn't really surprised. I haven't tried taking them off to ride in the soft indoor sand arena; no rocks there, it was cleared of them when it got the new footing a few months ago.

We've been at this for four weeks now, and while it's a bit disconcerting that the separation is still there, it is definitely improving. Likely it's something we'll always have to keep on top of, but I hope we'll be able to get it grown out altogether.

Progress Photos )

Bo rehomed

Nov. 15th, 2010 10:04 pm
velessa: (Horses - Bo1)
Bo arrived safely at his new home in Arizona this afternoon. As I expected, he did great on the trip, took it with ease and was no trouble at all, and then settled right in to dinner with his new horse and donkey friends. I'm sure he'll be very happy with Linda, the lady who adopted him. =)

From her Facebook album )

Bo's eyes

Oct. 29th, 2010 03:06 pm
velessa: (Horses - Bo smelling poppies)
I'm posting this as a photographic record of just how far from normal the corpora nigra in Bo's eyes are. I had seen these things in horses' eyes before, of course, but I never really noticed or thought about how big his were until the vet pointed it out and I started really taking a look at those of other horses. Here I want to show you a comparison with Glory, one of the Paints I looked at last weekend; she also has a blue eye. After seeing these it definitely makes sense that much of his vision is being blocked out and he probably just kind of sees fuzzy stuff.

Photos here )
velessa: (Horses - Bo funny)
...grinding dirt into his white coat. Yay. Is it any wonder I keep him covered most of the time?



More fun in the dirt )

I rode Bo a little in the round pen again tonight, still in the western saddle and giving him sugar cubes during and just after mounting and stepping out. No problems there. Prior to that, I took him into the indoor arena to the scary mounting corner and fed him some grain there. While he was eating I stood next to him on the mounting block, leaned over him, and swung my leg over his back a little bit (still stood on the block with the other one). He only vaguely tried to move away from the block at the beginning and only looked a bit concerned when he had run out of food. =p We'll keep working on it...
velessa: (Horses - Bo smelling poppies)
Had a good ride tonight on Bo. He was feeling good today and went for a good gallop in the round pen, something he hasn't done in a while. It's been almost a week since I started loading him with the glucosamine and MSM supplements I got at the expo, so I wonder if that's helping him at all yet. We went for a brief ride in the arena and he not only picked up the right lead nicely, it actually felt pretty good to ride! Did the same for the left and then quit for the night.

Then when I fed him his dinner I hung around in the stall with him and had a veritable zoo come to try and steal grain from his dish. First there was the squirrel with the chipped ear and half her tail fuzz missing who lives under my tack box. She's really bold and comes out whenever she hears me pouring the grain and dives in whatever chance she gets, both in the aisleway by my box and in the stall. I see her and another squirrel come to eat with him all the time.

Tonight I took his dish and put it down in the stall and sat down along the wall and just watched him eat. Apparently once the sun goes down, the rats start to get braver, because instead of the squirrels I counted six or seven rats darting around the door of the stall, trying to get up the courage to come in and snatch some food with me in there. Only one or two were brave enough to come close enough to grab a nibble that Bo dropped. They were so cute, I didn't want to scare them off! lol I'm such a softie; I'm paying to feed the local rodents instead of my horse!

And then to my surprise this bronze pigeon with a missing tail feather I've seen hanging around my stall waddled in the doorway. It actually scared off all the rats by pecking at them! I had no idea pigeons did that. Then it kept trying to walk over and get in the dish, but since the bird was a much bigger target, Bo could easily see it and kept pinning his ears at it and shooing it away with his head. He's not one for sharing with those critters he notices trying to steal from him!
velessa: (Cats - Rembrandt face)
Rembrandt's allergies have flared up again over the past couple of weeks. No clue what he's actually allergic to, but every spring and fall he gets this weird skin allergy where tons of little bloody spots/scabs appear all over him (not fleas, he's been checked and treated for those, and he's an indoor cat). I always hope they'll clear up on their own, but they just kind of get worse and worse until I get him dosed with prednisone for about a week. Anyway, I still have lots of prednisone around, but I wanted the vet to see him because he recently developed a big nasty sore raw spot on his cheek, and I wanted to know what further treatment that might need. So for the next week he's on antibiotics for that plus the prednisone.

He also had his blood and urine checked since it's been a while since we did that, and his numbers need to be monitored for kidney issues. While he's on prednisone I have to give him the subcutaneous fluids again because it's hard on his kidneys. He first went to the vet and was diagnosed with kidney disease back in September, so he got put on a renal diet and daily fluid injections then. But I quit giving him fluids around December because he just got so horrible about it, it was impossible to hold him still and get much of anything in him. So we just went with the diet alone after that and hoped that'd be enough. Good news, everyone! < / Professor Farnsworth > His numbers are all back to being well in the normal zone, and he's gained weight. It's looking more like what he had wasn't kidney disease, but rather some sort of acute kidney malady that's since corrected itself. I'm still going to keep him on the renal health diet, of course, but it's good to know that he's doing so well! It makes sense because the first time I took him in back in September was the only time he was actually acting out of the ordinary, like he wasn't feeling well. He's been back to his normal happy self ever since then. =)

Now if only we could figure out how to cure his allergies!
velessa: (Horses - Bo funny)
So it seems the ground squirrels at the barn are every bit as conditioned to the sound of grain as the horses.

Today while I was filling up Bo's dish, as soon as I started pouring the grain, this chubby squirrel appeared from under my tack box and stared at me, then started inching closer and closer to me. I was surprised by how close he was getting. I shooed him away and took the dish to Bo, then I started mucking out his stall.

I turn back maybe ten seconds later, and there's Fatso squirrel sitting in the dish with Bo eating around him! I've seen the squirrels and the rats come out and snatch grain from the dish before, but now they've gotten lightning fast at it! Bo doesn't seem to notice or care most of the time, but he'll sometimes pin his ears at the squirrel and shoo it away with his nose, haha. Anyway, I was so amused by the squirrel's boldness and persistence, that I sat and watched him steal grain for a while and took some funny pictures and video of it. =)

Sneaky squirrel thieves! )
velessa: (Horses - Bo smelling poppies)
This weekend was lovely and warm with temps in the 70s, and Bo got to run around and enjoy the sunshine quite a bit. But he did end up straining something while running around like a loon in the deep dirt arena today, so he's now a little lame. =\ I don't think I'll be letting him out there again, it's just too damn deep and is never dragged. I did get some cool photos and videos out of it, though, so enjoy! These are on Facebook as well.

Bo galore! )

By the way, I also added pictures to my last entry about the Sharks game if you care to see them. There are horses there, too!
velessa: (Horses - Bo & me)
Today Bo and I went on a nice long three hour ride, which is the longest one I've done with him thus far. We went with [livejournal.com profile] greenanimal and her new friend Kathy from the barn across the street, an endurance rider with two Arabs. We walked pretty much the entire time, did a teeny bit of trotting on the way back home. We went out in the park to an area I'd never been before, next to a small lake.

We went through a cattle grazing area to get there, and Bo gave the cows a distrusting look; I don't know if he's been around cows before or not, but I kind of thought he had since he was a ranch horse. He especially looked askance at the bull we passed close by, but the bull was too busy grazing to care anything about us.

Out by the lake there are some pretty steep hills, and it's also an area hang gliders and para gliders use. The first time a para glider came in for a landing near us, Bo was quite startled! Thankfully his idea of spooking is to sort of jolt in place and take a few steps away from whatever it is. After a while he got used to all the things sailing through the sky near us, though he did keep a close eye on them. We went partway up one of the steep hills to one of the jump off points for the gliders, and we hung out while a few of them got ready to go, letting the horses graze and chill. There was a very nice view of the lake up there.

Some photos here )

And now for THE MOST DISGUSTING THING EVER )
velessa: (Dogs - Yukon & Sierra)
Our last yellow labrador, Yukon, went to the vet to cross the rainbow bridge today. He was a month shy of 13 years old, and it was definitely his time. He'd been arthritic for a few years now, but he went rapidly downhill over the last week or so, being barely able to move. May he romp around pain-free with Heather, Taffy, Sierra, Sequoia, and Bootsie now.

Yukon was the lunkhead of the house, as well as the only male dog we ever had. Headstrong and smart as a brick, he was ruled by his stomach and got into anything and everything that he suspected was food. Kleenex were a favorite snack of his, especially used ones he pulled out of all the garbage cans he would knock over on a regular basis. Training him required lots of patience and lots of treats. But he was absolutely the most sweet-natured dog ever, loved everyone instantly and would lick you half to death given the chance. He was a good companion and was lucky to have such a good, long run.

Yukon: May 27, 1997 - April 11, 2010 )
velessa: (Dogs - Yukon & Sierra)
Our last yellow labrador, Yukon, went to the vet to cross the rainbow bridge today. He was a month shy of 13 years old, and it was definitely his time. He'd been arthritic for a few years now, but he went rapidly downhill over the last week or so, being barely able to move. May he romp around pain-free with Heather, Taffy, Sierra, Sequoia, and Bootsie now.

Yukon was the lunkhead of the house, as well as the only male dog we ever had. Headstrong and smart as a brick, he was ruled by his stomach and got into anything and everything that he suspected was food. Kleenex were a favorite snack of his, especially used ones he pulled out of all the garbage cans he would knock over on a regular basis. Training him required lots of patience and lots of treats. But he was absolutely the most sweet-natured dog ever, loved everyone instantly and would lick you half to death given the chance. He was a good companion and was lucky to have such a good, long run.

Yukon: May 27, 1997 - April 11, 2010 )
velessa: (Horses - Bo1)
Bo got his teeth floated* for what I believe was the first time today. His previous owner told me she doesn't start getting her horses' teeth done until they're 11! o_O WTF?? Bo is 10 this month.

So of course, Bo had MASSIVE hooks and points on all of his teeth, with the bottom ones being especially bad. I'm sure that hasn't been helping with his head tossing. He also apparently has a VERY narrow space between his teeth and his cheeks, so he'd been getting scraped up all the time. The vet had to power float everything because there would have been no way in hell she'd have been able to do it or do a good job of it with just a hand rasp. But it looks like with the points gone, she thinks he'll wear pretty evenly and won't need to be done any more than the normal annual float.

All that considered, he was a very good boy about it. Jackson was an absolute nightmare to float, being huge and a huge wussy TB, he had to be retranqued over and over and still threw his head around for all he was worth. Bo needed to be retranqued once and didn't make too much of a fuss other than when the tranqualizer was wearing off. It did take some time to get to all his teeth, but not nearly as long as Jackson took.

Illustrated version )

*For non-horsey folks: horse teeth grow continually and are worn down when they chew. They usually wear down unevenly and create points and sharp edges that need to be filed off by a vet ("floated"), typically done once a year.
velessa: (Horses - my tattoo)
I HAVE A TATTOO!

I didn't do this in haste or on a whim. For at least a decade now I've been contemplating getting a horse-related tattoo of some sort. Maybe five years or so ago I came across an image online of a beautiful ink painting of a horse head that absolutely I loved. It's simple and elegant and just amazing; for some reason it just spoke to me. I saved it and thought it might make a nice tattoo someday.

Someday is today )
velessa: (Horses - my tattoo)
I HAVE A TATTOO!

I didn't do this in haste or on a whim. For at least a decade now I've been contemplating getting a horse-related tattoo of some sort. Maybe five years or so ago I came across an image online of a beautiful ink painting of a horse head that absolutely I loved. It's simple and elegant and just amazing; for some reason it just spoke to me. I saved it and thought it might make a nice tattoo someday.

Someday is today )
velessa: (Horses - Bo2)
Came off of Bo tonight. We were trotting in the arena when he spooked at something (I think another horse entering the arena from the dark) and he took off bucking and managed to unseat me after a couple of them. Luckily I landed on my fat ass so I'm not hurt. =P I'll be sore, though, and my hair is full of sand (around the edges, I had a helmet on of course).

Bo tore out of the arena and I don't know where all he ran off to in the dark, but I found him hiding in an open stall, probably because he wasn't able to get back into his because I had put the barrier up. Guess he had a lot of energy to work off! I can't remember when I last got him out, so that's probably why.

The dumbest part of this is before I went to mount up, I had this feeling like something bad was going to happen. Should have listened to my gut! The next time I haven't gotten him out in a while, I'll lunge him first!

Deaf Horse

Nov. 9th, 2009 11:24 pm
velessa: (Horses - Bo1)
I posted about a month ago about Bo in [livejournal.com profile] equestrian here. [livejournal.com profile] teadog1425 brought up an interesting idea that I had never considered, that he might be a splashed white overo Paint and hence could be deaf. Well, that never in a million years would have crossed my mind, but I've been seriously thinking about it and how it would explain so much about his behavior.

[livejournal.com profile] greenanimal and I have been trying to get him to react to different noises out of his sight to see whether or not he does anything, but I haven't gotten anything really conclusive until tonight. When I got to his stall he was facing away from me and eating his hay, so I stood at the door and said his name a few times, then I said it louder, then I yelled at him, then I yelled and banged on his stall door...nothing. I suppose he could have just been ignoring me, BUT when he did look up and saw me standing at the door and waving my arms, he was completely taken by surprise and jumped backwards away from me. So I'm now basically 99% sure that he is in fact deaf.

Now, I still think he's a great horse and I have no desire to get rid of him. But I haven't ever dealt with this situation before, so I'm wondering what, if anything, I need to do differently for owning a deaf horse. Obviously he's not going to respond to any vocal cues I might give, so I won't bother with those. I think a lot will rely on us just developing our relationship and him learning to trust me and follow my lead; I've still only had him for about five months.

Has anyone here ever worked with a deaf horse before? Any advice for me and my boy? I'd really appreciate any insights anyone has! =)

cross-posted to [livejournal.com profile] equestrian
velessa: (Horses - Bo2)
Dear Self,

You have not jumped anything in at least 8 years, now own a non-jumping horse, and are too old to be falling splat on the ground all the time. Please do not try to take your horse over even tiny crossrails. Take up dressage instead. =p

Love, Me

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velessa

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