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!!


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 )


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