Friday, December 23, 2011

Never A Dull Moment

No matter how long you've been around horses, you've never seen it all. And just when you think you've seen it all, some horse will catch wind of your ego and set out to prove your wrong.

Well, I can now check Giant Scary Lump-on-Side That Grows At An Alarming Rate off of my "Things Seen List." Poor little Tiffany just can not catch a break--as if Cushings, founder, and arthritis weren't enough, she had to go and develop a basketball-sized lump on her side (and give me a few grey hairs in the process, I'm sure!).

A little over a month ago, I was grooming Tiff and felt a medium-ish hard lump on her right flank. I remember telling Judy that I wasn't sure if it was some kind of sting/bite or a fat lump or what, but we would need to keep an eye on it. For several weeks, I saw no change in it. Then about two weeks ago it looked like it had a little scratch on it, almost like it had been lanced. And over the next few days, it shrank until it was almost non-existent.

But Monday night I pulled her sheet off and went, "Hhhhmmm, that thing is back and bigger than ever." I called Judy and left her a message to give her a heads-up--I said it certainly wasn't an emergency situation, but Dr. F should probably look at it in the next few days.

Well, Tuesday evening I peeked into Tiff's stall and my eyes just about popped out of my head. I could see a massive lump under her fly sheet. I pulled it back to find this:

I immediately called Judy (who was down in the Keys with her family for her dad's birthday) and started texting her the pics. Of course, she said she would call Dr. F and get back to me as soon as she heard from him. In the meantime, I slathered a whole bunch of epsom sat poultice on the lump and took Tiff out to graze. She seemed completely fine apart from the massive growth--she had eaten all her dinner and happily munched away on grass as soon as I put her out. 

Within a few minutes, Dr. F called Judy and told her it didn't sound like an emergency and he would be out to see Tiff first thing in the morning. Wednesday, Judy got a call bright and early--Dr. F told her that his best guess was Tiff had been either bitten by a spider or stung by a scorpion, and it eventually got infected. He drained about 15 ccs of fluid out of the area and gave her a shot of antibiotics. He also left a tube of Surpass for us to rub on the lump daily and some antibiotic packets to sprinkle on her dinner for 6 days.

Well, Friday night it looked like this:

Apparently, the fluid is draining down to her belly (???). I told Judy I didn't think it was an emergency, but she called Dr. F just in case. He will be out to see her tomorrow morning (Christmas Eve), so please keep your fingers crossed for her. According to the barn owner, Tiff has been spending more time lying down the past few days, which is not a good sign. She's been eating voraciously and chipper as usual, and happily goes out in the evening to eat grass, which is promising. But. Judy and I found three more little hard lumps on her left side tonight. What are the odds of four spider bites/scorpion stings?

Send some positive vibes our way, please! This mare has been through so much and she really deserves a break.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Girl With A Rasp...

...will always have much to do at my barn. :-) Take, for instance, Lucy:

This sweet girl is an 8-year-old Quarter Horse who foundered back in September(ish?). Luckily, it was caught very early and Lucy received standard protocol care--she stood in a giant tub of ice water for several days in order to lessen the damage done to her hooves, and was put on IV DMSO (some of the worst-smelling stuff ever invented). It was found that her laminitic attack was brought on by Insulin Resistance, so her diet was given a drastic overhaul.

On October 7th, the farrier came out to drill Lucie's front hooves into clogs. About two days later, one of the other boarders said to me, "Have you seen Lucy's back hooves? They're ridiculously long--can you rasp them?" Of course, I told her I'd get on it right away, so I grabbed my trusty rasp and gloves and pulled Lucy out of her stall. Imagine my shock when I laid my eyes on these hooves:

Right Hind Before

Left Hind Before

This hoof has such a bad case of thrush that the frog had rotted halfway off

Obviously, those hooves were in need of some major work. I did what I could with my trusty rasp, taking the toes way back and lowering the walls. Her bars were so overgrown that I was also rasping them while I took the walls down.

Right Hind After

Left Hind After

Yes, those hooves are still miles too long, but it's a huge improvement. Hey, it takes a LONG time to get rid of that much hoof wall when all you're working with is a rasp! Luckily, I was able to cajole Candy into knocking Lucy's walls back a few weeks later. But it was Lucy's front hooves that I really wanted Candy to start working her magic on--I couldn't actually see them because of the hoof casts, but I was unfortunately quite familiar with Farrier X's work and was worried that he would transform Lucy's hooves into nightmarish zombie hooves like he did to Tiff.  Again, I had to just bite my tongue and wait for the right opportunity to present itself; but I knew that I would eventually get Candy on the case and those clogs off of Lucy's hooves.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sass Is Back

A certain little Mustang mare has been getting herself into all kinds of mischief lately--she roams the property, taunting the other horses and teasing them into squealing/kicking frenzies. She rips her halter off in the trees, hides behind every larger-than-Tiff object she can find, and once even took a short stroll out the gate and down the road. The cookies on her stall have twice been broken into and devoured, and if her feed bucket is empty you can be sure it will soon be banged against the wall repeatedly and with much zeal. If she thinks it's past time for her daily "spa appointment," she parks herself on the washrack and glares at me--I swear one of these days she will start tapping her toe and rolling her eyes.

Yep. I think the sass is back. ;-)

For the past month, Tiffany has been trimmed once a week, and with each trim she has grown more comfortable and exponentially more feisty. She's spending less time lying down and more time walking around grazing and being a horse. Her legs no longer shake, she can stand on her painful left front for longer and longer periods, and she can truck around at a fast walk with just a hint of a hitch in her stride. Best of all, she's happy--sometimes I think that mare is smiling at me. And when she sees Candy, she lights up and nickers happily.

Friday Dec 2nd was Tiffany's fourth trim. It marked the end of her first month of rehab AND *drumroll, please* was the official photo shoot for her calendar girl debut. Yes, our sweet Tiff is going to be featured in the Cavallo 2012 calendar! I have been beyond impressed with Cavallo for their kindness and generosity. As someone who regards large companies as evil, money-grubbing, soul-less empires, I was floored to find out that Cavallo was donating a brand-new pair of Sport Boots and two sets of gel pads for Tiff. They really went out on a limb to help her out and have been a class act all the way. So, THANK YOU, CAVALLO!

Tiff's Cavallo Sport Boots
(after a solid week of use)

Tiff's pre-mani/pedi White Lightning soak

Left Front After

Remember the giant flare that used to be on the medial side of this hoof?
 Only one month later and it's nearly gone

Right Front After

The area of separation that had previously exposed live laminae is closing up nicely,
thanks to White Lightning soaks & icthamol

 Right Hind After

Left Hind After

That video was shot immediately after her trim and I must have watched it at least a dozen times already. I always knew Candy was good, but I have been continually amazed at how quickly she's turning Tiff's hooves (and her whole life) around. The progress that mare has made in one month is astounding. But Candy and my work is far from over, and not just concerning Tiff--we've already got our next Laminitis Rehab Case in our sights. Candy is putting together another information packet and I'm preparing for round two of the Friendly Gnat Game. :-) Because why settle for one sassy previously foundered mare when you can have TWO sassy previously foundered mares?