The Unpredictable and Whiplashing Emotional Roller Coaster of Chronically Sick horses.






I wanted to take this day to appreciate all of you who champion for the sick… Every. Single. Day.

You, who have sick family members or chronically sick animals, my hat is tipped to you.

I understand.

The Emotional Roller coaster of Chronically Sick horses.

As you all know, MamaTess is very sick with founder.

I don’t often update on her condition because I really don’t want to say anything because her condition varies daily… sometimes hourly.

I really only want to give you good news.

But when one is this sick, it is literally, touch and go.  A long way to ‘home free’.

A roller coaster of emotion rumbling along daily.

On most days, she is bright and eager to eat when she sees me...

On most days, she is bright and eager to eat when she sees me…

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Do you see that my bucket is empty??!

CHRONIC.

Her condition is now chronic.

To be honest, I liked ‘acute’ better.  Chronic means it has settled in and is here to stay – or it wants to be here to stay.

I want the illness gone.

But chronic is chronic because no one really knows exactly how to cure it.

One of my vets said, “Put 5 vets in a room and you will get 7 different opinions….”

I don’t want to put you through all of our many decisions regarding her health.

I think it best that I ride the roller coaster alone.

And, I’m getting used to it – kindof.

I now don’t think every curve is the last or the most powerful or the end.

I just ride it and learn its shape.  Lean to the right, lean to the left, hold on for the big dip, coast to the finish.

Most of all, I hang on.

This morning she was boss mare enough to pin her ears at Gwen who was getting too close to where the food bucket will eventually land.

This morning she was boss mare enough to pin her ears at Gwen who was getting too close to where the food bucket will eventually land.

IT ISN’T EASY – I SEE HOW PEOPLE SIMPLY GIVE UP…

Riding the roller coaster is tough.  It is tiring.  It is scary.  Sometimes it makes me feel sick.

I understand how people want to give up.

But, I have to remember…  that everything I am learning through this illness – good and bad – will help other horses.

Yum.

Yum.

Here she is, waiting for her reward.  I had just wrapped her foot this morning and she knows she gets her hay after that.

Here she is, waiting for her reward. I had just wrapped her foot this morning and she knows she gets her hay after that.

Eating...

Eating…

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Treading somewhat moreso than yesterday…

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But mostly standing firmly on both fronts.

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And then treading… sigh. Some days are not as good as others. Some days are better.

READING A BOOK…

I’m presently reading a book about a young man who was mauled by a Grizzly bear in Alaska (BEYOND THE BEAR, Dan Bigley).  He wasn’t doing anything out of the ordinary.  He was walking into a parking lot where there were many other people.  Seemed perfectly OK.

Wrong place, wrong time.  Nothing personal.

The bear threw him around like a rag doll and then bit his head.  Popped his skull and blinded him instantly.

No one thought he would survive.

Every day was a new challenge.  Every day something good happened or something bad happened.

His caretakers were very stressed – over a long period of time.

It was a horrible emotional roller coaster.

The good news is – He made it.  Everyone got off the ride.

To me, Tess’ founder is the bear.

What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger… and probably wiser… and, in this case with Tess, I have also become very close to my patient – which is a gift I cannot overlook.

And when we come out the other side and coast to our final stop, I will tell you all about it.

She's my girl... and I'm sticking by her.

She’s my girl… and I’m sticking by her. (2008, just before delivering Wrigley.)

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8 comments have been posted...

  1. Susan Holmes

    Try Thrive horse feed it’s like no other feed please go check thrive horse feed. Read his story on starving horses

  2. Janet Schultz

    I love it when I hear or read those words, “I hate to bring you anything but good news.” It means so much to me to realize that there are those who wish to protect each other from the sadness we have to go through. We do have plenty of people and news that relishes hand wringing and pitiful recollections. My heart goes out to all of them. But you here, you hold the flag of strrength up high for us all to see and be reminded. Life is meant to live – brave and with hope for the better. You are so right though, you are learning and it will help the next one. Give Tess a hug for all of us. And I know you know, but a big hug for yourself too. And thanks for these beautiful pictures of this beautiful and brave horse.

  3. Lori

    I have helped 3 horses thru severe founder and Laminitis with the help of Rivas Remedies natural herbs that support the body and help flush out the toxins produced from the illness. There is no horse that should suffer or have to be put down because of founder or laminitis. Please don’
    t rely solely on vets. They have their place and I would not do with out them please contact http://www.rivasremedies.com 1800405-6643

  4. Sue Tyrkus

    Know, Dawn, that we are all worrying with you, and that as someone above said, even little snippet updates are good enough. It is 2 book’s worth of emotions that we ride when it comes to long term illness and/or injuries to our horses. I went through all 7 of my leg surgeries over the same few years as our OTTB was pummeled with bad fortune: severe lymphangitis in his front leg that moved into his chest wall, then subsequent impaction colic from all the antibiotics and prolonged stall rest. Just as we thought we were home free, he partially tore a cruciate ligament in his stifle. How? We’ll never know. Probably just goofin’ around, being a (huge) horse. 6 MONTHS stall rest, and now, a year later, we’ve been given the go-ahead for “light” riding. I am now petrified every time I see him even look at me the wrong way. No matter what, most of us horsewomen stay strong for our horses…they need to see us remain hopeful and positive. We go in the house and cry. I am quite certain they smell our fear for them. I am not religious at all, but I do believe that it’s the light we bring in to the barn that keeps them going; that keeps them wanting to get better. Please know that we are all on this journey with you, and that when you hurt, we hurt for you. We are all rooting for Tess, and for you.

  5. Casey O'Connor

    Dear Dawn, I’m with ya! Dealing with so many very elderly horses, their ups and downs can be exhausting. And while I’m watching one frail one, another will suddenly pass. It’s an odd thing for such strong animals, that they are also incredibly frail and one little thing out of balance can have such devastating effects. Remember, for your own peace of mind and comfort, to walk amongst your other younger haler animals. They are all happy because of you…even Tess.

  6. Kathy

    I have a pony that has foundered on and off. I feed last years Bermuda hay to her and she hasn’t had a problem in a year. She is also on pasture year round so no over abundance of green grass at one time. She also has a fantastic farrier that specializes in foundered horses. I have certainly been blessed this past year.

  7. Karin Boulanger

    Hi Dawn,
    I’m sure we can all understand your reluctance to share every moment of every day you spend tending Tess. And I’m sure you understand our desire to know how she’s doing. It’s a balancing act, and one that YOU get to decide how many pins are in the air. An occasional “Tess ate well yesterday” is fine. A long blank interlude will have us all worried, and although that’s still not your problem, it’s all well-meaning.
    Thanks for sharing what you can. And keep to yourself what you need to. We understand.

    Karin

  8. Vickie Ann Stafford

    I too had a beautiful, wonderful mare who suffered with laminitis for 6 years. She was a tough little Arabian mare and never wanted to give up or give in to laminitis. But when she began to lose a hoof, I knew it was time. It is heart breaking. But I can never let them suffer. So, I had to euthanize her. She was my once in a lifetime horse, my first horse (I was 38 when I got her). My heart aches for every horse owner who has to go through this wiith a creature they love so much.

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