Last week, Mama Tess’ left leg started to swell from her coffin joint up to her fetlock. Not good. I figured something was worked its way up into her sole wound and gotten caught behind some new growth tissue. An infection inside of a pocket.
So, I called the wonderful vet from Loomis Basin Large Animal Hospital who tried to save her when she had her first bout with undiagnosed Cushings, IR complications and that horrible traumatic trim which combined together to create the horrid cascade into terminal founder – 2 years ago. Many of you might remember this vet as ‘Dr. Dreamy’. Yes, MT took to him right away. She loved him.
Anyway, DR de la Cruz (Dreamy) came back on Thursday to help MT with her swelling. He took several Xrays from all angles. He said her feet were shaped perfectly and maintained beautifully (Thank you, Founder Warrior). DR then told me that he suspected she had a coffin bone infection in her right hoof (the good one). And, that she has major bone loss in her left foot (the one that had coffin bone surgery). The swelling was due to something caught in the granulated tissue that she grows very quickly – as suspected. He also said that her tendons were swelling and tearing… All news that was not good.
We flushed out the infected sole, put an iodine solution on it, packed it with sugardine and then he wrapped her legs as only vets can wrap legs. I was given massive doses of antibiotics and some Banamine. He also gave me a steroid to put on the sole tissue once a week to keep it from growing out of control like it does so we can keep infections like this under control.
DR was also very clear that MT cannot heal from a coffin bone infection without surgery. And, since her other foot is not stable, MT is not a candidate for coffin bone surgery. So, he comforted me and told me that he would do his best ‘when the time came’ to let her cross over peacefully.
Of course, I was hit hard by this news. Yes, I know Tess will pass from this and yes I know she will never heal – but I didn’t think she was this bad, especially since she is so full of herself. She eats, drinks, cruises around and demands, as always.
Suffice it to say, I was crushed.
When the vet left, I took the bag of medicines he left for me and sat next to Tess, who was still slightly sedated, and I asked her if she was ready to go. I told her to not hang on for me. But, I also said that I would continue to fight with her and call upon every angel and saint I could think of to help us – if she wanted.
Then I went inside the house to ponder this and cry on my own. I texted Hubby and he wrote back, “You’ve heard all this before…”. And he was right. Mama Tess was supposed to die two years ago. I’m not saying that her condition isn’t terminal; all I’m saying is that she doesn’t seem to be on board with her prognosis.
A FEW HOURS LATER…
A few hours later, I checked on her and she was milling about, just like she always does… looking for scraps.
The news didn’t seem to faze her. Although I could tell that the day’s visit had made her a bit more sore than usual.
I had been keeping MT’s gate open so she could exercise her mind and her body at will. But on Saturday (2 days after the vet visit), when I walked to the barn to check on her, I couldn’t find her!
I looked in the usual places… no sick and terminal mare anywhere!
Did she wander off to pass by herself under a tree? I started up the hill and there I caught a glimpse of what I thought was a horse… in the only empty pasture.
Upon further inspection, it was a horse… a horse who has decided to totally disregard the advise of the vet and go on living!
Mama Tess had walked all the way around the barn and out into the open pasture next to Finn, BG and Wrigley. This was astounding because I had to figure that she planned this… she could see the empty pasture from her barn – so she decided (and planned) to make it HERS.
I COULD NOT GET HER TO COME IN!
MT seemed to have decided that she was done being sick and now fancies herself as an outside, pasture horse.
Me: C’mon inside, I have to feed you and get you on your Theraplate.
MT: Why? I like it out here. Feed me out here like a normal horse.
Me: You have to come inside.
MT: You have to come outside.
Me: Come inside.
MT: Come outside.
And so it went… I absolutely could not cajole her into the barn. In fact, she went deeper into the pasture.
Finally, I got a bucket of grain and she gave in.
But I am telling you, she has made a decision. She was not giving in.
ONCE INSIDE THE BARN
Once inside, she ate her food and then proceeded not to lie down but to continue walking around. She went outside on her veranda and ate her soaked hay with Sam.
When I approached her with the antibiotics, she took them without a fuss.
?? What had gotten into this mare?! She was outside for over 5 hours and she still was not going to lie down!
–As an aside, I found a method that is working for her 14 sulfur pills. I use just a tiny amount of hot water in a small jar, I add a squirt of Omega Alpha Gasta-FX – to help stave off ulcers – and into a syringe. She swallows it easily! I know she likes the flavor of the Gastra-FX.
Once again, this mare has decided to defy science and logic! I do not know how or why she is able to keep on going, but she is. She doesn’t care what the Xrays say or what the vets says. She chooses to fight and continue living – in an outside pasture, preferably.
And so I, as her minion and valet, will continue to support this amazing being.
Love her “never give up” attitude. What an amazing spirit is she! ??
Love it! She’s an amazing girl. And I love Dr. Dreamy. He came out a few years ago (Christmas eve!) to help Ashly Rose through a colic event.
What an amazing horse she is. Your bond with her, and the way you communicate, is inspiring to see. Give her a hug for me–she has a fan in Florida. (And hug yourself, too–I feel for you in this situation, and you handle it with grace and strength.)
Thank you so much, Dawn, for sharing Mama Tess’ story! She is such an inspiration – no matter the species. Every living being can learn from her. I will be a better person today from just hearing her story. She is a living testament to the power of one’s will. Keep up the good work, MT!