Sitting here, helpless… waiting for the vet.






Here’s hoping that most of you will never have to go through what I am going through tonight.

MamaTess has taken a turn for the worse.  I’ve given her everything in my aresenal to ease the laminitis pain but nothing is working.

Why?  Is it really really bad?  Or is it abscesses?

I’ve put in an Emergency Call to my longtime vet.

I’m scared.  I’m mad at myself.  I’m worried.

I feel helpless.

I’m wondering if my decisions along the way have hurt my mare.

I’m wondering if my longtime vet will be able to do anything.  Will he will be angry with me for putting her in a clinical trial instead of calling him right away – in the beginning.  I’m wondering if he will be angry that he has to come in and try to save her now.

I also wonder if I should be this honest over the Internet…

That awful profile... the alternating raised feet.  The back feet under the body.  The pain... What every owner hates to see.  I'm so upset tonight.  But, at least she is upright.

That awful profile… the alternating raised feet. The back feet under the body. The pain… What every owner hates to see. I’m so upset tonight. But, at least she is upright.

SHE WAS DOING SO WELL…

I chose to put MamaTess in a clinical trial for her laminitis because I hoped to find something wonderful to share with all of you.

To be fair, the protocol was really working.  (You can read about it here.)  She was definitely improving!  After three weeks of the protocol, MT was walking fairly freely, could turn around comfortably and was well enough to make a fuss about being locked in the barn.

All good signs.

She was still wearing her Softrider boots, however… and she needed a toe trim.

THE FIRST DECISION I REGRET

As I sit here, I am banging my head against the wall.

I had a vet trim her because I figured that was the best choice for her.

What I didn’t know was the this vet believed in a type of trim that I don’t believe in.  We hadn’t discussed this, somehow… We had only discussed cutting back her long toe and rasping it to make a nice rollover.

I had no idea that this vet believed that the frog should make contact with the ground when simply standing – not when fully loaded.

And so, without me being there (mistake #2), the vet cut back her toes beautifully, but also took off all of her hoof wall and heel – so that her frog was now making contact with the ground at all times ‘to support blood flow’.

Disaster.

MT was totally lame from that moment onward.

I mashed up all the medicine and put in in her food... no difference.  She was refusing to eat any steamed or soaked hay so I had to give her orchard grass again.  She needs to keep her stomach acids in check.  She is supposed to have no stress and here I let her be trimmed improperly and let someone serve her a stall of alfalfa.

I mashed up all the medicine and put in in her food… no difference. She was refusing to eat any steamed or soaked hay because we had just treated the well – so I had to give her orchard grass again.

THE SECOND DECISION I REGRET.

I asked a family member to put one of the dogs in the stall, instead of doing it myself.

The stall we use for the dogs is the one that previously housed the alfalfa and grain hays.  So, the stall floor was full of rich, beautiful alfalfa leaves and yummy grainy remnants.

The family member didn’t latch the stall properly.

Yup.  MamaTess got in there and ate it all up.

Disaster #2.

A rare moment with both feet on the ground.  I have put her water right next to her feed so that she doesn't have to move much.  I have a fan blowing to keep the flies off as we wait... for the vet...

A rare moment with both feet on the ground. I have put her water right next to her feed so that she doesn’t have to move much. I have a fan blowing to keep the flies off as we wait for the vet…

IN A PANIC, I CALLED MY LONGTIME VET.

She was now totally lame on both fronts.

The fact that I could not find anything to relieve her pain makes me think abscess…

Is it an abscess?  Or horrible founder from the stall-raid sugar spike?  Was it the trim and the subsequent bruising?

Every time I rubbed her coronet band I wondered if it felt the same… was she sinking?

I’m sit here in front of my computer, hoping that my longtime vet will be here soon and will work his country magic.

But mostly, I’m praying that I won’t have to regret the decisions I have made…

The girls knew I was upset.

The girls knew I was upset.

THE VET ARRIVES.

The vet arrived at 8pm.

He had already been to see Tess before I had a chance to run down to the barn.  He said that she was laying down.

Yikes.

I showed him my Protocol sheets and stood back…  he actually read every word.

“Very Interesting”, he said, “I have no idea what this SEH Inhibitor is but I agree with the Protocol of Coxes… I think this idea is innovative and could work.”

He wasn’t angry with me.  Phew.

“OK, let’s look at your mare and I’m going to take her temp.”

He roused Tess and she agreed to stand.  She was very unstable and ouchy.

Doc inserted his mercury thermometer and we waited and waited and waited – as Tess became more unstable…

Me:  I have a digital one, if you need it.

Doc:  Don’t use digital.  Too inaccurate.  Can’t get mercury in California anymore.  Don’t know what I’m gonna do when this one breaks.

Temp = Normal.

He took out his hoof testers and Tess readily gave him her sore left foot.

Doc:  Hmmmmmm.  She is only sore on the inside toe.

Me:  Abscess?

Doc:  That’s what I’m thinkin’.  She isn’t sinking or I’d see the plunger effect on her coronet band – although she does have fluid in the joint… But, her soles are too dang hard.  We need to soften them up so the abscess can come down and out.

Me:  What about her other foot?  She’s lame on it, too.

Doc:  Well, she won’t let me lift it to check it. But, my hunch is that if we have tried IV Equioxx and every other kind of ‘cox and there is no relief, it isn’t founder we’re dealing with – it is pressure.  An abscess.

Me:  That would be so wonderful.

Doc:  Well, that is my hunch.  Do you have a paper bag?

Me:  I have a paper feed bag.

Doc:  OK, give it to me.

So I did, and he ripped off a piece.

Then he used his scissors to cut two hoof shaped paper pieces out of the feed bag.

Doc:  Got any Mud?

Me: I have this kind and that kind.

Doc:  I like this kind (Sore No More) cuz I’m familiar with it.

Me:  OK, use whatever you want!

Tess was down when the vet arrived.

Tess was down when the vet arrived.

Darkness was falling as the vet took my feedbag and cut two hoof shapes.

Darkness was falling as the vet took my feedbag and cut two hoof shapes.

 

THE APPLICATION

Doc took his paper and the mud into the stall.  He schmeared the Sore No More Poultice onto the paper and slapped that onto her hard, sore hoof.

He wrapped it with medical tape and put her boot back on.

Voila.

…The other foot wasn’t so easy…

Understatement.

It took us half an hour to coax her to lift that foot (and put pressure on her worse foot) and let us put on the mudwrap.  Eventually, we let go of any paper application idea and found ourselves simply begging her to lift her foot so we could put her boot back on that we had pre-filled with mud.

Finally, we did it.  But, it wasn’t pretty.

We got the mud in there, but it wasn't pretty.

We got the mud in there, but it wasn’t pretty.

THE COUNTRY VET LEAVES.

My longtime vet told me to make sure to call him in the morning and keep him posted.  He hoped the abscess would draw out soon – but if it didn’t, just call…

And with that, I nodded my head and smiled.

Protocol, schmotocol… yes, the fancy vet protocol probably really helped stop the initial founder onset and laminitic cascade but… sometimes a country vet can wrap you in his knowledge and fold you into his hunches.

Doc may be totally wrong, but tonight I will sleep because I believe him.

God bless that man…

After he left, Tess ventured out of her stall and showed me her foot - Doesn't her face just say it all...?  "I deserve a treat for what you just put me through!  Look how much my foot hurts!"

After he left, Tess ventured out of her stall and showed me her foot – Doesn’t her face just say it all…? “I deserve a treat for what you just put me through! Look how much my foot hurts!”

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17 comments have been posted...

  1. April

    Abscesses are so hard on both us and them as they are so darn painful. The plus (?) side is the immediate relief once they burst…

    For what it is worth I think you are doing the right thing (and always have, accidents are just that and can’t all be foreseen) and that it is an abscess.

    Hang in there, you’ve done all you can and given her all the relief possible. Please keep us updated.

  2. Dori

    I agree. Please stop beating yourself up. You made the decision you did.
    May I make a suggestion tho? Please raise her food and water up to chest level. When they are on the ground more weight is added to her front feet.

    Dori

  3. Annette

    Mamma Tess & Dawn. I have a IR horse and have been dealing with chronic bouts of laminitis for several years. Oh. . . . the ups and downs of his feet and my moods. And the waiting for the foot to grow out. Is it rotation, is it sinking? Is it an abscess? Was it the acorns? Was it the snow? I am always just guessing. I use jiaogulan powder and l-carnitine. I try not to use butte b/c of long term damage to stomach and liver. I test my hay. I trim him myself. And I hope and pray. HANG IN THERE.

  4. dawndi Post author

    Thank you all for these well wishes… She is no better this morning. But, I am still hopeful that it is an abscess and time will help it surface.

  5. Mary

    Dawn – Please quit kicking yourself but you can kick the vet who did that half-@$$ trim. You’re human and you are doing the best you can for MaMa Tess. I feel your stress through the post. Sending tons of white, healing light to Tess and a big hug for you. Yes, you have to love those old time country vets…they just “know”.

  6. KD Huff

    I hope your vet is right and it’s an abscess. I felt like you were in my head – second guessing – the dread of the worst happening – the absolute love and responsibility we have for our horses. Hang in there Mama Tess! Prayers from Florida.

  7. michelle

    Oh no! How is she this morning??? You take SUCH good care of your horses, don’t ever beat yourself up for these things.

  8. ChristinaRae

    I’ve heard of using raw potato to draw out an abcess. Just shredding it up like hash browns and packing it in. Problem being, the abcess has to be open and draining, though, from what I’ve read.

    Sending good thoughts that all goes well!

  9. Jeanette Jordan

    Sleep well tonight. Just went through something strikingly similar with Foolish Treasure. After self-treating for three weeks, I finally called my “old timey” Vet. He came, he saw, he treated her abscess. He wasn’t angry at all. Treasure is fully recovered now. Praying that Tess has same outcome. Remember, everything you did was out of love. Please keep us posted.

  10. Mary Lu Kennedy

    I am so sorry to hear about Mama Tess and your terrible night. I think only horse people can relate to the stress that the owner goes through at times like this. It sounds like your vet knows what he is doing and it is only a matter of time until she is better. I have had German Shepherds my entire life and if one was sick I would be in a panic but nothing like when one of my horses is not up to par. I love them both but there is just something about your horse not feeling good that is different. Sending prayers and good thoughts for Mama Tess.

  11. debbie kameka

    Have you tried the Aculife patches for your horse? The patches relieve pain in minutes on your horse and they have patch placements that relief hoof issues within minutes too, the patches are non-chemical so no drugs are enetered into the body. There are some videos on https://www.facebook.com/PatchYourHorse to show the patches working. Hope this helps your horse.

  12. Holly

    Awww, hugs to you & your mare…and what a great vet you have! We’ve had things happen here that I beat myself up about, too. Hindsight is 20/20. Hang in there & praying for Tess. Holly

  13. Candi C Cooper

    Dawn she will be O.K. Just relax and let the abcess come out.
    When my vet does his thing on my horses with the silver duck tape he says:
    Here comes the silver slipper for the Princess.
    Sending my healing love tonight to you and Princess Tess.

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