Dealing with realities

I’m starting to have that overwhelmed, hopeless feeling again. Last week I ended up being sick and after a trip to the urgent care discovered I had walking pneumonia. That put me down and out for about 8 days and I know that after coming back from respiratory issues it is easy to feel depressed so I’m trying to remember that.

After Dulce’s dental and getting some of her body hair trimmed off, it really showed how she has become a rack of bones due to the Cushings. I’ve known for some time she was losing too much weight because Dancer is dominant. After the fencework got done, I’ve been separating her to feed and giving her more but it just hasn’t been enough so I’ve put her on a Senior Feed and Weight gain supplement.

She’s on her Cushing Pergolide loading dose, a 7 day course of antibiotics and a couple of days of bute. Today, her eyes had gone back to being gunked up and I’ve put her back on her eye ointment.

I suspect due to the eyes, the mouth, and the fact she occasionally foams when she eats or slobbers, she has some real deep health issues that are going to shorten her life significantly. Right now, that hopelessness feeling is because I want to help her and don’t know what more I can do, or even if there is a way to help her (because I suspect incestuous genetics has caused some malformations that cannot be corrected).

So I’m on a “wait-and-see” – hoping the dental makes her a lot more comfortable and that the Pergolide gives her a better chance of gaining weight.

Next, I don’t know that I really have Dante’s PSSM under control. He never or very rarely shows any desire to move other then an ambling walk. There is no play in him. So I’m wondering what, if anything, I can do here?

There’s some equipment I want to buy for him to help on his rehab but that has to wait because of $$. The heat is starting to grow oppressive and my ability to deal with being outdoors in over 95 degree weather is lessening.

ARGH. Horses. ARGH.

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Dulce’s Dental

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Dulce got her dental today and the damage to my pocket book wasn’t too bad – under $200. She had a lot of hooks and two teeth just fell out and one is still wobbly but she should have a much better bite right now.

Got a tetanus shot, some Banamine, and a course of antibiotic. I’m to keep an eye on her and see if she gets diarrhea because of her health and Cushings this could happen. It looks like she may have more health issues (the vet commented on how pale her gums were) but we will just manage the best we can for her.

Dulce is a companion pet and she will live out her life with me whatever life she has and that is far more then the home she had from the people who inbred her to be the hot mess she is. The poor little thing continues to be shy but at least I can sit by her when she eats now and with the new stable-fence set up, I can separate her to feed so she doesn’t get harassed by Dancer too much.

Meanwhile, the vet looked at Dancer’s mouth (scheduled her a dental next month) and while she is a good 10 years + on Dulce, due to her superior genetics still has most of her teeth and has far better health (despite off the chart Cushing readings) then the younger geriatric pony.

So I have my own personal dental hell next month with two crowns over back molars and Dancer will get her July dental. Starting in August, I will start through all the home pets (3 cats, 2 dogs) with dentals and health exams. When I was working for vets, I got these at big discounts but that was 2 years ago so I need to get them back in and on a schedule.

Both kids will get updated routine dentals in August before returning to college. Next year the youngest will go into Invisalign.

Again, caring for the animals and our own health can now be done because our financial improvements (better job for husband, raises and bonuses, removing debt from our monthly budget and watching our spending) as well as buying a better medical and dental plan for ourselves. None of this would have been possible financially for us 3 years ago.

Life is improving and I am especially glad that I can provide the care that my horse and ponies really need. How much can be done for Dulce is rather doubtful, but a good home with routine medical care can be done at the very least.

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Both ponies tested positive for Cushings disease

The test results for the ponies came back and both are positive for Cushing disease. At a baseline of 110, Dulce was 182 and Dancer was 462!! That wasn’t a surprise on Dulce but for Dancer, I guess that explains that the hoof issues we’ve been having for the last five years.

Knowing this, I realize that once again we’ve been playing Russian Roulette where a little too much grass, a little too much sugar, a little too much weight and the situation could spiral into an extremely dangerous, even a life threatening situation.

I picked up their Pergolide medication (Prascend tablets) with their full dose at .25 m or 1/4 a tablet. I started it today at half dosage (1/8 of a full tablet) for about two weeks as a loading dose to try to avoid the Pergolide Veil that Dr. Kellon and her Equine Cushings and Insulin Resistant webgroup have experienced.

In 6 months, I’m going to have the ponies re-tested again to make sure that this level of medication is controlling their disease.

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On a personal note, Cushing Disease and I are old enemies. Cushing Disease is what killed my horse Pepper (or rather the side effects of laminitis which most likely ended in heart attack after 3 months of unrelenting stress).

Emotionally, this all took me by surprise but I shouldn’t have been surprised. Dancer is over 30 and now I know Dulce is over 20.  I know Dulce lost a lot of topline last year and had a long hair coat which eventually shed near the end of summer.

Dancer has been battling hoof issues now for about 5 years; her winter coat was slow to shed and she does have a longer then normal hair coat but I chalked it up to age. All tipoffs pointing to Cushing Disease.

Like I discussed though with husband, many differences exist from the time that Pepper was diagnosed and I was helpless to today:

1.) I can now buy a low sugar feed. 10 years ago finding a low sugar horse feed in my area was impossible. Because Insulin Resistance is now being more widely recognized these feeds now have a market.

2.) Being in self board, I have my area set up for dry lotting the ponies. Something I didn’t have at any of my other setups.

3.) Balancing hay was impossible when I was boarding because hay suppliers were constantly changing. Now I buy my hay from the landowner where my horses are which means the hay is consistently the same in its composition. This allows for more accurate testing and thus better hay balancing.

4.) Supplements – finding them 10 years ago was far harder then today. Now that Cushing Disease and Insulin Resistance are in the public eye, where before many of these supplements were obscure, difficult, expensive and non-palatable to the horse, now I can find them in a form that a horse will easily eat.

5.) Pergolide is now FDA approved. This means it is easier to obtain and is consistent in its formulation. Hunting it down years before could be a nightmare.

6.) Money, money, money. My money situation is so much better then it was before. I can afford to buy the supplements that before I couldn’t. Flax seed, Magnesium, Vitamin E, Copper and Zinc, and meds, are all expensive and have to be bought, month in and month out.

7.) I have a great farrier now! My husband can maintain my horse’s hooves and keep them in shape.

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Dulce and Dancer get a vet visit

Today, the vet came by to draw blood on both ponies to conduct a test for Insulin Resistance and Cushings.

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Dancer came to me in January of 2005 and was the first of the horses I bought for my lesson string. She’s been with me ever since, and once I stopped teaching was retired from riding (which she never truly enjoyed anyway).

The vet couldn’t believe that she was at least 30 and more likely 35+. However, age is catching up with her and she had a series of founder attacks over the last 4-5 years when we couldn’t keep her off grass. We’ve finally got her feet looking okay and she is now sound but must be managed (dry lot, grass restriction, even feed restricted).

I fully expect the test to come back positive for IR and she might also be Cushings now due to her age.

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Dulce is concerning me a lot right now. For the second year in a row she came out of winter with a huge hair coat she didn’t shed and loss of topline (both classic Cushings symptoms). She was the main reason I jumped on the chance for this free testing being offered. By free, I mean the test was free but the other chemical she had to give for the test did cost me.

Dulce was rescued from an abusive, animal hoarder who had inbred all the horses; I bought her as a companion for Dancer from the person who rescued her. So I’m not surprised that I got confirmation today that her estimated age of 12-14 is way off – she is most likely 20+.

Her eye has been weeping so I have some ointment for that. Also, her mouth is a mess (this doesn’t surprise me because one of her inbred deformities was a strange overbite), so I have scheduled her in 2 weeks for a full dental.

She is also extremely shy. So I had haltered her two weeks ago and left the halter on as it would have been impossible to catch her at a moments notice. In the mornings I’ve been sitting with her and then slowly reaching over to clip on the lead rope and then brushing her while she ate.

I’m rather ready not to have any more vet bills for a while but this is something that should have been done years ago. Now that our financial situation has improved, I can start caring for all my animals the way that I’ve always wanted too – regular vet care, supplements and medication they need, and keeping the horses in a barn situation that suits their physical and mental health.

Posted in Dulce, Pandora, vet visit | 4 Comments

Massage for Dante

Massage for him today. Something I had noticed and that was confirmed for me was he holds his releases and you need to back off when he starts to fidget and then he will release – he also will release more, if after a fidget, you allow him to walk (see Peggy Cummings Connected Riding to learn more about “walking to process”).

Pain in the Nuchal Ligament which I had noticed myself. Was surprised that he gave a big release on his rib cage (will be adding Linda Tellington-Jones TTouch Lick of the Camel), and some pain on the right side of his spine (about 2 inches out) above his tail bone. Gave some really nice releases on his right stifle and at the deep point of the shoulder.

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Dante Centerfold take 2

Here are some photos that show more of the same stance but differences (more then color) can still be found:

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Dante Centerfold

Dante has been on the Horse Tech Black 3 now for two weeks and his winter coat has finally mostly shed out (just a touch of red under his belly). The question is will he stay black through the summer? BTW that shine is only due to feed and brushing – no shampoo, spray or Photoshop.

But the biggest issue here is the lost of topline ;( ARGH. However, one thing I do like is that his muscles are not as hard as they were when he first showed up. When I saw him in Kansas, the muscles on his upper forelegs and gaskin areas were almost clown-like, like Popeye.

This might have been due to 1.) his PSSM 1 which affects muscle tone and 2.) that he was being worked regularly by a trainer (though she said she had only had him under training for less then 3 weeks and then not every day). I’m sure he was in better shape with her since he was on a workout program and here he is on a more relaxed schedule.

Well, whatever reason, I like how he is looking here except for the back – that has to be our number 1 priority!

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May 29, 2017

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July 2017

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May 29, 2017

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July 2016

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