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