Saturday, March 3, 2007

More Reflections on Horses - Twin Arabian Foals

To begin at Part 1 of this Series

To this point, the rare Arabian twin foals have made it through some tough times. With even greater odds stacked against the twin horses because of a difficult and protracted birthing process, septicemia in the filly, and a suspicious tumor in their mother, It is a miracle these Arabian twin foals have made it to four weeks old. But they have and things are beginning to look hopeful for the horses.

The filly has made it through her round of medidcation and the infection has not come back. The colt is improving every day, although he still is too quiet for an Arabian foal. All three Arabian horses (the mare and both foals) have finally got to go outside for the first time. That seemed to be an uneventful session and I'm beginning to think that life is going to now be normal. Thank God!

That peace didn't last for long. The next day as I turned the three horses (the mare and both twin foals) out again, someone noticed that the filly, Scandalous Surprise, was favoring one leg, her right hind. Checking the horse closely, I found heat in her hock. My heart dropped. Heat and joint swelling are symptoms of joint ill. It time for another frantic call the vet. Even though in my heart, I didn't think this filly was relapsing, I was not willing to gamble with her life.

Jack Gillette would be there as soon as he could. In the meantime I returned the three horses (the mare and twin foals) to their stall. I stood outside the stall studying the filly closely. While the tiny twin horse was lame, the filly just didn't look sick to me. The last time her behavior had changed. All that outward spunk and Arabian horse attitude had gotten pretty quiet. This time it was all right there busting out at her little seams. This Arabian twin foal was feeling good despite her sore hock.

By the time the veterinarian arrived, I was concerned. I didn't want to put this vulnerable Arabian twin foal back on antibiotics if she didn't really need them. But I didn't want to loose her because I was wrong either. Trusting your gut can be a really scary thing sometimes. This was about as scary as it gets for me, this life of this horse was in the balance.

Jack felt the same way about the horse's condition, I did. Putting the Arabian twin foal back onto antibiotics meant putting a cathater back into her vein. Each time that is done, it causes scaring to the horse's vein making it more difficult for the next time. As small as the vein in this tiny Arabian twin foal was, we didn't want to be causing scarring that could lock us out from that avenue of treatment later. One more thing to complicate the decision about treatment for this very vulnerable twin horse.

So Dr Gillette called Pilchuck Hospital for input. Dr Fehr recommended we start the Arabian twin foal on antibiotics and do a full panel of x-rays. If the x-rays showed any reason for the lameness we could take the twin horse off of the antibiotics. Dr. Ferr was convinced that the septecemia had flared up but she couldn't see the condition the filly was in.

Standing there watching that filly, neither of us was convinced that the Arabian twin foal was sick. The goofy filly was bucking and kicking in the stall, pissed off that the three horses play session had been cut short. Even with her now swelling hock, the horse just didn't look sick.

Relying on how the Arabian twin foal had behaved before with her illness, we decided to risk going against Pilchuck Hospital's recommended treatment for the filly. Not something either of us was doing lightly, we knew if we were wrong the precious Arabian twin foal (who had by now stolen our hearts) could pay with her life. But the nagging doubt that she might pay anyway if we treated the horse for something she didn't have weighed just as heavy. We would do the x-rays asap. Expedite them to an equine neo-natal expert and pray while we waited hoping that we had made the right decision for the Arabian twin foal.

To be continued....

Next chapter in the Arabian Twins Foals saga

1 comment:

  1. Hi MiKael

    You have me glued to the screen again! Roll on tomorrow.

    I know what you mean about your hand itching, mine did that for quite a while after the accident, it sometimes still get to itch and that was probably 2 years ago, but it is not as bad, just like a consciousness that the scar is there.

    Sunny here today but VERY cold, wind chill 13F low of 20F high of maybe 30F if we are lucky so horses are still in, poor babies!

    Keep safe, well and warm.