Monday, November 3, 2008

Baby Boomer Dreams - Dandy's Story - Moving

Part 1

It's funny how things happen sometimes. You think you know everything there is to know and then you find out otherwise. In these circumstances I would have told you I knew exactly what was going on with my horse and yet that turned out not to be the case.

Despite the neurological damage to my horse, I continued to ride Dandy while we were treating him. My vet had told me he thought that was the best thing to do. I probably would be able to tell sooner if the horse's condition was deteriorating by being on his back. It made perfect sense to me, so I went along.

Within days after I began treating the horse with the concoction from the compounding pharmacy (a poison to kill the parasite mixed with SMZs) I noticed that my horse was beginning to muscle differently. It may have been a subtle change but to me it looked like something huge.

Now up to this time, I would have told you that my horse looked muscled like any normal Arabian horse his age. Sure he was a bit leggy but so was his sire, GS Khochise. His immature structure was typical of his bloodlines..........or was it? Had I accepted his physique as normal when it really wasn't? Had it been a direct result of the EPM parasite attacking his system?

I called my vet to learn that muscle atrophy was one of the symptoms of EPM. Dandy beginning to gain what might be normal muscle tone definitely looked like a good sign. However, it was going to take more than that to be considered a reversal of symptoms, more watching was necessary.

There were difficulties at Feature Farm with getting my horse his medication. It needed to be given on an empty stomach and the horse was not to eat for 2 hours after it was given. Also, it was to be administered twice a day and it was important that be at 12 hour intervals.

With over 50 horses to be cared for, this facility just couldn't seem to accommodate what my horse needed. They had their schedule and it wasn't suitable for Dandy. There was no one there willing to make allowances for my horse.

I couldn't afford to quit my job to take care of this myself. I needed that job more than ever to pay for the costly medication. I also couldn't take the time off from work to see that these dosages were administered properly and feed my horse so I began looking for a better place to take Dandy.

I managed to find a self-care facility that was much closer to my house and very close to the route I took home. It was a small place with an arena and around twenty some horses. People were always coming and going to take care of their horses and they seemed pleased to have the opportunity to help me and my horse. Dandy was more likely to get his medication administered properly there than he ever would have at Feature Farm.

I was supposed to give 30 days notice at Feature Farm but under the circumstances the owner let that slide. The truth be told I think she really was glad to get a horse that might have EPM out of the barn. At that time there was still a lot of hysteria surrounding the disease. I know I came across more than one whispered conversation that had to do with Dandy and me. I'm pretty sure they were more than happy to see us go.

So I moved Dandy into the self care place. I would stop in the morning on my way to work and give Dandy his medication. Then 2 hours later, the owner would give him his breakfast. Later in the day on my way home, I would stop in again, clean the stall, ride and give my horse his medication. Then 2 hours later the owner or one of the other boarders would feed Dandy his dinner provided I hadn't stayed that long and given it to him myself.

Each stall had a message board on it and Dandy's board clearly read "IMPORTANT: Do Not Feed this Horse! Medication must be given on an empty stomach" Everyone in the barn seemed to know and understand what that was all about. Not even a newcomer to the barn would have snuck by their vigilance to sneak my horse a treat. Those folks felt protective of Dandy and on guard to protect him.

Dandy was definitely making friends fast. Everyone in the barn seemed to care about the big, quiet bay gelding with the soulful looking eyes fighting for his life. No one seemed to be worried about catching EPM (which is not contagious from horse to horse contact anyway!), they were much more worried about how the horse was doing.

To be continued..........................


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  1. I'm glad you moved him so he could get his meds on a proper schedule. It seems like a good move.

  2. I do like this photo.

  3. I agree with grey horse.

    BTW, I am curious to know how the Mexican guy is now, and if he remembers how he helped you and your horse? and if he speaks English now. I would have felt like paying him for his good deed. For the fact that he took notice of your horse out of 50+ horses, and not only taking notice that your horse was sleeping too much, but also made the effort to tell you. Like, I feel like that makes him the hero. I feel like if he didn't do that, who knows what would have happened to Dandy, and that if the guy didn't do that, what if Dandy would have died from the parasites causing the neurological brain problems. I heard that it can get so bad that the horse can fall over and die... especially if they were to fall onto something, or if he hit his head on something hard enough, that he could of died that way. I feel like the Mexican guy is the hero because by telling you, you were able to decide the to call the vet and get it fixed, and prevented it from going on any longer and it getting worse.

  4. BTW, STUNNING PICTURE! Dandy looks absolutely stunning in this picture.

  5. Cool, that sounds like a good bunch of people at that barn.