So we are heading in to participate in Clyde Mare's procedure this morning. Her sponsor for this trip to the U of M, Jen and Reily, are picking me up in a few minutes. They drove all the way from Madison yesterday afternoon to be here today to support Clyde Mare and help to decide our plan and her fate after today.
Say another prayer, if you would, that we are able to muster the resources and the love to keep this lovely horse alive. She deserves a chance to learn that a human touching her face can be pleasant and she can leave her fears behind. She deserves a chance. I'm just praying that we are able to rally and provide her that chance.
I'll update you tonight when we return.
Jen and Reily - I can't find the words . . "many thanks" - "grateful" - "much appreciation" - how to tell you how much this means to this lovely horse. Hopefully she will tell you herself at some point today.
I'm in the house and just home and in from the U of M and hooking and feeding for the night. All are well here. Liz-Beth walked into the barn to greet us and all seem well and hungry.
Clyde Mare was sedated at approximately 10am and by 12noon or so was back in her stall. All four legs were shaved up to the knee joints and scrubbed. Her front legs are just as they were this summer - evidence of an old outbreak but nothing currently active. So somewhere along the line, her front legs were oozing and problematic and someone eithe ignored them or treated them. Either way, her front legs are bumpy and with scars but not draining or bothersome.
Her left hind leg is a tad - not much at all - worse than last fall. We made grand progress with that leg last summer and it seems to have been maintained. Much relief there.
Her right hind leg is still active, as it was last summer, and has a new spot broken out at the bottom of the very front of the leg. The blood is oozing and I'm suspicious of the fact that when I was loading her yesterday her weight caused her to break through the crust of the snow and fall through the snow bank. I told Dr. Draper that yesterday's collision with the hard snow may have scraped that thin tissue and resulted in the bloodiness today. All in all, her right hind leg is not as bad as I was suspecting. She had worsened but the majority of the stench was from the ooze and drainage trapped in the long feathers.
Clyde Mare tolerated the shaving and cleaning very well. She was sedated twice but once she "woke up" she did what she does here - told us she was done with us by simply walking away from the treatment. Her voice is clear when she speaks!
Skin scrapings showed active mites so she will receive injections for the next 4 - 6 weeks to fight them as will Josephina and Faline. Horses with feathers in the same pasture with her are likely to have them so no switching of horses out of that pasture and no moving of other horses into that pasture either.
And Dr. Alex and I will talk about the financial impact of bringing here into the U of M periodically for a day of "treatment" - sedation, trimming, and cleaning - where it is warm with daily cleanings here at home between these treatments. In the meantime, we will search for a heated facility that will allow us to bring her in for cleanings.
Is anyone willing to make calls to search for such a facility? We can fill you in on the condition, the references to answer any questions, and the big fact that this condition is genetic and not contagious. There is looking and calling to be done to see if there is an option closer to home trimmings. If anyone is willing, please email email@example.com
Dr. Alex is also calling UC Davis to discuss Clyde Mare and see if they have any cold weather experience or references. However, the big task is the daily cleaning. As Dr. Alex says, every day - can't miss a day. You know what comes next.
I need help. "Every day - can't miss a day" is a bit too much weight for one person. I need a few days - 2 or 3? - per week of relief. Even in good weather, this is tough let alone in the cold and snow.
Believe me, I know what I am asking. But without this support, this horse will deterioriate and then euthanasia is our option. I'm assuming we are not about that but that we are about treating and helping her to maintain. If you, too, believe that way then are you willing to take a cleaning every once in a while? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are willing to help support this mare.
I could go on and on about why and also about why not but this is something that each of you needs to think through and resolve for yourself. Refuge Farms will not allow her to rot or go untreated, however. That is not an option.
I'm going to check on everyone and call it a day. I didn't do any physical labor today, but I'm exhausted.
Jen and Reily - You both are miracle workers. Thank you for listening, for paticipating in the treatment, for asking great questions, and for helping with the nightly chores. Handsome was happy to see you, Reily! Thank you for the guidance and the support to Clyde Mare today.
There have been emails exchanged with Dr. Alex and I've decided to leave her sit at the U of M for a couple more days. The conditions and treatments are helping her and I want to be set and ready when she comes home or if she needs to go to the heated, dry stall right from the U. I'll spend time with Dr. Alex in the morning and we'll create a plan.
I'll see if I can administer the injections for Josephina and Faline to save a few dollars and get them on the road to less itching - although Faline seems just fine! I'll treat her, though, just to be safe.
It is time to rejoice and recognize the power of prayer.
Just hung up from Dr. Alex. Clyde Mare is "drastically improved" in the last 24 hours. Her left hind leg is almost healed (!!) and her right hind is considerably smaller and with minimal oozing. In fact, Dr. Alex believes she can begin the compression treatments (as advised by UC Davis) as early as the end of this week! That's almost 2 weeks earlier than we thought!!!!
Are you all smiling!!! ;D
Given this surprising positive response by Clyde Mare to the cares, she will stay where she is and then come home when her first round of treatments are completed. We (anyone interested and I) will learn how to conduct these treatments and then we will administer them for her as long as she is with us when the conditions require.
We need to treat Josephina and Faline and keep that herd intact until we can clean up the hay pad. And Clyde Mare, when she returns home will come back to the corral, as she did when she first arrived. Jeri-Ann and Babee Joy are pleased, I'll tell you that!!!
Our spring Applebee's breakfast funds will go to the costs of sustaining Clyde Mare although it is my plan to bring RockMan and celebrate his healing in the front yard of the restaurant, as well. We have much to be grateful for on this warm day in February of 2013!!!
The latest update on "The Sweet One" (as she is now called at the U of M!) is a positive one.
Her left rear left has improved greatly. That leg, of course, was the newer leg to have been afflicted and was about a 5 on a scale of 1 (best) - 10 (worst) when we rescued the mare last July. The scars are newer and the tissue is able to rebuild faster and more quickly, obviously.
The right rear leg is the problem leg with that leg being a 12+ upon coming here to THE FARM. Infected with maggots, oozing, and greatly swollen, the leg was a threat to her life and continues to be just that. The tissue in the leg is hard and thick from prolonged affliction and showing signs of resistance to recovery since it had been swollen and filled with fluids for so long. The progress on that leg is much slower and will undoubtedly be far less than the other rear leg.
I have advised the original owner to contact the owner's of Clyde Mare's offspring to alert them to the likelihood of their horses developing this condition. Quick diagnosis and rapid, agressive treatment is the key to prolonging their life. Clyde Mare has taught us that, unfortunately, at her expense.
If only we could replace that one portion of her right leg this mare would live a long, healthy life! However, when I come back to reality, I realize she is a "dier" and we will support her for as long as we can while making sure she has a good, happy quality of life that is relatively painfree. Big challenge with this beautiful girl, that's for sure!
I stopped to see Clyde Mare and Liz-Beth today. Both are doing exceptionally well. Clyde Mare's wrapping, Dr. Alex says, is down to a science. Good to hear! She'll be home soon and so the barn will change in appearance as she will require the shoeing bed each day for about an hour for massage, cleaning, and bandaging.
Liz-Beth is happy, calm, eating, and relaxed. No more leaning on the walls or alternating hind legs to give herself relief. It will be a while before she is home - the week ahead is 30's in the daytime and 20's at night. That is the perscription for pain for Liz-Beth.
Please visit these girls if you find yourself missing them or in St. Paul!!!
After speaking with Dr. Alex at the U of M, we believe we are as good as those legs of hers are going to get. The righ rear's response is minimal, although present. The left rear's response was much better. So, it is time to be trained on the daily massage, cleaning, and wrapping routine. Here we go!
I believe I will be bringing the big girl home on Friday. Will need to move Babee Joy back over to the big pasture and put Clyde Mare in with Jeri-Ann. She needs to be readily accessible for our daily treatment time and also seperated from the hay pad that will make her bandages wet....quite a challenge in the springtime in Wisconsin!!
To be honest, I am feeling the weight of this mare. I want her to live and have a good, long life. However, her life means a daily schedule and no flexibility in that schedule. As my Mother would say, "It is time to buck up!!!"
I have a plan and we'll see how it works.....will mean a ton of work to keep up the cleaning of the stalls in the barn but I'm hoping for help on Barn Night and Barn Morning to ease the load. The daily routine will work itself out. And, as Dr. Alex tells me, when it gets too much I just need to bring her to the U of M for a 2 - 3 day vacation to give myself a break. So, I have a plan.
It will be good to get her home. Seems so empty in the barns without Clyde Mare and Liz-Beth!
She stands so well while you massage, clean, dry, and wrap. As Dr. Alex was teaching me, she would do one leg and I would be doing the other rear leg. Clyde Mare stood patiently and even lifted her foot when it was time to pull the stocking over her foot. Amazing how she has learned it helps her.
After a 3 hour lesson, we were both sweating and Clyde Mare was dressed for the ride home. She is now in the stall with hay, water, and her feed. Shortey is in her stall to keep her company and largely because this is wicked, icky weather and I think that little one actually likes being in a stall. Especially in weather like this!
Tomorrow morning, I will unwrap her and she will spend the day eating hay and getting to know her new herd. Then tomorrow night, my first solo treatment of the shining black mare.
Dr. Alex said it so well when she said so long to Clyde Mare this afternoon. This tender vet told this big horse that she loved her. That she would see her again soon. And Dr. Alex told her that it was someone else that had done her poorly and that now she was surrounded by humans that loved her and would do their best for her.
Our first day under the belt and behind us. I know the time will decrease as we get used to each other and the routine. She won't be watching me as much as she does now and I won't have to think as much as I do now. It will get nothing but better as we go along.
It is a good way to close the day, however. Light massage, cleaning, wrapping, and tucking her in for the night. A kiss and a hug and the sound of her eating her hay as I walk out of the barn for the night.
These longer evenings help so much! It was 7pm when I went out to see Clyde Mare last night. And there she was . . . standing at the gate waiting for me.
Her massage calms her (and me) and then it is just a matter of wrapping her legs. So far so good - no oozing, no smell, and no noticeable swelling.
I am worried, though, that her best defense against the summer flies - her tail! - was cut short last summer. That leaves her legs naked to the flies and the grasses. I'm afraid the poor girl will suffer from that one - but Dr. Alex is trying to work on something we can use instead. Maybe even some extensions!!!
Bridget and I were upside down working on her hind legs for a good 90 minutes tonight. Before the meds took effect it was hunt and peck! Believe me! But once the meds kicked in, she dozed very nicely and we had quiet feet to comb, scrub, soak, and dress. Bring progress tonight and an icky job. Thank you, Bridget.
We'll start the routine of having her in the stall during the day - wrapped - and then outside at nigh unwrapped. This gives her a good amount of time outside when the flies are their quietest and inside under a fan when she needs protection from them. Sure wish she had her tail!
Jeanne and Brian were here last night and we unwrapped ClydeMare's leg after compressing it following the first cleaning last Monday night - and I am very pleased! The flesh is bright pink, clean, and softening so we can express some of the fluids.
And that mare stood while we massaged, pressed, and scrubbed. What a girl! She is learning that we are helping her. Last year she would have knocked our heads off if we even touched her! I knew something was different when I could unwrap her without have to duck and dive! How amazing to watch them learn that they are safe and to begin to trust a human again!
So, we will continue our weekly cleanings, wrappings, and unwrappings. Her legs will all get trimmed up to her elbows - all the way around. I would rather have a peculiar looking Clydesdale in the pasture than a mare with broken out legs. I think this lovely mare would agree with me, too. She seems "lighter" in her walk and much more of a horse since we began this cycle. Already a difference in her stance and movements.
What a joy to care for the ones that no one else is willing to care for! What a joy to have them stand quietly and trust you! Oh, I wish I could be a big horse for 10 seconds so I could get close to her and scratch her withers!! So I could, in horse language, tell her, "Thank you, Brave Girl!"
Even in the raw cold and the rain, Clyde Mare received exceptional cares last evening. She was trimmed all the way around and her right rear leg was thoroughly cleaned. Hunted, massaged, and cleaned. She gave us visible signs that the work was worth it - the rosy pink tissue and a full, long elimination of the water removed from her leg by the massaging. Plus, when I turned her out, she trotted out of the barn!
Thanks for Jeanne D. and Brian R. for their dedication to the routine and this mare. Even in one short week, the improvement in size and smell tells us all that good, solid progress is being made. This mare has a future! A good, being-a-horse future!!
Last night, I retrieved Clyde Mare from the fresh grasses and asked her to come into the barn with me so I could remove her wrap and dry clean her leg. She did so and with a few votes of dissent. But with steady pressure, she relented. And then I had an idea.
I put treats and feed in a bucket and put the bucket in the middle of the driveway. I unrolled the hose and turned it on so it was ready for us. Out to the driveway we went.
ClydeMare was a bit suspicious of that hose, but when she felt it was just water, she relaxed and began eating her dinner. I spent the next 15 minutes giving her legs a bath, scrubbing, and digging out those little critters that love her flesh so much. When she finished her meal, she stood a bit longer and then we retreated back out to the pasture.
Her leg was bright pink, clean, not bleeding, and as free of critters as possible. The size of the leg was noticeably down and she walked freely and without stress. The entire episode was without much stress and seemed much easier on her and better for her leg than the previous routine.
So tonight, we will try the same thing. I can do this while Faline, Josephina, and Budd are eating. And this, it appears, may be the trick to getting that leg to cooperate.
What a girl! After the first few minutes, I just tossed the lead up over her wet withers. She didn't even need to be held. What a girl. What a girl!