Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ellie – 04/30/09

It’s Ellie’s four week anniversary today and I’m happy to say that her spooky evil twin went on vacation, hopefully for good. Within a few days of my last post she started calming back down and enjoying human interaction again. Glenn still can’t get near her unless I’m with her, but he doesn’t get to spend as much time with her as I do.

She’s been out with the main herd for almost two weeks, but spends most of her day pacing the fence and calling to me to open the gate and let her out into the yard. Yes, she’s a bit spoiled. The rest of the horses can’t figure out what her problem is as they continue to graze on the spring grass coming up in the pasture.

She’s down to three feedings a day now:

6AM – 2 quarts beet pulp, 1 quart 12% sweet feed, 2 cups rice bran, electrolytes, 1/2 cup flax seed

2PM - 1 quart beet pulp, 1/2 quart 12% sweet feed

8pm – 2 quarts beet pulp, 1 quart 12% sweet feed, and 2 cups rice bran.

You can still see her ribs and hip bones, but at least now when she lays down her stomach sticks up higher than those hips! Her hair is coming back in where rain rot had made her bald and the open sores that she had in numerous places have healed up and are growing over with hair. She’s still overly sensitive about being touched in the girth area and jumps away whenever I try to brush her there.

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Her vulva infection has cleared up and she’s starting to play with the other horses more often, trotting and cantering around the pasture whenever the mood hits her. She’s got a lovely free flowing trot and a lope that looks wonderfully smooth. In another two weeks I’ll start ground work with her to increase muscle mass and get her back to where she should be.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ellie – 04/16/09

Ellie is gaining weight fast and is strong enough to go out with the main herd this weekend.  Since she’s been out free grazing in the yard, she’s already sniffed noses over the fence with most the herd, so the introduction should go pretty smoothly.  I haven’t had the heart to put her back in the quarantine pasture.  She’s become a fixture in the yard (and in my strawberry patch), but she longs to be with the herd.  The herd offers protection, companionship… and plus she’s really got a crush on Gentry.

Her back is mostly bald from me scrubbing off all of the rain rot, but her new coat is coming in and I think she’ll be stunning in another month or so.  She’s also got a lot of bald places all over her body, probably from the lice she had.

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Last Saturday, the eleventh, she got a 250lb dose of Quest gel wormer.  On Tuesday, she expelled a foot long worm, about 1.5” wide.  I’ll spare you the picture.  Next Wednesday she’ll get another 250lb dose of wormer and she’s also still on the daily Strongid C wormer.

Her personality is coming out now that she’s feeling better and has more energy.  She’s a jumpy little mare that spooks at shadows and no longer wants me around unless I have food.  She’s friendly enough while eating, and comes up to me every time I go outside in the hopes that I have more food on me.  As soon as she realizes I’m without grain, she leaves before I can get very close. 

Overall, I’m very pleased with her progress so far.  At this rate, she should be back up to normal in another few weeks.

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Sunday, April 5, 2009

Ellie – 04/05/09

The feed regimen we had setup for Ellie is not going to work.  She’s getting so full on grass, that she just nibbles from her bucket now and then and never finishes one meal before the next meal time comes around.  So for now I’m just leaving the bucket out there for her and filling it again when she finally empties it.   The fact that she is no longer bolting her food the second I give it to her tells me that she is past feeling that each meal will be her last.  She seems to know that the bucket will be there for her whenever she wants it and she can take her dear sweet time to eat it.

Now that she’s feeling a little stronger, I’ve moved the mineral block to one area, feed her in another, and have the trough in a totally separate area.  She has to walk up and down hills to get from one to the other.  This makes her move around more to get to what she wants – hence more exercise.  Now that she’s got a full belly and a little more energy, exercise will be an important part of her recovery. 

I’ve also added whole flax seed to her diet.  Flax seed gets oily and slippery when soaked, which will not only help keep the digestive system moving, but will also help her skin and coat.  I’m also putting healing salve on the girth area sores:

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This makes me wonder how badly her harness fit her and how much weight she was made to pull last Fall at the county fair.  I’m going to try and track someone down that may recognize her from the fair and see what I can find out.

We picked up some Panalog for her vulva infection yesterday and she’s such a good sport about having it applied!  As long as it’s attention and isn’t painful, she’s all for it.

The good news is that she now feels safe enough to lie down and get some much needed rest.  Today was the first day we saw her go down and there was no hesitation about it.  She sniffed the ground, pawed it twice, then dropped.  She didn’t roll, but wiggled around a bit like she was getting comfortable then dropped her head, closed her eyes, and she was out.

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What a beautiful sight. :)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Ellie – 04/04/09

Doc came out to take a look at Ellie this morning.   He confirmed a few things that we already knew:   she’s 400 pounds underweight, she’s three years old instead of five, and she’s a 1 on the Henneke body condition scale for horses.

Here are a few things I didn’t know or hadn’t noticed yet.

1) She has a mild heart murmur.  This could be something that she had previously that she will always have, even when healthy, or it could be because of being so underweight, in which case it should go away once she’s healthy again.

2) She has an infection in her vulva.

3) She is practically bald under her belly, with open sores and rub marks on the girth area.'

4) Out of all the skinny horses Doc has seen this Winter, Ellie is the worst.

5) Her teeth are cracked and chipped, likely from eating sticks and/or rocks for lack of anything else to chew on.  Remind you of a certain black lab rescued back in December out in Colorado?

We also took off the one remaining shoe this morning before Doc arrived and tried filing down the other very long hoof.  She could only stand for a few minutes, so when she tried laying down on us we let her be and we’ll finish the pedicure later when she’s stronger.

I discussed my feeding regimen with Doc and here’s how we’re starting out.

6AM – 2 cups 12% Sweet Feed, Strongid C, 2 cups beet pulp, one cup rice bran, Source and Red Cell

10AM, 2PM, 6PM, 10PM – same amount of sweet feed, beet pulp, and rice bran.

I’ll slowly increase the quantities over the next two weeks.  She has free access to all the grass and quality hay that she wants, as well as a trace mineral block and all the water she can drink.

Doc said it best, when he said “there are only two ways this can go --either she’ll get better, or she’ll die, because she can’t get any worse.”