Sunday, February 8, 2009

She Could Barely Stand 3 Days Ago...

Faith has been with us for 6 days now. Over the past few she has made steady improvements. Her attitude is improving tremendously; for once she seems eager for the different activities that are planned for her each day. (With the exception of her medicine, which you all know about by now. More on that at the end of this post!) We haven't had any colic episodes or other major complications for three nights and counting. (I'm slowly catching up on my sleep deprivation, but now appear to be coming down with a nasty cold due to it.)

Anyone who has seen Faith move knows that she is very gawky on her legs, especially her hind end. We're assuming her unique movement is primarily due to her malnourishment and muscle atrophy, which translates to her lack of coordination and lack of strength. She moves slowly, always making sure she is stable on one leg before moving another. Coming out of her stall is tough: one slow step at a time, never more than one foot off of the ground at any given moment. Turning around in the barn aisle is even more difficult for her. However, she is improving steadily, and she hasn’t even been here for a full week yet. Once she is up to a decent weight, we will proceed with a lameness exam to determine if there are any other underlying issues. For now our main concern is getting her comfortable and slowly beginning to increase her weight and muscle mass.

This morning was Faith’s best one yet. We skipped our morning walk and went right to changing bandages and wraps, and administering her meds. After I was done, we went to the arena and I let her loose. Once free of her halter, she did something that made me speechless – she began TROTTING down to the end of the arena, went around the corner, and came back through diagonally! This horse who could barely walk six days ago and was unable to stand on her own three nights ago, was TROTTING all on her own! I stood there frozen in amazement, tears welling up in my eyes. I poked my head out of the arena and called to Dan who was working on the tractor. “She’s trotting!” I yelled, barely able to get the words out without breaking up. He looked confused, came over to see her and smiled. Our girl just might pull through after all…

After about a dozen or so bites of hay, Faith informed me that I had not yet brought her friend out to play yet, and she was clearly upset with me. She began whinnying for Amy as loud as she could, the sound of her voice echoing off of the arena walls. I ran into the barn, brought Amy out of her stall and we trotted back to the arena. I let Amy loose and they immediately walked up to each other and sniffed noses. Amy let out another squeal, just because, and they began eating breakfast together.

Later in the afternoon a student needed the arena and I brought the girls back into the barn. I noticed something amazing - Faith's blanket had sand on it! That means one thing, and one thing only: she had laid down and gotten back up all on her own! This was a first and I was thrilled for her!

Faith happily munching on some hay. (Notice how the outline of her spine and pelvis is visible through her blankets?)

I had to post this picture because I love the face she's making...

Update on her meds, or "TOMA" as it is now called:

Before I begin, I would like to point out that this mare is SMAAAAART.

Many of you have posted comments and sent emails suggesting other ways that we can get her meds into her, all of which are greatly appreciated! Now that she is on light amounts of grain, we have begun tests to determine how we can get her medicine into her and not all over us. She is currently given about a half a quart of hay stretcher and 3/4 quart of Equine Senior twice a day. Due to the limited amount of feed and the high amount of meds, it is becoming increasingly difficult (read as: wholly impossible) to trick her into consuming it with her breakfasts and dinners.

Forgoing the bute (because it supposedly has a nasty flavor, not that I know for certain because I haven't personally tried it, nor have any plans to!) we tried mixing just the SMZ's and her grain together. The first bite she spit out, and refused to eat the rest of it.

I soaked hay stretcher until it was a mash and added the SMZ's to it - not even close. She spit out the first bite and then glared at me. She's one of those mares...

Unfortunately I cannot think of anything else to add to it to cover the taste. We cannot add certain things to it, just as Molasses, as the sugar content is too high and we do not want to overload her digestive system. I've tried adding carrots and other low-sugar treats to it with no luck.

It looks like we'll have to continue with TOMA for at least another week until we can increase the amounts of her grain and hay stretcher so it will dilute the taste of her meds.



  1. TROTTING - wooo hooo!

  2. i used to volunteer at a horse rescue; on the pickier older horses we'd flavor their food/meds with sugar-free cherry flavoring. I don't know who exactly manufactured it but maybe some of these would work? Good luck with her, she is one very lucky horse!

  3. I had a pony mare that way, needed to give her meds and she was having no part of it, until I shared my Cinnamon Roll instant oatmeal with her! She ate it up every time.

  4. Applesauce. Mix in applesauce with the feed and it masks the bitter taste of the bute. I haven't met a horse yet that won't gobble it up. You can use the sugar free kind to avoid the complications you might have with molasses.

  5. On the odd occasion i have had to give Sante oral meds, we've had drama's, so I spent an afternoon feeding him molasses (you can use apple sauce / or apple juice) in the syringe. He picked it up so quickly, i got him to the stage where he would just drop his head on my shoulder and i was able to "drench" him no worries. When it came around to giving bute / worming and the like, it was a no brainer, he just drops his head on my shoulder & off we go!