Monday, February 16, 2009

Two Weeks In Review

For Faith, the past two weeks have meant:
- a never-ending supply of hay and fresh water
- 6" of clean, soft bedding
- warm blankets
- interviews and pictures with reporters
- numerous vet visits
- hours of grooming by my students
- hours of bandaging by myself
- repeated and successful attempts to outsmart the evil paste syringe
...and the comforting feeling of finally being home.

For ME, the past two weeks have been:
- stressful
- an emotional roller coaster
- humbling from the support we’ve received
- hell for thinking of what she was put through
- bittersweet to know she’ll never go through it again
- sheer exhaustion from countless sleepless nights
- constant doubting if she had the strength to pull through
- repeated and unsuccessful attempts to outsmart that old mare
- and the feeling that I get when she looks into my eyes and says, "Thank you," in her own special way,
…all rolled into one.

Faith’s Outlook
Faith has made huge improvements in just two short weeks. It was enough of a miracle that we found her in time, but even more so that she is pulling through this ordeal with flying colors. Here is an update on her condition as well as some possible issues she may face in the future due to her malnourishment.

1) We might as well start with the most obvious of them all: her weight. It is estimated that she needs to gain at least 350 pounds and we are beginning to notice that she has already put on a few of them. Her eating habits are great – she eats like a… well, an animal! Her dental work has definitely helped her digestive process out.

2) Her hind end lameness and weakness is the next biggest concern as it could affect her comfort and use for the rest of her life. The instability from this weakness is one that we are always cautious of when working around her. One wrong step or an over correction of balance could send her crashing down. This weakness could be a muscle problem, it could be from her suspensories, (see below,) or perhaps even from something else. That will be determined months down the road when we can correctly evaluate her after she gains weight and begins building muscle mass.

3) The suspensory ligaments in her hind legs are extremely weak, and sadly, we do not foresee them ever returning to normal. Her hind pasterns are set at very low angles because of her stretched suspensories and this will definitely have an impact on her future comfort and use.

4) Although the radiographs of her left front pastern came back fairly clean, the clubbed hoof on that same leg will continue to be a problem even with corrective shoeing.

5) The infections on the insides of her hind legs are nearly healed. We are having trouble with one of the abscesses (the largest one) that just refuses to give up. It is cleaned and wrapped twice a day, every day. We are assuming that this is taking so long because her immune system was so depleted.

Overall, it could have been much, much worse. She has made it through this ordeal without major health problems and it looks as though she will at least be comfortable enough to be a companion animal in the future. It would be great if we could eventually give her a job as a riding horse, but it is way too soon to determine if that will even be a possibility. All that matters is that she's safe and sound now.


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