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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A vet makes a house call.

Foxsun has been living on the lawn behind the oak tree I planted 11 years ago and in front of the honeysuckle. That's the place he's decided to call home and so we put his hay, salt/mineral lick, grain and water there.

He enjoys a little walk about to graze here and there, always returning to his spot. Saturday we had to go to Spokane which is about 75+ miles from here. While there I was anxious, agitated and worried about Foxsun. I couldn't relax. We returned after dark and I dashed into the house to get light to check on him but when I got back outside he was there in the driveway, next to the car, watching Brad and William unload the groceries. He must have known we were gone and was happy to see us return. I gave him all the treats he would eat.

Tuesday Foxsun had a very special visitor. It was the young vet who floated his teeth last fall. He came in his mobile vet clinic.

He comes twice a month to Odessa from a town 50 miles away. I gave him the lab results from the from the Spring, explained in detail Foxsun's weight loss and gain over the last year and the treatments Foxsun has had so far. I told him I'd wormed him three times this year so far and also told him I'd just conducted a 'poop in the mason jar sand test' where I found only well digested poop. He poked and prodded Foxsun wanting to know every detail of Foxsun's decline and treatment. We told him we'd been giving Fox penicillin g and how he rallied at first. The vet said we should have been giving him more than twice as much over what the label said. Foxsun's heart rate is normal meaning he's not in pain but the pitted edema under his belly concerned him.

Then the young vet get on the phone to WSU (Washington State University) vet clinic and talked for quiet some time.

Brad and Fox wait in the shade.

The vet drew blood and gave him a big injection of selenium. He's sending the blood out and when the results come back we'll have a better idea how to treat him. He too is worried about him going into the cold weather so skinny and says it's probably up to Foxsun if he makes it. Foxsun wants to live!

Foxsun is now on very large doses of antibiotics until we have a better idea of what is going on. He has been eating much better. He never bothered to eat the lawn that I let grow for a month but was very entertained watching me mow it with my lawn tractor. His head poked out under the branches of the beech tree and he kept his eyes on me as I raced about cutting the grass. Soon as the lawn was very short he started to graze on it!

I think the selenium helped him because last night he was grazing all over the place. I was taking a swim and William said he could see him making his way up the bluff so I called him and to my surprise he not only came down but walked up to the pool to see what I wanted. I swam underwater and popped up in front of him saying "Boo"! He was very amused and this morning we caught him drinking out of the pool! It's OK though because the pool is in need of treatment and so he wasn't drinking chlorine.

I didn't sleep well last night. I kept thinking of ways we could keep him warm this winter. I even had a dream I put him in the root cellar that's dug into the side of the hill. I finally got up at 3:30 am to check on him and found him in his spot. He nickered quietly when he saw me. I gave him more grain and carrots and went back to bed.

He's not giving up, neither are we.


Linda said...

Glad the vet came out. Do you have salt blocks with selenium in them? That's the only way I give selenium, but maybe it's not good enough--so I'm curious. My older guy is more ribby this year than normal. I may blanket him through winter. And, he's on an alfalfa diet again. Keeping my fingers crossed!

You're giving Foxsun a wonderful life. When he decides to go it won't because he wasn't welcome with you!

arlene said...

Yes, we have selenium in the salt blocks and also it's in the Red Cell. The vet said it wasn't enough though and this shot will last him three months. I'm going to buy Fox a warm blanket to wear when it gets colder. I gave him alfalfa tonight and he started eating it :) He had been refusing alfalfa and his senior ration. I try to keep as many different foods in front of him because he's become such a picky eater. The vet even suggested trying grass straw because he seems to like the yellow dead looking grasses.. anything to keep the food going through him. Thankfully he's eating some grain again.

Ylva said...

So glad to hear he is doing better!

One winter when we had really low protein hay all the horses lost a lot of weight even though we tried to compensate with alfalfa. It took them over a year to really become "normal looking" again.

I didn't realise at the time but I think now that it could be partly because all their mineral and vitamin deposits were all depleted from the initial weight loss.
Had we given them more minerals they might have regained their normal metabolism and muscles and body fat faster.
Hopefully your vet is on the right track now!

It would be interesting to hear if he thinks depleted mineral and vitamin deposits in the horse's body could have something to do with the agonizingly slow weight gain...

Andrea -Mustang Saga said...

It must feel good to have some more info and a new plan of action. I hope he really starts to improve!

Kara said...

It's good to get second opinions...and I know I've heard mixed reviews of people sending horses to WSU, but you can't deny that by working with them you do get a "team" of people that have a lot of experience and have seen sometime unexplainable cases...

arlene said...

I'm glad your horses recovered and it's interesting it took so long. In our area we have extremely low selenium in the soil. It causes a disease in new calves called white muscle disease which is deadly. He nibbles his salt/mineral lick but I have to give him minerals etc in an old worming syringe because he has become a picky eater. I'm going to make sure he gets it everyday even though it's so messy and the iron in it stains my clothes.