Hard to believe that February has come and gone. For being retired from the pediatric clinic where I was working when Covid struck, I have been busier than can be on our Albergue Garcia Farm. Most of my time has been taken up being an ICU nurse and caregiver for my horse, Gracie. As you know, she has severe laminitis and has been having a very hard time pulling out of this attack on her 2 front feet. She got by on Banamine for her pain and Prascend for her Cushing’s Disease for weeks but then started going down hill and not wanting to get up as much as before. Kenny Gee, Gracie’s amazing and loving farrier recommended I get a second vet opinion to see if there was something that we had been missing that might could help her. Here is Kenny and his wife Rocky after he trimmed her feet and put the Soft Ride Boots with Orthotics on her front feet.
So I called Colorado Equine Vet and Dr. Jody Morris came out and examined her and drew some blood for lab tests and gave a list of medication and care orders for me to care for Gracie.
First we moved her from her paddock to the barn stall with a much smaller space of about 12 ft by 26 ft for her to convalesce. This would be her “horspital” for however many weeks deemed necessary by the vet. She is near her water and the area is padded with a thick layer of straw that we change out for her twice a day for her to lie down on as she needs. Look at her sweet upside down heart on her side.
She is on a low starch grain now made by Nutrena and we soak her hay for 20 minutes in water and drain it before giving it to her. To soak the hay I repurposed my antique double metal sink. I used this when I was having to do laundry in the back yard this past summer when my washing machine broke in the middle of Covid when we could not go in to the store and ordering one online took forever as they were backlogged.
Oh Boy, what a time that was. Well, the darn thing works like a charm. Improvise, improvise as always when living on a farm. We now use one side of the metal sink to soak the hay and the other side to drain the hay. We have continued her on the Prascend and have started her on levothyroxine and this has really stimulated her appetite which is a good thing as she was starting to lose a lot of weight. We also started her on Pentoxy, a vasodilator to help increase nourishing blood flow to her laminitic front legs. She takes 8 tablets twice daily of this. Dr. Morris helped me with a weaning schedule to get Gracie off the NSAID, Banamine which can injure her kidneys and on to Tylenol twice daily. Yes, Tylenol! She takes 17 of the 500mg Tylenol caplets per dose. She is also on Gastrogard once a day which is horse Omeprazole to protect her stomach. Getting Gracie to take all of these medications has been a challenge and I have done a lot of experimenting in what is the best way to get her meds in. I tried putting the tablets in a ziplock bag and crushing them first with a rolling pin and then with a hammer but the baggie would get punctured and the tablet crumbles would escape. I tried grinding the tablets with a mortar and pestle but this was hard and tedious and Gracie would complain about any chunk of tablet that got in her mouth. I tried dissolving the tablets in water but they did not dissolve well at all. The best way I have found is to put the tablets in a small electric coffee grinder and presto they are ground to a fine powder just like that!
I then mix the powder with a little carrot juice with her Nutrena low starch grain in a small feed bucket and she eats it all gone! Because of the cold we have been keeping a blanket on her unless we have a sunny day above freezing.
So with all this effort Gracie is a little better. I am thankful for that. Dr. Morris has been optimistic and is coming out to follow up on her tomorrow. Gracie and I have been learning a lot about each other spending so much time together. I am learning to be more patient with her and understanding on her bad days. She is very tolerant of me getting her meds in her, taking her blanket off and on, cleaning her stall etc. I sing to her and she whinnies to me. We know that we are both doing the best we can do and for each of us that is rewarding and enough. We had a good day together today and for that we are both thankful. One day at a time. The Lord has been good to us.
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body, and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord, And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.