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*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘Cayenne

Pain Transfered

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Don’t let this image fool you. Delilah is almost completely back to her old self.

Tuesday, when I got home from work, Delilah was so full of energy that she wouldn’t leave Cyndie alone. After they came in from a walk, Delilah grabbed one of her squeaky toys and begged Cyndie to chase her around the house.

When Cyndie laid down on the bed for a moment, Delilah started repeatedly hopping straight into the air for more attention.

If she has any leftover pain, it wasn’t readily apparent.

Last night I gave her a fraction of a walk, keeping the leash short so she would walk beside me, at my pace. She strained to speed me up the whole way.

Every indication is that she is feeling just fine again.

On the other hand, or I could say, hoof… Cayenne seems to have picked up where Delilah’s pain left off. That mare has suddenly become almost incapacitated over an apparent flare-up of laminitis in her front feet again, particularly the side that hadn’t previously been giving her as much trouble.

It is heartbreaking to watch her struggle to move. I immediately isolated her from having access to grazing in the pastures, closing her into the smaller paddock. It seems like too little, too late, to completely turn the tide for this condition which is proving to be rather chronic for her.

Cyndie said Cayenne didn’t show signs of a problem earlier in the day, so maybe by cutting off her grass-grazing right away, this flare-up can be calmed quickly. I fear it is all part of a trend for Cayenne that may be out of our control to alleviate.

We’ve spent the summer watching George shape her hooves in increments to improve the orientation and provide her some relief, but it is a long, slow process because you can’t trim too much at a time. Now, just when we were hoping to have her beyond this problem, she is showing a turn for the worse.

We’re very happy to have Delilah free of pain, but seeing an extreme discomfort move from one of our animals to another puts a damper on our urge to celebrate our dog’s improvement.

When our animals hurt, it tends to inflict a fair amount of sympathetic pain in us, too.

Ouch.

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Written by johnwhays

October 12, 2017 at 6:00 am

Cayenne’s Magic

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One of the truest sayings is that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. For some reason the last couple of days for Cayenne, it had become downright irresistible.

On Thursday evening, after we had walked the trash bin down to the end of the driveway with Delilah, Cyndie decided to open one of the paddock gates to the hay-field for the horses. They are well-familiar with the timing of being given access to the grass after the sun gets low, and calmly joined her as she neared the gate.

I stood on the driveway with Delilah and watched as the horses stepped out. Cayenne immediately walked up to the arena web fence, almost as if she was going to go right through it, then stopped and leaned over in attempt to graze.

I chuckled and commented over the obvious display of her interest. We know they like the short grass, and we keep the arena space closely cropped, but with the entire hay-field –now also cut short and open to their access– one would think they would be satisfied with the availability of the wide open acreage.

Regardless, Cayenne kept her focus on the arena grass. The other horses seemed satisfied with the grass right beneath their feet in the alleyway, but Cayenne moved along the web, continuing to seek access to the shortest grass.

I saw trouble coming the instant she put her head between the two lines of web and warned Cyndie, who was already trying to get around the other horses to redirect Cayenne’s attention. Before Cyndie arrived to back her up, Cayenne managed to make a mess of things, bending a step-in post and popping the web off in a mini-panic to extricate herself.

It was safest at this point to let her proceed forward, instead of getting her to back out. Of course, now the rest of the horses wanted in, so when Cyndie opened the access point to move Cayenne out, they all pushed in to join the fun. After some grumbly coercion, Cyndie got them all out and fixed up the fence.

We thought that was that on the issue, …until yesterday morning.

After breakfast, as we wandered down the driveway toward our first project of the day, we found Cayenne all by herself in the middle of the arena, looking guilty as hell while trying to project an aura of innocence. What was most shocking about it was that the web fence was perfectly intact and the access closed.

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Did she jump over to get in? Did she figure out how to step her four feet over without snagging the web? We have no idea.

The mystery will go down as simply being Cayenne’s magic.

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Written by johnwhays

September 23, 2017 at 8:46 am

Precious Protector

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Conditions weren’t ideal to assess Cayenne’s status yesterday, because the first days of March this year brought us a classic spring thunderstorm that showed up under a very-early-in-the-year Tornado Watch. It unfolded with uncharacteristically warm temps, high winds, LOTS of lightning, plenty of thunder, and finally, some pea-sized hail.

Cyndie moved the horses into the barn before the wild weather ultimately let loose, but she did have one interesting anecdote to share from a little earlier.

Whenever the wind is blowing, it puts the horses on edge, so they were already a little skittish when Cyndie was moving among the herd brushing out their shedding winter coats. As she was working with Hunter, a tractor in our neighbor’s field roared to life and startled the younger gelding into a little emergency evacuation drill.

Dezirea happened to be blocking his first escape route, so he faltered in his anxious reaction and suddenly appeared as though he wanted to go through Cyndie to get away.

Cyndie explains it all as happening in a split second, but she had time to have her own thoughts of panic and admonished Hunter not to run her over.

In that same instant, our somewhat hobbled patient in the new shoes overcame her tentative maneuvering and rushed to the scene, placing her body between Cyndie and Hunter, forcing him to make one last adjustment and exit, stage opposite.

Cayenne is obviously doing well enough to think fast and move even faster.

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Written by johnwhays

March 7, 2017 at 7:00 am

First Shoes

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Baby gots new shoes! Sadly, it’s not all fun that led to this milestone for Cayenne. She has shown virtually no improvement in the last week with her painful inflammation of the tissue that connects the hoof wall to bones in her hoof. Cyndie has put in extra time with the horses to get them indoors overnight, where the footing is soft and the horses can spend extra time safely off their feet.img_ip1960e

Cayenne has also been receiving regular doses of anti-inflammatory medicine. Still, she continues to show signs of being so uncomfortable that she will resist walking down to the waterer to get a drink. Cyndie put out an additional bucket of water to accommodate Cayenne’s trepidation over crossing the crunchy distance to the usual waterer.

When the vet visited to confirm Cayenne’s laminitis diagnosis, he listed options related to the pending farrier appointment for our horses regular trim. He assured us that George would know what to do.

We started with a modified trim to help distribute the weight away from the most tender pressure point of Cayenne’s hooves. Since improvement was not apparent, we moved to the next level. Cayenne would get shoes.

Not just shoes, but also a leather pad that George enhances with the addition of a special void-filling concoction to maximize the protection of her sensitive tissues.

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img_ip1966eGeorge gave us extra attention at the end of his work day to squeeze in time giving Cayenne her first-ever experience of nails pounding into her hooves. She responded as well as we imagined possible and though obviously uncomfortable, stood long and calm while George fit the shoes and hammered them home.

Cyndie held the lead with a handful of hay as a ready distraction and Cayenne accepted the pounding on her feet as though she understood it was for a greater good.

The shoes are only on her front two feet, as those are the primary weight-bearing two and are giving her the most trouble.

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George finished the job with an application of hoof sealer that gave her a shiny look of high fashion. I’m sure she will be the talk of the herd with her new fancy feet.  Now we continue the anti-inflammatory meds and watch for improvement.

Hopefully, her pain will ease and we’ll have our healthy old Cayenne back to full activity in the shortest time possible.

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Written by johnwhays

March 5, 2017 at 11:07 am

Fading Fast

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It’s March alright. Snow melts in the rising spring sun as fast as it falls from the late-winter clouds. It kind of resembles my motivation some days.

dscn5879eThree days this week started with a covering of fresh, white snow. The first morning was so fresh, it was still falling out of the sky. The drive to work was a maze of crunched cars that had spun out and crashed into each other and flashing blue emergency lights. Those of us successfully navigating the slippery mess were forced to move from one side of the freeway to the other, alternating back and forth to get around the frequent closed lanes.

Over the last two days, the snow has been mostly melted by the time I got home in the afternoon. It must be time for high school hockey and basketball tournaments. In my lifetime the March tournaments became synonymous with classic winter storms that delivered oodles of snow accumulation.

I have a feeling that association is fading along with the rest of what we used to know as winter around these parts.

Meanwhile, Cayenne is causing us increasing concern with her laminitis induced lameness. She hasn’t improved enough for us to feel the anti-inflammatory doses and overnights in the barn are making a difference. George is here this weekend and we are talking about putting some shoes and pads on her feet.

We don’t know if it will freak her out to have shoes on, but it is worth the attempt since George tells us there is no harm in trying. It will at least feel like we’re not giving up on her. Otherwise, we just fret over her lack of improvement.

img_ip0001echAt the same time, we are also a little more concerned about Delilah, having now done some reading on “hot spots” after learning about the condition from Steve and Liz’s comments. Seems like a reasonably likely diagnosis to us, but the range of possible causes have us a little stumped.

Fleas? Allergies? We hope not.

I think she’s probably frustrated over not getting a full season of cold and snow.

Cyndie captured this portrait with a snow-frosted snout yesterday morning. Delilah does show a good fondness for the white stuff.

It’s a little curious that we just had her groomed last week and are now seeing an issue that can be a result of lack of grooming. There is also a possibility she is allergic to a shampoo the groomer used, but the reaction seems rather delayed for that to have been a trigger.

So, one horse and one dog are a little out of sorts for us. With winter fading fast, it would be nice to have the animals returning to peak health before the next challenges arrive.

I seem to recall a plan of adding chickens around here this spring to aid in controlling the tick and fly populations. More creatures to be concerned about.

I tell ya, this caring for animals life is not for sissies!

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Written by johnwhays

March 3, 2017 at 7:00 am

Tender Footed

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Last week, Cyndie mentioned to me that Cayenne looked a little uncomfortable on her feet. The next morning I confirmed back to Cyndie that Cayenne definitely was hurting. I brought out the morning pans of feed for the 4 horses and she didn’t move from her position down in the paddock.

Aware that she was having some problem, I chose to accommodate her and carry a pan down to where she was standing. I stopped one step short to see if she would move at all to get to the pan I had placed on the ground in front of her. She did, one hesitant step.

That morning, the tree trimmers were just pulling in and that startled the herd, sending the other 3 rushing down from the overhang, leaving their rations unfinished. Now they all wanted to eat from Cayenne’s pan. She didn’t move.

I lingered with the horses and watched as Legacy bit her in the butt a couple of times. I couldn’t tell if he wanted her to move, but one theory of Cyndie’s is that he is checking to see if he would be able to make her move in an emergency. It is very important to him as herd leader to know how serious her condition is, which then directs his decision-making, accounting for whatever her limitations may be.

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She was not at all happy with his probing, and let him know in several ways, without ever moving a step. While I was standing with them, I noticed she was yawning frequently and then trying to get bites of snow from the mostly icy ground cover. I considered her usual behavior, which is to get a drink immediately after eating and decided I would offer her a bucket of water in case she was so uncomfortable she didn’t want to walk to the waterer.

That made her happy. She guzzled away at my offering.

Not knowing what else I could do for her, I decided to spend some time cleaning out the waterer while watching to see if her behavior would change. Somehow, while I was focused for a minute on scrubbing green scum away, she stealthily made her way over to the raised circle and was munching emphatically on hay.

It was shocking, because it seemed like I had looked away for a second, and somehow she just “beamed” from one spot to another.

A short time later, I watched her walk up the hill to the hay boxes under the overhang. My analysis was, she was definitely uncomfortable for some reason, but she wasn’t incapacitated by whatever the problem was.

Her behavior wavered better and worse over the weekend, so Cyndie asked the vet to stop by yesterday afternoon. After talking things through with him, our general consensus was likely bruising of the sensitive pads of her feet on the rough, icy terrain of late. This led to inflammation and resulted in her evident pain.

Cyndie had some anti-inflammatory pain-killer to give Cayenne and we are going to monitor for a change in her symptoms. The vet offered some alternative possibilities and decided to take a blood sample to check the function of her thyroid.

Here’s hoping she feels better soon and bruising is the only problem she has to face in this case. It’s tough seeing our most tender-hearted horse be so tender-footed.

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Written by johnwhays

February 22, 2017 at 7:00 am

Sticky Mess

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Sure, it’s beautiful, but it was a sticky, wet mess of a snowfall yesterday. Today’s episode of the ongoing saga that is our adventures on the ranch involves wet horses, warm winter precipitation, Christmas preparations, and knee replacement recovery.

Who could this be?

dscn5628eWhy, it’s none other than our stoic herd leader, Legacy. The wet snow had given his long winter coat a curly design that called out to me for a close-up photograph. I find it interesting that so many of his little ringlets contain a strand of color.

A first impression generally perceives him as a white horse, but he does have a subtle distribution of color to him.

I was walking Delilah around the perimeter of the hay-field fence and the horses were out standing in the wet precipitation in the far distance of the field. The horses are well familiar with our routine of trekking this path and most days pay us little attention. Yesterday, at a moment of pause for Delilah to bury her nose in the snow in search of some potential snack, I noticed Cayenne’s energy kick up a bit toward us.

dscn5626eI stepped up to the fence and invited them over, and to my surprise, they came! It is funny how Legacy reacts to these situations, as Cayenne was definitely the instigator and leading the way, but he makes sure to get right on her flank as leader and protector.

When they have closed the distance, he takes command and steps up to make first contact. The other three obediently concede his authority and stay back a length or two.

We visited for a bit and I took pictures of them. Then it was time to move on with Delilah and the herd responded immediately to my movement by turning and running off through the snow back to the fence line in the distance from which they had come. It was a gorgeous visual, their playful equine energy gallivanting away through the falling wet flakes.

They knew what was on the other end of Delilah’s and my little walk. We completed our loop and made our way back to the barn to do the daily afternoon housekeeping, serve up pans of feed, and refill the hay boxes.

I decided to wait out the falling wet snow before starting the plowing and shoveling routine, so spent the afternoon wrapping Christmas gifts and doing laundry. Cyndie had her last in-home physical therapy session and achieved the milestone of reaching 120° bend on the leg with the new knee. She has completely ditched the walker and is getting around with just a cane.

She went on her first outing last night to a Christmas party of the Wildwood Lodge Club clan, the community of families with vacation homes on Big Round Lake near Hayward, WI.

I can see some light at the end of the tunnel of full responsibility for chores around here, and none too soon. I am exhausted. I think the horses miss seeing Cyndie, and I have to admit, I’m growing tired of being their primary caregiver. It’s a bit much when I am also working full-time an hour’s drive away. Add in the requirement of walking Delilah several times a day and my candle is burning at all three ends.

Happily, Cyndie is active again in the kitchen, so at least I’m no longer needing to pretend I have skills there. The next two days will be a whirlwind of driving to and fro from the ranch to Cyndie’s parents’ house for Christmas events.

I hope I can stay awake behind the wheel.

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Written by johnwhays

December 24, 2016 at 8:08 am