Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘laminitis

How’s Everybody?

with 2 comments

Basically, we are all good, but there are some health concerns that continue to linger for some of the Wintervale crew. Time has not healed all wounds.

After the most recent hoof trimming, Cayenne’s showing a tiny bit of improvement. What we cling to there is that she is, at the very least, not worse. She still shows a fair amount of hesitation on her movements, but she doesn’t appear to be in extreme pain.

It’s possible she may have developed a habit of anticipating pain, and she still limps because that is what she has grown used to doing. It sometimes looks like she steps gingerly to protect herself, not because it hurts too much to walk normal.

Now, Delilah, on the other hand, is behaving quite the opposite. She keeps trying to act like she is fine, but continues to have moments of extreme pain. On Tuesday, we resorted to ordering x-rays of her spine and a more thorough blood analysis.

The results of her blood work are not in yet, but the x-ray showed a minor compression between discs 3 and 4. We were told there also appeared to be some abnormal marks or possible lesions on those vertebrae, which the vet is hoping the blood analysis will inform.

We have returned to restricting her movements to a bare minimum. Regardless, she continues to maintain a pretty happy attitude between moments of looking like she’d prefer to do nothing more than lay down and convalesce.

It’s been a long summer of rehabilitation for Cyndie’s shoulder, but it’s not over yet. She continues to have regular physical therapy appointments to improve range of motion. The good news after her most recent follow-up with the surgeon was that he deemed it unnecessary to put her under and break the scar tissue by force. The bad news was the alternative being extended PT with painful aggressive measures to do the same thing.

The therapist used the infamous “cupping therapy” to stretch the scarred tissue across the grain. Makes sense to us, despite a broad belief that cupping is pseudo-science and any benefits are from a placebo effect. Cyndie is growing tired of the pain from her exercises and the ongoing need to push her limits of stretching and rotation.

At the same time, she continues to find ways to function in her daily activities with only minor limitations.

The rest of us are enjoying a grace period of good health. The chickens will be seeing snow for the first time in their lives. Pequenita is happy to be an indoor cat. We brought the horses in out of the windy wet precipitation last night, but we’ll give them a short shift outside for some fresh air before letting them back into their stalls again tonight.

I avoided hitting any deer on my commutes this week. Yesterday morning, I was lucky to not be a part of a 10-car chain reaction crash,  –nor get caught in the significant backup of traffic behind it– when a vehicle hit a deer on I94, right at the bridge between Wisconsin and Minnesota. I had already passed that spot and was well on my way to work by then.

Everyday I don’t hit a deer in October and November is a successful day.

That’s my update on how everybody is doing today. We are thankful for all our good fortune.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

October 27, 2017 at 6:00 am

Pain Transfered

leave a comment »

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.

.

.

 

 

Written by johnwhays

October 12, 2017 at 6:00 am

Horse Love

leave a comment »

It’s time our horses get a little love from the Relative Something blog, don’t you think? They’ve been a little short-changed here because energy for them has been directed toward the Facebook page of late. The lines get a little blurry sometimes, and I forget which hat I am wearing, blogger or Wintervale post-er.

I’ve got a fix for that today. To see this fun snippet of the herd nom-nom munching on the high grass of the middle pasture, I’m linking back to the Wintervale FB page.

If you don’t have time for the video, I’m including two snapshots of our crew in graze-mode for your enrichment. Enjoy!

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

They are getting along well as the summer slowly winds down for them. We’ve noticed they have grown comfortable enough with being under the barn overhang now that even when rain roars on the metal roof, they stay beneath it and keep dry.

I like that better than when they preferred to stand as far as possible from the cover it offered, choosing instead to droop their heads down and get soaking wet, looking like sorry sad sacks.

Their health has been stable and good, although Cayenne still is working on growing out her hooves after a bout of laminitis. George has been kind enough to provide her an extra session of trimming between the normal span of time for the rest of the herd, which is helping to hasten a return to a desired hoof shape and less painful weight-bearing.

Shelby has been exercising the horses once a day, continuing a process that she started after Cyndie’s shoulder surgery in June. It has been a great help toward getting the horses ready for the workshops underway while Dunia is here.

One other thing the horses have adjusted nicely to this summer is the presence of three very friendly chickens who demonstrate a frequent preference to share the cozy space under the overhang, even though it sometimes means their meager ration of twice-daily nutrition pellets gets poached by the greedy birds.

Doesn’t seem to matter. The horses know they are still the stars of our show.

Makes me love them all the more.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

August 30, 2017 at 6:00 am

First Shoes

with 2 comments

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.

img_ip1967eimg_ip1968e.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

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.

img_ip1963eimg_ip1970e.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

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.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

March 5, 2017 at 11:07 am

Fading Fast

leave a comment »

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!

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

March 3, 2017 at 7:00 am

Tender Footed

with 2 comments

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.

dscn5826edscn5827e.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

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.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

February 22, 2017 at 7:00 am

Gaining Experience

with 4 comments

It is not surprising that the horses experience a little anxiety about being surrounded by fields of fresh green grass they can’t access.

IMG_3700e IMG_3698e.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

We have to control the horses’ amount of time grazing on lush springtime grass to avoid the condition called founder, or laminitis.

For the second day in a row, yesterday we opened the gate to a small section of grass and let them freely graze for about 30 minutes. Cyndie had come out again to watch them, and I consulted with her about options for coaxing them off the grass and back into the paddock. I was hoping to avoid the panic response they demonstrated on Monday.

She suggested I try using a lead rope around Legacy’s neck to guide him, with the hope the rest would follow. Her idea was brilliant, because it worked like a charm. I figured it would be a challenge to even get the lead around his neck, so I brought a treat to encourage his cooperation. I approached respectfully, and he returned the courtesy by pausing his grazing and lifting his head. I rewarded him with a treat and he let me drape the rope around his neck. We calmly walked back toward the gate to the paddock, and without hesitation, the three chestnuts followed. Two of them came with us into the paddock, but Hunter stopped to get a few last bites of grass. I walked back around him and guided him the rest of the way through the gate.

They made me look like a pro, or at least, like someone who knew what he was doing. Obviously, I do know a little bit, it’s just that I have no previous practical experience to work from. I told Cyndie that my success with the horses is entirely based on confidence I gained from the one weekend of training I received at the Epona seminar where Cyndie, Dunia, and the other trainers did their “student teaching” at the completion of their apprenticeships.

It comes easy to me because the methods they taught for interacting with the horses make total sense to me and resonate with my intuition. The positive feedback of the horses’ responses serves to verify my perceptions.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

Written by johnwhays

May 7, 2014 at 6:00 am