Thursday, July 30, 2009

Roller Coaster

Well. Thanks for coming along for the ride- we are having some serious ups and downs! After getting some "answers" Tuesday and having his temps stabilize, I opted to sleep Tuesday night. I needed to get some sleep so Beau went unchecked 11:30pm-6:30am. I needed the rest, and felt confident that he was going to be ok. When I went out for feed and meds yesterday his temp was still down! Yipee. Then I looked forward from my thermometer insertion position to glance over a small boo-boo and noticed that the leg looked puffy. So I bent down, and yup- tree trunk Right Front. Humm, look left- CRAP and look back... triple CRAP! All three of his other limbs were swollen. I took a deep breath, and felt each one. They were cool and not at all tender. So, I was safe to bet they were just stocked up- but now what?! He can't have turnout or too much hand walking due to the restriction on the left hind. So, I was left with quite a cluster to deal with. I hand walked and cold hosed as per our instructions, and then locked Sonny up. I put Beau and Squeeke out with a bunch of hay and let him have an hour of supervised turnout. He was very good- he did walk around a bit, but mostly ate and stood in the sun. He did roll, but that was about it.

I spoke with the vet, she wanted me to just do what I had already done- hand walk our normal 10mins, cold hose and focus on the left hind but also address the other legs and get him to move around if at all possible to keep him quiet. Plus she wanted the legs support wrapped when feasible. Yeah, like I need more wrapping to do! With the heat and humidity and buggy conditions, it made it hard, but as the sun set we had a small shower pass thru, so I put him out to graze solo for an hour last night. He wore polos on those legs for the night, and I went back to night checks- and he seems better today. There is certainly still some fluid there- but I can also see the tendons. I'm not willing to say they are 100% tight (especially RF which has the boo-boo) but I am much more comfortable with them today!

We have a friend who has experienced 2 cases of anaplasmosis in her big barn. I called last night to pick her brain. It seems like stocking up is par for the course, and she said it's at least a week of doxy before you see good results. So, I'll have to just keep waiting, and watching and worrying. It's going to be a long and bumpy ride!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Vet Visit

Look at the lovely cake Olivia made for me while Beau and I were at the Vets! How cute is that?! And, there was some cause to celebrate when we returned home.

After attempting the ultrasound and not having Beau stand still my vet wanted to sedate him, "fine" I said. Then she suggested that we might want to see if the surgeon wanted to have a look at him (I am lucky that my vet is attached to the Equine Clinic) before he got the drugs. We had already pulled the blood for the lab work they wanted to run- remember we were also ruling out some systemic issues (lyme and such) so we just waited for him to come have a peak.

The Dr. who did his limb perfusions took one look at him (my vet has been consulting with him all along) and one look at me and asked "what are you so worried about?!" I just about died. What am I worried about?! I'm worried since my horse has a 104 fever, his leg is swelling like crazy and I think he is dying!! That's what. Well, long story short, he suggests that this episode is not really a recurrence of cellulitis, but a case of ehrlichia (anaplasmosis) a tick born disease that mimics lyme. Among the symptoms are high fever and limb swelling.

High fever and limb swelling. Yup, there you have it! They were unable to use the blood tests to confirm as we have already started him on doxycycline (which is the treatment) but his fibrinogen was elevated, as were his liver enzymes. I think it's a little interesting that this is a disease that mimics lyme disease- and lyme is one of the things that has been "nagging" me as I have struggled with all of this.

So, the Drs. suppose that after a bite from an infected tick, this anaplasmosis developed. The already weakened lymphatic condition of the left hind made it the "target" spot for the limb swelling. The presentation of the leg is somewhat different- he has been much less tender this go round- he is sound at the walk and is willing to have the leg flexed. None of these things applied in March/April. They also said that with cellulitis you do not expect to see such fever- maybe 101 or 102, but not any higher (which was the case in March/April) but temps as high as 104 are the norm with anaplasmosis. The hope is that with 2 weeks of the doxy and bute, we will be left with a leg that will need some rehab... but it's a much better prognosis than I expected! I am still guarded but for now I don't feel like we are grasping at straws just trying to "fix" an unknown issue. I am hopeful that this is the correct diagnosis and with the proper treatment we will be on the road to recovery!

What a sweet piece of cake- and if we are on the right track, a real reason to celebrate!

A new day

Well- through the afternoon yesterday Beau's temp was up and down... He had his meds at 6:30 and from there the mercury began to drop! I'm not willing to say we have stabilized yet- but into the early am we went down into the 100.s and twice this morning he has been in the 99s.

I'm not getting my hopes up, but it is a hopeful sign. I just wonder if we will get 6 days into this course and have the same thing happen... He goes this afternoon for an ultrasound to rule out anything in there we may have missed (pocket of infection) and for some blood work to rule out various systemic diseases. Other than those treatments he will come home. I am very fearful of getting there and agreeing to more then we can afford... We have agreed to brig him home, and let Mother Nature work her magic. The body is a beautiful design, and I hope that Beau can fight this with whatever assistance I can offer.

The plan is to rule these things out, then treat him at home with whatever antibiotics we find effective. I am also going to ask about topical antibiotics and surpass, which we used last time. I really hope we can get this cleared up, but I am still guarded. I never expected to have to deal with something like this.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Beau Update

Well, folks. It's bad. We could sure use your prayers or thoughts or positive energy or whatever... things are doing downhill pretty fast around here. Beau has spiked a high fever despite a week of heavy antibiotics. There is no explanation for why now he is getting much worse, let alone for why this relapse at all.

The hard decision has been made not to do all that we did last time. I can't justify the huge expense when they can not explain why this happened at all- not why in March, not why on Monday and not why all of a sudden the down slide. Without some understanding of why this is happening, they cant say if or when it will happen again.

We switched antibiotics last night, and he hovered in the 104s all night. He had a wet sheet on and I hosed him frequently... he is hanging by the fan as we speak. He is otherwise alert and attentive- he is still eating and pooping as normal. I am devastated and beside myself with worry and grief- this is the hardest thing... he is an otherwise perfect horse! We just can't get him sound.

He will go in to the vets office for an ultrasound tomorrow just to be extra sure we didn't miss anything, then hopefully this new antibiotic will do the trick. Otherwise I fear we are just buying time... I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Squeeke's first show

My phone is being a problem... and I can't upload the pictures from Savanna and Olivia's first pony club lesson of the summer which we attended last night. But I did get these shots on the real camera today of Savanna and Squeeke's first show!

We went with the Lucky Clover kids- we had quite a crew! I think it was 8 horses, and 9 riders?! It was the first time I have driven the trailer with 4 horses loaded- fheww! After a ton more rain yesterday, the day was bright and beautiful- I ended up with quite a sunburn by the afternoon. The footing was a bit questionable, but Squeeke was a dream! She and Savanna have been working towards this day for the last few weeks. They have been doing well at home, but we still were not sure how she was going to be... We have nothing to worry about! She just coasted through the day like an old pro! I can't wait until Savanna can "really" ride her!
They just did 2 walk/trot classes- we were taking it easy, and that's about all Savanna is capable of right now; but it was perfect! Squeeke didn't bat an eye, packed her right around and they did great! It was a local show- there were medal classes, but this farm has just started the series, so it was not very well attended- perfect for us! There were 4 kids in both her classes, so we didn't have to worry about her placing and she could just work on being out there! She just needs time in the saddle and to have fun! That's what today was really about. There were some really polished walk/trot kids; our girls were just there to enjoy it!
And enjoy it she did. I put a red ribbon in her tail just to be sure, and to keep the other kids backed off. Savanna was worried about her squealing, but she managed just fine. Squeeke surly has shown before- she hung out all day with no issues! She was hot and tired by the end of the afternoon, as were all of the kids. She is going to be so much fun once Savanna can figure out how to be more than a passenger and once she gets polished up... I don't think there is anything they can't do. For instance, in their Pony Club lesson last night, they were working on 2-point position over a rail, and one time over Squeeke jumped it. She was super cute- real tight and had great form! All the other Mom's were impressed with her- the verdict is: we got the perfect pony!

Savanna got a 3rd and 4th place, she was happy with her ribbons and we were happy to get her out. Now we need to work on her diagonals and all that jazz. I was glad to just see them out there, Squeeke has been so good for Savanna's confidence! I am hot and tired, and have come to the realization that horse show Mom is way harder then showing yourself, but all in all it was a great day and the first of many this summer I'm sure!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cellulitis revisited and Squeekers' field trip

I'm about as bummed as one can be about Beau. Bill has voted to rename him "Lemon!" I only laugh halfheartedly when he calls him that. I am a bit hopeful (although I remember how this went last time, so I am also sick to my stomach in the same moment) as the fever is down, the tenderness seems less and he continues to bear weight and is willing to walk. The swelling is alarming however- it makes me actually wonder at what point skin will split... He had oral baytril and banamine this morning, and is in great spirits- so the plan is to continue this course of action a few days more and see what result we get. I was also advised to hand walk him 5mins prior to hosing as long as he is willing. I did so tonight, and he was forward and happy to go, another reason to be hopeful.

Savanna and I had plans to go ride with her best fried and her Mom today. I called them yesterday when this all started with Beau and she encouraged me to bring Savanna anyhow! Well, it was supposed to be rainy and grey all day, and I really wasn't in the mood but Savanna had her heart set on it, so off we went! Squeekers was a champ- she did quite a bit of squealing at the new horses, but composed herself well.

They have a covered arena- it's sort of an odd environment, and she didn't bat an eye. It was quite busy with a summer camp going on, but both of them handled it well. It was good to see how both of them reacted to a busy (6 other horses) indoor. Savanna has been working towards a show this weekend, so I was glad to get Squeeke off the farm and was very pleased with her behavior- besides the squealing and squirting! Yup, she went right into heat when she saw Kate's pony gelding... and Snicker wanted nothing to do with her! Poor girl had to come home and make do with her "brothers!"
A butt shot for Sue H... look at that tail! We will have to trim the mane for the show, but her hind end is as glorious as ever ;) Overall we had a great visit- Savanna and Kate enjoyed their rides, and I got a good sense of how good Squeeke is off farm- she trailed well (seemed a bit anxious when we first loaded, but hauled just fine... we gave her loads of cookies and promised she was coming right back!) and was willing regardless of quite a bit of commotion. Savanna will have to watch her hind end near the other horses, and she tends to swish and squeal when coming up from behind, but I'll put a red ribbon in her tail to try to deter that at Pony Club and shows. I think our girl is going to have a great summer with her little pony mare. Now if only my guy would get better quick!

Monday, July 20, 2009

A turn for the worse

Sigh. After a really great ride yesterday, I awoke to Beau with his left hind leg back to swollen like a ham hock. It is as big as it was during the worst of our previous cellulitis drama. I called right away and our vet was able to come right out. She confirmed what I already suspected- the cellulitis is back. Beau got an IV dose of the big bang antibiotic we ended up using at the clinic and banamine. My vet spoke with the surgeon from NEEC and he wants him on 3 doses of oral baytril and if we don't see improvement we will have to reevaluate. His temp was down this afternoon, and he was more willing to let me palpate it- but no change in the swelling. As before, I'll cold hose and stack wrap and monitor it closely.

No way to know what caused this bout- he has not a single mark on him... I am pretty downhearted... we were just getting back to having fun...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Trail Ride

Today was a beautiful day- a bit hot and muggy with loads of big bugs, but we set off anyhow to enjoy a ride down the trails. Savanna rode Squeeke and I rode Beau. Olivia joined us aboard Grandma and Grandpa's pony Nic. All three of the horses (and all three of the kids)were well behaved and we really had a good time! Billy ran along with us for most of the way... then as we came back he had his turn (I can't figure out how to get blogger to do better with picture order... but I got a shot of him on Beau)
This was the first time we have taken Squeeke out for a real trail- she has been on the short loops by the house (5 minutes or so in the woods) but this was further from home (this lovely gravel road leads out to a sand pit along the back side of the property) and certainly much much longer than we have done before. Also this was the first real time we have tackled water crossings with her. Savanna has walked her through puddles in the driveway- but we had actual running/standing water today. She looked a bit, and tried to find another path around but when Savanna stuck to her guns and told her to walk on, she went right through! What a champ
Since Nic lives up at the big barn, Olivia doesn't get as much of a chance to ride with us. Today I dropped her off while Grandpa was working. I left her alone to get her pony tacked up as Savanna and I went back down to the house to get ourselves ready. We worked quick and then we rode down to meet her- it worked well. Olivia did a nice job of tacking up alone and she got to finally go along with us! Nic was a bit herd bound, but she did a good job getting him going. He was great for her after we left the barnyard- not bad for a pony who has had months off. The trail is pretty wide and clear- a real road for the first part of the way, then a reasonably nice ATV track on thru a swamp out to the sand pit. Once you get out there, the footing out in the pits is really nice- the bottom is pretty well packed and reasonably flat, so we had a bit of time to trot around. Savanna was saying it "our own private desert." We were pretty hot by the time we were done and the bugs were bad so we just headed back the way we had come.

Billy initially wanted to ride Squeeke, but when the time came to swap horses/riders he opted for Beau. I was less then thrilled to gasp *walk* the rest of the way home, but he had a blast on Beau. He told me "you know, he's just following YOU!" What a good guy- he took good care of Billy. He had been itching and tossing his head a bit with the bugs, but once the little one was up- he walked perfectly! I wish Billy's eyes were open in this picture, but I took it using my phone, and I couldn't really see the screen with the glare!
As we made our way back to the big barn to drop Olivia and Nic back, Bill was there- so he got the chance to see all three kids ride in! It was pretty cute- he asked "Hey, where's your horse?!" Yup, I share. I'm good like that. It was nice get the chance to get out, and especially to have the girls both with me. It was a lot of walking for Billy though- but he didn't complain once! I think I'll try to plan future rides for when he can stay with Daddy... And maybe we can get an earlier start next time and beat the heat and bugs!

Friday, July 10, 2009

A Beau Update

Well, I am happy to report that Beau is back! He has been performing at 100% ever since we returned from New York. I am thrilled- with the on going cellulitis issues, and then the stone bruise before we left I was pretty disheartened! In the past 2 weeks we have ridden here and away, in arenas and on grass, on trails and gravel roads... we have had not one misstep or bobble! I rode out in the field this afternoon with Billy scooting around picking a bouquet of wildflowers. The sun was bright, the sky blue and my horse sound! All is right with the world...

Sunday, July 5, 2009


After a glorious trail ride this morning, the last thing I wanted to do when I got home was go down to the pond. But, being Billy it was the first thing on this kid's list for a sunny Sunday I had to acquiesce and take him down for some "hunting"

I had gotten a few new nets this week- the only ones left were pink, but he didn't care- they were new and had nice long handles so off we went. I'm not sure who was happier to be down there, Billy or the dogs!

Oliver sets frogs- he has always done it and we find it so funny to watch him point and then set them 'till he shakes... then finally he has to go for it- and when he catches one he just lets it jump right back out of his mouth. Otis on the other had does more swimming then hunting, but he does take the occasional break from his laps to hunt up some frogs too!
With all the cold wet weather there didn't seem to be as many frogs as usual, I'm sure they are burrowed down deep in the mud waiting for the water to warm up! He did mange to fill a bucket with bull frog "tad-a-poles" and after sitting in the sun watching the dogs play and him hunt, with my root beer in hand, I decided I was glad that I had been "forced" to come down. We are so lucky to have this great little pond right in our back yard- Billy and the dogs are in heaven... what a great place to grow up!

The 4th...errr 5th of July

I didn't get any good pictures from our fireworks show- but hopefully you enjoyed the show around you- we finally had a bit of sun and dry weather and were able to be outside! Beau and I spent the morning off for a ride with Miller and Linda- the boys were good and it felt great to be out in the sun and fresh air!

In the afternoon we had the whole of Bill's clan over- I just did a quick bar-b-que for dinner and it was nice to sit around chatting and enjoying each other's company. I think the sight of the sun put everyone over the top- well, that or the fresh strawberries and whipped cream I served over lemon cake for dessert- one or the other!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Sun, Sun, Sun!

Finally, the sun has come out! It may just be a passing thing, but I had to jump at the opportunity! I am so glad to feel the rays and to be able to get the three-some out for some grass! I'll only give them an hour or so as it has been a few weeks since they were out to pasture- but it was suddenly so nice, I couldn't pass up the chance to get them out there!

Finally Savanna and I got our chance to ride! We hopped on this morning, before it got sunny but at least we had some saddle time! Squeeke is in heat, so that was interesting for Savanna to experience, but all in all they did great! We had fun working around the house- I thought the field was too wet for her first excursion in a while. Beau was good, and I'm sure he liked the easy workout with his "girlfriend!"
My Mom and are planning to take the kids strawberry picking in a bit, I'm not sure if there are any that have not floated away, or rotten in the field, but we plan to try to get some! Olivia has been under the weather- so I think she might have to miss, but she needs to rest and get her energy back!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

More Vacation Pictures

We spent the week last week at a nice resort in the Catskills with Bill's parents. It was pretty far out there- almost to the Pennsylvania border, but there was plenty to do on site- we rock climbed, shot paint balls, rode go carts and bumper boats. We played boccie, shuffleboard, went bowling and visited a self sustaining farm. We also took the tour at the Bethel Arts Museum and saw the Woodstock exhibit!
There were three outdoor pools, and an indoor one too! We had a few real nice days (quite a treat after all the rain we had at home!) The kids enjoyed the water slides and outdoor attractions! I had a nice time laying around watching them- and I did take the opportunity to sip the first frozen drink o' the season- a virgin pina colata ;)

It was nice to be away from the drizzle and rain, but I did miss the critters terribly. I know the kids had a real good time and I am thankful that in this economy it was something we were still able to do for them. I hope they are old enough to really remember it later- I know it was important especially to Grandma and Grandpa that we get to spend the time together!

New Phone

I took all of our vacation pictures with my new phone as I had set the camera out to charge and then let it home! I worked really hard to figure out how to get it to download the other day. I spent quite a few frusterating hours working on it to no avail. Bill's advice? "Take it in and have them show you!" Thanks- gee that was helpful! I just wanted him to fix it for me, but that wasn't going to happen.

So, today I took the opportunity of a rainy day and went down to the local At&T store. They were very helpful but didnt really fix my problem. So, I came home and spent quite a bit of time on the phone with Tec Support both at Samsung and AT&T. And, we got it figured out!!

So, a few vacation shots for you to enjoy!


I had planned to get up and load Beau and Squeeke for a trip to the nearest indoor first thing this morning- I am so tired of all this rain (we are going on three straight weeks of it- with no real end in sight!) and Bill needed the truck and trailer this afternoon. Well, as I called to let the owner know we were coming it turned from a light drizzle to a full on downpour! "There goes riding" Savanna said- and I knew she was right. I just didn't have it in me to lug all our gear and load it up in the rain- let alone hitch the trailer up and try to load horses. I was bummed, and so was Savanna!

Then this afternoon, we had a lull in the rain and I thought Id take the opportunity to hitch up so Bill wouldn't get soaked when he readied for his client this evening. When I got into the truck and started to back up things felt funny. Well, with all the mud I thought I had just slipped a little, so I pulled forward and when I went to step on the brakes the pedal went all the way to the floor! I was so glad I had not tried to haul this morning, as we had lost the rear brake line! Yikes- I think fate kept me home this morning- what a disaster that would have been!!

Bill worked most of the evening and got the old line off and mostly finished putting the new one in. He thinks a few more hours and he will have it complete! It's so nice to have a handy hubby that can fix stuff like this, 'cause I sure need to get a ride in ASAP! That is, if Beau hasn't grown webbed hooves by then! And next time, instead of being grumpy about "ruined" plans, I am going to try to be more aware of "things happen for a reason."