Posts Tagged ‘Paula Derby’

Snow Monsters

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

The blizzard of 2010 kept us busy clearing the driveway and cars this morning.  We are lucky to still have power after the high winds and heavy snow.  The horses are rarely stalled, but we put them in last night due to the possibility of branches coming down.  They were very happy to get out. 

Fudge (star) plays with Drifter (star and stripe) in the 28″ of snow.  Fudge has come a long way in his recuperation.  He is still not ride-able at more than a walk or trot.  We will continue to work on this rehab with ground exercises, and walking the trails.  It’s a very long way to the hunter pace this May.  I don’t know if Fudge will ever come back far enough to ride at a canter.  Time will tell.

The Mustang mare is obviously bored with the play of the geldings.  She is eating from one of the slow feeders.  It’s made from a small mesh hay net over a muck bucket.  It closes with a double ended dog snap.  These slow feeders are easy to fill and drag over the snow.

 

It has been one year since we purchased Fudge from Paula Derby of Lazy D Acres.  She has relocated to Ocala , FL.  She still obtains horses from the infamous New Holland Auction in Lancaster, PA. 

One of the things that stresses horses is trailering.  Long distance trailering suppresses the immune system.  When researchers want to infect horses with EPM, they use the trailering stress model.  Somehow, I can’t see the auction process, followed by long distance trailering as beneficial to the health of a horse.

Didn’t have a leg to stand on

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Fudge came to us with a set of front shoes on.  It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that one shoe was 1/4″ too long, and the other was 3/4″ too long.  The right front was rasped at a different angle across the sole.  His left front heels were contracted, and all soles were flat.

Paula Derby had told me that she took her horses to a farrier service that pulls, rasps, and reshoes all four in about 20 minutes.  The person making the shoes is not the same person that nails them on.  They must take the attitude that if the shoe doesn’t quite fit, it’s OK, they’ll get new ones the next time.

My farrier was out shortly after we brought Fudge home.  He had a few choice words to describe drive-in, assembly line farrier services.  I’d had two rides on Fudge by that time, and knew there were problems with his stability, but did not yet know he had EPM.  I had the farrier pull the shoes, and leave him barefoot.  This accidental decision – some might say gut feeling – was the best thing I could have done for Fudge.  It took me 8 months to learn this.

As some of you may have guessed from the last blog entry, Fudge was tripping – in part – from toes that were too long.  Before you jump on my case or my farrier’s about the pre-trim photos, consider the problems associated with trimming a horse that is unstable on three legs. 

Fudge didn’t have a leg to stand on, at least one that he could feel.  He is still somewhat unstable when one foot is lifted.  He places his rear feet at odd angles, and is sometimes parked out.  He does not know where his rear feet are, or how they are positioned.  I asked the farrier to skip a trim on him once, and only trim the front once, because he was so unstable.  The farrier was also scheduling trims at intervals for shod feet – every 8 weeks.

fudgeb4trim

Fudge's Front Feet before trim. Note stance

rtfrtb4trim

Front right. Note toe drag, contracted heels, and broken thumb.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 After viewing the videos of a test ride, I read up on natural hoof care, and called in Dawn Willoughby to teach me and my farrier how to trim for the ‘Wild Horse Model’.  Because all three horses have been barefoot for some time (Fudge 9 months, TWH 1.5 years, and Mustang her whole life), we did not need to boot the horses after the trim.  It is a work in progress, moving from a pasture trim to the wild horse model.

If you are not familiar with the work of Jamie Jackson or Pete Ramey, please start here:  http://www.hoofrehab.com/

Who Is This Masked Man?

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

When we purchased Fudge in January, his papers were ‘accidently’ left at the broker’s home both times we went to test ride him.  This raised a small red flag, but we would have the papers before purchasing the horse, so I let it slide.  I was looking for a particular attitude and demeanor in the horse, more than the breeding.  We did ask about the HYPP issue, not having seen the papers.

As things began to unravel with the health of Fudge in the first week of ownership, we were focused on finding the problem.  It wasn’t until the EPM blood test came back positive, and the broker said, “Your horse, your problem,” that we began to get concerned about who Fudge really was.  If the broker had been less than honest about the health of the horse, his demeanor, and pecking order, did we even have the horse listed on the papers?

I pulled out the papers again, and noticed that the broker ad had listed the horse as black, even when the papers had shown him as brown.  By this time it was May, and Fudge had shed out to a Bay.   Hmmm.  The diagram for white markings showed white on thee legs, Fudge has a small amount of white on the fourth.  The white on one leg was not quite right according to the diagram.  Hmmm.  Hmmm.  If Fudge was not the QH on the papers, who was he?  Did we care?  The short and long answer were YES.  We already knew that Fudge’s true personality was much different than the horse that we thought we were buying.  Once we killed the protozoal infection, his level of energy came up, and he is not the best match for my daughter.  What if Fudge was a HYPP positive horse?  We needed to find out.

I called AQHA and ordered a DNA test.  It took about 4 weeks to arrive.  It sat on my desk until the nagging questions began again.  I sent in the hair sample, and in about three weeks AQHA called.  We do have the horse bred and named IMA FUDGEAHOLIC TOO.  He has no Impressive in his line, so he cannot have HYPP.  Along the way we have also learned that the AQHA papers for many horses are ‘not quite right’.

I took Fudge for a third, short test ride since January, to gauge his improvement.  He is slowly getting better, but still trips often.  I have videoed the rides, and on review of the last one, noticed another reason he might be tripping.  More changes are coming for Fudge.  Stay tuned.

A Bump in the Road

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

While the vet was out last week, I asked her to take a very close look at the bumps on Fudge’s chest that we blogged about in May.  They were scars at the time of purchase, and have grown since then.  After five months hematomas should have been reabsorbed.  They didn’t look or feel like any sarcoids the vet had seen. 

This time around Fudge stood very patiently as the vet probed, squeezed, and palpated his chest.  He trusts us now not to hurt him down there, and the pain from the injuries must have subsided.  She carefully examined and compared all the bumps/scar tissue/injuries along his neck and chest.  These appear to be the result of deep cuts through the skin and a layer of muscle.  The edge of the lacerated muscle has curled up, forming an egg sized lump under the skin, and a shallow pit where the muscle is missing.  This is a much better diagnosis than sarcoids.  Hopefully the muscle will stabilize during his time off for rehabilitation, and not tear further.

You’d think that if the horse had flaps of skin and muscle hanging from him, that the owner would have noticed, and then gotten him some veterinary attention to suture the wounds.  Yes, you’d think.

Vaccines

Thursday, April 9th, 2009

For most horses, one veterinarian visit per year with a whammy of six vaccines is par for the spring weather.  For an EPM horse with a weak immune system, this could bring on a relapse of active EPM.  Veterinarians generally space single disease vaccines out over a long time, and watch carefully for reactions.  With a lack of history on Fudge, the decisions on vaccines have been problematic.

Why such a long face?

Why such a long face?

We do know that Paula Derby did not vaccinate Fudge while she owned him.  We do not know when he last had vaccines.   That means he needs every vaccine ASAP.  The preferred route for EPM’ers is to wait on vaccines until well after treatment. 

The veterinarian prioritized them in this order:  Rabies, Tetanus, PHF, West Nile, Rhino/Flu, EEE/WEE.  She suggested that we space them out one each week, and watch for reactions or a worsening of neurological symptoms.  The problem has been trying to find individual vaccines, particularly the PHF.  The veterinarian does not normally carry vaccines this way, and would have to order them by the 10 dose vial.  The EEE/WEE is not available through any supplier without Tetanus, so Fudge will probably have to get re-vaccinated with Tetanus in six weeks.  For EPM horse owners, learning how to give vaccines will save weekly visits by the vet.