|Blue- " I've had just about enough of this summer!"|
I’ll start with an update on the horses:
Nate (my daughter’s horse) has been suffering with a bad case of Stringhalt. He’s been dealing with this for over a month. At one point, it got so bad that he was completely paralyzed in his hind end and was stall bound for a while. His hind legs swelled mildly and he broke out with oozing sores around his coronary bands, front and back. Nate also has a condition called Shivers, which we think exacerbated or probably even predisposed him to the Stringhalt. Between my daughter and the vet they seem to have come up with a successful treatment plan. The good news is that, after scaring the crap out of us, he seems to be doing much better and can now be turned out with the herd. He’s still walking very slowly, but he seems happy and at least he’s able to be with his buddies.
Shortly after Nate, Grady came down with a milder case of Stringhalt. He also has shivers. He's recovering much faster than Nate and seems to be doing much better now.
Mellon's legs--especially his hind legs--have been swelling, oozing serum, and breaking out in sores. He was also mildly lame behind, though it didn't look anything like the stringhalt in the other two. Mellon doesn't have shivers, though he did have EPM a few years ago, and he's got Cushings. Our vet thought it was cellulitis. My daughter said it reminded her of a milder version of the lymphangitis Nate had when he ate some toxic weeds he shouldn't have in Scotland. The vet prescribed a course of heavy duty antibiotics and topical ointment (which Mel finished and didn't seem to help), so she's been washing with mild antiseptic soap and wrapping with Animalintex which seems to help a lot.
Trying to find the common source for all of these problems might be a waste of time. But the stringhalt, at least, we assume had a common cause once two horses started to show the same symptoms. There is a variety of the disease called "Australian Stringhalt" that has been traced to a particular weed that grows in pastures called flatweed, catsear, or false dandelion. It looks almost identical with ordinary dandelions except the leaves are slightly hairy, the stems are coarser, and they can be branched (there are other small differences if you're into botanical stuff, but for the casual observer, that's enough to identify one in your field.) It's not always dangerous to horses. But under certain soil and weather conditions (i.e. drought) when the plant is stressed, apparently it becomes toxic. We believe that our horses already suffering from neurological conditions were highly susceptible to the effects of this toxin, and so exhibited the worst symptoms. All of the literature we've ever read about it, and all of the vets we've ever spoken to said it doesn't grow in our area. But after speaking to the local Cornell Cooperative Extention expert, my daughter went out looking for it, and it was everywhere. (My daughter is going to post more on what she's found out about the plant and the condition as the horses progress with their treatment.)
We've got probably 25 acres total of pasture, so there was no way we were going to dig it all up by hand. So in the meantime, to be on the safe side, we removed the horses from the pasture for a few weeks while they received their treatment. Then, though we don't like having to do it, we had all the pastures sprayed with a broadleaf herbicide to get rid of the weed suspected of causing Nate, Grady (and possibly Mellon) their various ailments. We can't be sure if it was the flatweed or any other weed that caused their illnesses. But why take that chance? They seem to be improving already... We will reseed in the fall.
Blue looks a lot better to me and I plan on starting back riding him this weekend. He got a thorough grooming and bath over the past weekend.
Sami and Donnie are just fine. So there are a few bright spots here, too.
Ginger the pup is doing fine. She was spayed two weeks ago and is as feisty as ever.
Gunnar has started having seizures. He’s had three this month and so my daughter took him to his vet who referred him to a dog neurologist. I didn’t know there was such a specialty, but apparently there is. All of his tests came back normal. and they have no answers. Every vet we use is on vacation so it’s been like pulling teeth to get him some anti-seizure medication. Normally, they would use phenobarbital but since he has a liver shunt he can’t take that because it compromises the liver. There is another medication that they are prescribing so hopefully we’ll be able to get that soon and help him.
We have what looks like green slime on the top of the pond so we called in a pond expert. He says it’s called watermeal. And there is a spray that will kill it, but he can’t spray because the oxygen level in the pond is below normal (because of the watermeal) and it will kill the fish. So we need to replace the broken aerator with a new one, which requires getting an electrician to run a line from the garage to the pond. I’m hoping this can be done soon. We may not be able to treat the pond this year, but at least we can get the oxygen levels back up to normal to help the fish out until the weather cools off and the watermeal dies off.
So, it's been a rough summer, and we're looking forward to fall! That’s about it for now.
Until next time
Quote for Today
“ It just goes to show you, it’s always something.”