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Good Bye, My Sweet Boy: Nash

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It is with a heavy heart I write this post.  Nash’s condition did not improve over night. Despite all of our efforts last night which included a broad spectrum of Antibiotics, Anti-inflammatories, and fluids through the nasogastric tube I found him in worse condition this morning.  The neurological condition/disease/infection that he had was starting to effect his muscular function.  He was using all his might to stay up right all night.  By this morning, we confirmed his bowels had completely shut down and there was nothing else we could do.

I took the morning off to be with him for the last hour before the vet came. I found him this time laying down and struggling unsuccessfully to get up.  I sat with him, talked to him and cried. It was a peaceful time in his stall.  Thankfully Rachael came over to support me through this process and say her goodbyes.  We were with him through the passing and it was the best way for a loved horse to go;  I held his head the petted him and was there for him the whole time.

These are the last pictures I have of him from the past 2 days.

These some of my favorite pictures of him. The professional photographs are the work of Judy Reinford.

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Nash Update Day 3

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Nash is not eating barely anything. He is chewing really slowly when he does and seems like he forgets to swallow. I tried twice to get the doxy in him today. First time it poured right out of his mouth. Second time. I had to stick my hand in to get him to open his jaw and I think he swallowed most of it. Last night since 10. He didn’t drink water. But yesterday day time had like a half a bucket. The only thing he seems to want to eat is grass and now this morning he is only nibbling here and there. Still walking like he is drunk, which seems to have gotten a little worse.

Oh Nash!

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Poor guy, he has been through so much with his hernia surgery last year and now he is not feeling well again.

9/1 We first noticed something was wrong when the Farrier was out to trim the horses hooves.  Nash seemed to be in pain in the back end.  He didn’t want to pick up his back legs, especially the left.  His left leg muscles was also quivering. He was also kicking out when we tried to pick up his back feet.  (The night before he was noticed to be stomping he back left foot)

9/4 He was pain free and able to pick up all 4 feet with no problems

9/21 He was able to be ridden in a lesson.

9/27 He was showing signs of pain again.  He was wobbly on his feet.  I tried to ride him but decided he was too unstable.  During this past month he was loosing weight.  He was eating his grain but maybe not “fighting ” for his share of the hay with the herd (8 horse 2 donkey).

9/28 A chiropractor came out and gave him an adjustment.  He said his hips and left back knee were out of alignment.  The left hip was higher than the right.  He seemed to walk away with some improvement.

10/1 He was back to being stiff and sore in the back end.  He was put on a muscle relaxer and “bute” a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID).  We thought it was a pinched nerve in the spine cause issues down his leg.

10/5 Medication did not seem to be working.  He stopped eating all of his grain and was only picking at his hay.  He still seemed to want grass but also started to chew on the wood.  Vet said this was because of the bute so now he is getting Pepto for horses and a probiotic, to settle his stomach.   He received a mild sedative and cortisone shots in his lower spinal area.  If it is a nerve issue this should improve the situation in 2-3 days.

10/6 He received a therapeutic massage. He tolerated it very well but was doing the stomp/kick with both back legs most of the time. No muscle issues found.  We have ruled out the issue being nerve related and and are pursuing neurological origins of the issue.  It could be:

  • Lyme Disease: A bacterial disease spread by tick bites. Read more about it here.
    • Clinical signs: Stiffness, lameness, muscle tenderness, Hyper sensitivity, swollen or sore joints, Behavioral changes – lethargic or “grump
    • Treatment: 30 days of Antibiotic
    • Testing: Blood test takes 7 – 10 days to come back
  • Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis, or EPM, is a disease caused by a protozoal infection that affects the central nervous system of horses.
    • Clinical signs:  stiffness, asymmetrical gaits and cranial nerve deficits, ataxia (incoordination), spasticity (stiffness, abnormal gaits or lameness, muscle atrophy, paralysis, difficulty swallowing, head tilt, seizures and collapse, abnormal sweating, loss of sensation and poor balance).
    • Treatment: Long term and expensive anitbiotics with, antiinflammatory therapy
    • Testing: We would have to take him to a local hospital for a spinal tap.  They would have to sedate and restrain him for this procedure.  At this point I am unsure he is safe to travel.

10/7 I gave him 2 grams of bute last night.  It seemed to help as this morning, while still wobbly, stiff and uncoordinated he seemed in better spirits.  Last night and this morning he ate a yummy warm mash of beet pulp, senior grain and treats.  This morning he even decide to escape under the chain guard (across the stall door) so he could help himself to some grass while I was making his breakfast.  As soon as he saw me putting it in his bowl he came back to his stall and ate all of it.

We decided the following course of treatment.

  1. Start him on doxycycyline for Lyme disease.  He should should signs of improvement in 2-3 days if this is what he has
  2. Send off sample for Lyme disease test.  This takes 7 -10 days for results.
  3. If no improvement then we will consider testing or treatment for EPM.

This is a video from today so you can see how he is walking.

 

Poor Casey

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On Friday a large lesion was found on Casey’s neck.  It is a true mystery as to how it got there.  It showed up with and was this bad in about 24 hours.  Today is day 4 and I am pleased to say that thanks to the vet’s aggressive treatment he is getting better.  We still have a little bit to go and he is on stall rest till it heals completely.  I have to give him 4 large shots in the muscle everyday.  I feel so bad giving them to him but he is a great patient!

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