May 29, 2009

Royal ... Worry Time, Again

Click photo to enlarge 

Royal With Lots to Think About

If there were a "worry photo" of me right now, it would show someone in the advance stages of "frantic". 

Forgive me if I play out the details of this saga, again, but it has been almost 7 months of walking a tight rope and I'm afraid I'm facing another walk ... on the same rope!

As you know, Royal is still in recovery from serious founder caused by incorrectly administered steroids that he never should have had. My vet was afraid we were going to lose Royal and was making barn calls three times a day.

I told him if we lose Royal ... that would be the end of me, too. He said, he knew that.

The last time I wrote about Royal was last February. Things were looking good. He was calmly cruising the aisles of the barn and barn turnout. His attitude was wonderful, but he was still in confinement.

Now, almost four months later, the situation is the same. The improvement is that his sauntering about is faster and more secure.

The farrier is here every five weeks to adjust his angles and put on new therapy shoes. We are still taking things one inch at a time.

Here is the worry:
Royal is past due for the West Nile vaccine. Much of my research has shown that a compromised horse will likely be thrown into laminitis following this vaccine.

Last April, my vet said not to worry, to go ahead and give him the vaccine.
But this is the same vet that said Royal was Insulin Resistance and that was why he was overweight and had laminitis. (humm ... it was his young associate that gave the steroids). No connection between steroids and laminitis was discussed by anyone, except by me.

I read through various lectures given at veterinary conferences on the subject, as well reading through numerous dissertations written by research veterinarians. The conclusion was, yes, steroids can cause laminitis ... and do.

I printed out my findings and had a discussion with my vet on his next visit.
He said ... "you read too much".
I was shocked.
This is the same vet that has worked with me for over 15 years, that has weathered through many serious situations and always rushed to our barn the minute I called. We've always had both a professional and personal friendship. We were both serious about whatever issues there were. We always ... worked together.

The only difference in the current Royal situation seemed to be ... it was his young vet that gave the steroids. I think he felt a responsibility ... but cannot "go there".

Time proved that Royal's weight was bloating caused by the overdose of steroids, which also caused laminitis. The steroids also threw him into an artificially induced state of insulin resistance.
As the bloating reduced, his blood work returned to normal, as did his body weight. However, we are still living with founder.

Now we have the issue of giving the West Nile vaccine ... while Royal is still in recovery.
The other issue is I'm not trusting my vet. He says ... go ahead, give the vaccine, don't worry.

Well, worry, I do. So, I started doing what I always do ... micro-detailed research.

1. I talked with the Director for Laminitis Research. = Yes, there was high risk of laminitis.
2. Talked to a major breeder and discovered several horses had been given live virus West Nile vaccines and within hours .... had laminitis.
3. Talked with three Equine Pharmacuitical research vets = possible risk.

Finally, on the fourth call to a research vet at a major pharmacuitical company, I got somewhere besides possible and maybe. He wanted all the details about Royal, the how and when and current status.

The bottom line was ... yes, "live" West Nile vaccines have caused laminitis in some situations.
He strongly advised that I wait two more months and give only "killed virus" West Nile vaccine to Royal for the rest of his life. The other choice was ... not giving him any vaccine at all and face the risk of West Nile.

So, that is where we are.
The West Nile "killed virus" vaccine is in the refrigerator waiting.
The time for a decision is here ... and I'm a nervous wreck.

Has anyone been in this situation? I'd be grateful to know your experiences.

May 23, 2009

Sunday Stills - The Color Yellow

Click photos to enlarge

This weeks Sunday Stills Challenge is ...
photos with the color yellow.

This called for my macro lens.
So, off I went to sit in my garden.

Soon, I noticed this very busy bee.
Amazing creature it is from behind the lens.

Next, I wandered by the pond.
At first everything looked white.
Then, with a closer look, there was yellow!

Sure do love life through a macro lens.

Be sure to check all the other "Yellow" photos.
Some great photos!

A Horse In The Garden

Click photo to enlarge

May 19, 2009

Big Ben and Friend

Click photo to enlarge
Just down the road and around the corner

Ben and his little "twinsie" side kick ...
along with assorted others.
It was a fun day when this big boy arrived.
Click here for earlier story.

They do steal the show around the neighborhood.

May 9, 2009

Sunday Stills - Black & White Photography

The Challenge of the Week is Black and White
using two subjects from past Challenges.
Subject One
Animal Husbandry

How great is this ...
Royal is black and white!

He is the love of my life ...

... a big boy, but so very polite.

... his kindness shows
in the softness of his eye.

Always with us, he is such
a wonderful part of our lives.

Subject Two
Religious Architecture

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Believed to be the oldest church
still standing in California,
Mission San Juan Capistrano was
more than two hundred years ago

It is the 7th of 21 missions statewide.

Known as the “Jewel of the Missions"
it is also home to the Swallows
that return to nest
in March of every year.

Located in Southern California very near the Pacific Ocean,
Mission San Juan Capistrano is a place of beauty and tranquillity,

and a wonderful place for
a camera!
Be sure to check out Sunday Stills
for other black and white challenge photos
posted by my camera friends.

May 1, 2009

Hey! Remember Me?

Click to enlarge photos.
Little Rescue Boy

It's been quite awhile since I've updated the progress report on Shadow. Much has happened in his life in the past few months.

He fell in love with Royal, he became Royal's babysitter while Royal was confined with laminitis, he learned that he could be alone without freaking out, which, to me, meant that he had learned to trust us. 

He decided that this was home. He had that "I'm not moving" manner about him.

What he did not learn was to respond to his name. I've never been so ignored by a horse. I'd whisper his name while grooming, I'd call his name while carrying a bucket of feed ... nothing.

I wondered if anyone had ever called him by his name. It was clear that "Shadow" did not associate himself with that name. 

Maybe he had had many names in the past or perhaps he associated the name with how horribly he had been treated in the past. 

I still look at that photograph taken last fall when we rescued him. It remains unbelievable that anyone could treat him so badly.
(Click on "Our Rescue Horse" under Labels for the full story)

Last September

In the early days of this saga, many of you sent some really good suggestions for a new name. However, nothing seemed to fit. Finally I gave up and decided I'd let this boy pick his own new name.

We had many trial runs, but nothing seemed to please him. While working with him I'd usually say things like ... you poor little boy.
Since there were other things to learn, we went on with the business of helping him adjust to life in our barn.

The two horses had never been together... I mean, out of their stalls, together. I knew that day would have to arrive eventually. 

But in the meantime, it seemed safer for both of them to just take turns visiting each other. I didn't want Shadow to be overwhelmed by the Number One horse in the barn, and I didn't want Royal to get into any shuffle matches as he is still in therapy shoes.

I'm really not sure why I decided to take the chance a few weeks ago, but both stall doors were opened. 

I stood back out of the way ready to handle whatever disaster might happen.

This was the scene ... not even the geese ruffled their feathers!

Royal didn't seem to feel the need to puff himself up and parade his authority and Shadow was just grateful to get close to Royal.

That was when I saw the two horses side by side. I'd never thought much about the size difference. There were so many other things to think about.

Looking now at our newcomer, I said ... why, you are just a little Joe.

That was it. Shadow became Little Joe and finally, Little Joey.

What is terrific is ... he likes his name. He'll even come from behind the barn when he hears me call him. Perhaps it is the gentle sound of saying his name, but respond he does.

And as for life with Royal ... why, he can even get close enough to sniff the big guy's royal tail.

How cool is that?
Yep, life is looking good for... Little Joey!