Usually I try to be upbeat and share something inspiring in this blog. Today I am too worn out to be upbeat. I am grateful in my bones, just beyond the aches. Some people seem to take things in stride, going from one thing to the next. This may be the shortest blog I ever write. I will totally understand those who wish to skip this one- or who have even greater health tales to tell about equines.
We fell in love with an “oh- so- cute,” rescued from the kill buyer black and white paint horse, fifteen months ago. Her name is Eclipse. She is a sweet “heart” horse. She is 14 hands and 889 pounds. We soon nick named her “Missy 2 Bears.” In her Tobiano patches on her right side dwell two bears, one white and one black. I am sure she is a Medicine Horse!
I soon noticed that something was not quite right about our Missy. Her back end and hind legs were messy all of the time. She was a (shhhh) dirty girl! She was constantly in heat, not just urinating but discharging fecal fluid. Fecal fluid is not diarrhea. When she lifted her tail to squirt, she squirted both urine and fecal fluid. It ran down her rump and pooled and encrusted around her legs. Ugh! I spent more time cleaning the back end than I did talking to her face. I also cleaned the barn walls and stalls.
The first Veterinarian reported that she was just hormonal. We also had a fecal done to rule out parasites. They squirted a syringe called a “charcoal sponge” into her mouth to help dry her up. It came out pretty much the way it looked when it went in, and stained her hind end and legs black. We tried probiotics and psyllium and other assorted supplements. The second Vet we consulted suggested that perhaps Missy had an ovarian tumor. An ultrasound was scheduled. It showed an abnormality. We were told that the tumors are usually benign, and don’t produce cells that travel and form malignancies elsewhere.
We have spent the week transporting Missy back and forth to CSU Equine Veterinary College located in Ft. Collins, Colorado. It is a 6 hour round trip. We took her up the day before surgery, and brought her home the day after. The surgery was performed “standing.” She was given sedation, locals and both ovaries were removed by laparoscopy. Missy had a granulosa theca cell tumor. Cancer encased inside her enlarged ovary. It produced a hormonal hurricane in our little mare. The day before she came home we built her a special pen so that she can be kept quiet and still see the rest of her horse friends. It is day four, and she is still lethargic and sore and does not have much appetite. She will be confined for two weeks, with hand walking several times a day until the sutures are removed. Both flanks are shaved and she has sutures on both flanks.
The CSU clinic was a beehive of activity. At intake we stood in a large holding area along with a tall warmblood, a draft horse and a pretty strawberry roan paint horse with chrome, and many others. Earlier a mule had caused quite the uproar in the intake area. Missy was stalled next to a pretty horse that was having a thyroid tumor removed. Her owner had travelled from Durango in southern Colorado to northern Colorado. The owner had a motel room.
Missy had a wonderful 4th year veterinarian student who cared for her while she was in the clinic. I am proud of how well Missy did. She was impeccable at loading into our trailer. My husband Tom was a trooper. He reports his neck, shoulders and arms are in pain from gripping the steering wheel so tight. My head hurts from clenching my teeth. We older folks are tired to the bone. But all is well, and the prognosis for the patient is GOOD! Missy 2 Bears is only 14 years old, and she should have a long life still in front of her. Perhaps someone dumped her at auction, where the kill buyer got her because they didn’t want to deal with her messy problem. Somehow, she found her way to us. I am grateful we could do what we could. Missy is very bonded to our big Mustang, Spirit. Hopefully they will grow old in the paddock together.
We will be spending the next two weeks caregiving for our girl. Grateful we are indeed that she will get better. The Vet bill was less than we first thought. It only cost one arm, not an arm and a leg. If the tumor were larger we could not have afforded general anesthesia as they opened her abdomen.
BTW, Equine Surgeons are quite similar to human surgeons. Experts at what they do. Not much time to chat. In the meantime, I have missed much of what went on in the world this week, and a couple of my friend’s birthdays. I apologize. I am still a happy balloon, but somehow the air escaped and I am flat for now!