Good New: No Herpes
No News: The results of yesterday’s bone scan: Inconclusive. Inconclusive? Now what?
Facts: The horse is in a lot of pain. They’re calling it a Grade 3 level of pain
Other Facts: The equine facility knows that I am unhappy with the mounting costs of this adventure. Yes, I had to do it for the safety of the other horses in the barn AND for the sake of Gabby but Holy Sinkhole Batman, she’s been in isolation for one week and we only just now found out that she doesn’t have anything communicable.
I apologzied to the doctor for being such a pain and I hate being a pain. I was raised to be nice so it hurts to have to call and gripe.
The Future: Not bleak; but unkown other than no one will be riding Gabby for quite some time (at least a year).
Possibilities: Breed her. She’s a TB mare and a foal with be worth something. I guess. Whatever. I don’t know.
My teacher assures me that if this had happened while Gabby was at her old home, she would have been put down, so I’m doing a wonderful thing and I guess I rescued her. I never wanted to rescue anybody. I never wanted to get into the horse business either and seems like the whole breeding thing is The Horse Business writ large. Mind you, I live in the suburbs (we have one of those highway sound walls in the back yard because A Major Interstate Runs Through It rather than a river) and commute to the barn. I don’t want a place out in the country, I don’t want to fix fences, drive through mud, cross my fingers when the power goes out, gather and split firewood, etc etc. I did all of that in a previous life and there’s no way I’m moving back out into the country. The country is for escapes and vacations. The suburbs are for day-to-day living (The Proper Way to Live for Me). What all this rambling means is that I’m going to be boarding a horse and I can’t board more than one.
The horse-thing is taking a turn for the . . .well . . .a different turn. Not what I expected, that’s for sure.
Her Gabbyness is still in isolation because her test results aren’t back. I’m not entirely confident that her samples have been tested yet because for heaven’s sakes why should anything happen quickly? So I’m paying extra for isolation costs and yes, the doctor knows about my general unhappiness with this situation. He’s a great guy, though (in fact, everyone there seems pretty great) so there’s no sense in being mean about it. However, I’ve got to show a little butt because that’s the way this evil world works. Oh yes indeed, how many times has being nice gotten me in trouble?
Yesterday I spent time in isolation with Gabby. The tech helped me to suit up (boot covers, paper coveralls, purple latex gloves) and explained the best way to keep the contaminated stuff in the dirty area and how to keep the clean area clean. I spent about a half an hour rubbing Gabby’s head, looking at her, and feeding her carrots. She’s still way twitchy on that left side.
Her fever’s down, by the by, and she is eating. The doctor thinks the whole cause of the fever is this internal inflammation and some of her blood work is consistent with this. There’s a protein or something that gets elevated when there’s internal inflammation that’s not the infectious, septic kind. Normal is 400 and Gabby scored a 900.
The orthopaedic doctor came and took a look at her, and I was around for that too. He flexed her in the stall and thinksthat her flexion was better, although her poor muscles twitched like a bunny nose some more. Then they took her outside and trotted her a wee bit under observation. She does a funny thing with her left front leg, sorta sends it out and around presumably in an attempt to avoid whatever is causing her problems.
The word “lame” was used more than once.
Gabby is still in an isolation stall since the tests that will be negative (fingers crossed!) havn’t come back yet. So I went and visited her over the weekend. Yesterday, my sister-in-law June and my husband Jack came along and we all got to feed her some carrots. Gabby sneezed all over Jack.
I tried to explain the isolation stall to my friend Kellie who said, “What, is she on suicide watch? Is there a little window where they can peer in to check on her and make sure she’s OK?”
Um. Kinda, yeah. The stall is made of block and painted off white/vanilla/ecru and there is indeed a window on the inside. The stalls are accessible for human from the inside and for horses from the outside. The exterior doors are Dutch doors/stall doors, so the top swings open and you can visit with your horse or maybe they can open the door and let the horse look around at the back of the horticulture school.
The doctor called me to let me know how she was doing. Man — when was the last time a doctor called to let you know something? That is the coolest thing about vets! They call! Gabby’s still experiencing pain and when I looked at her, the muscles over her left shoulder were twitching away like crazy. Not huge big but constant. I spent a lot of time looking at one shoulder and then the other, just to make sure I was seeing what I thought I saw and not what I expected to see. But yep, there’s an obvious difference from one side to the other. But she was scooting around OK inside the stall on Saturday. I thought she was a bit stiff on Sunday; didn’t come over to me as fast but maybe she was dozing with her eyes open. Life in Iso-6 can’t be very interesting so dozing seems like the proper response. But treats certainly got her attention and were gobbled in no time.
What’s most interesting, however, is the history that has been unearthed about Gabby, her refusal to jump, and her current symptoms. The pieces of the puzzle are coming together and this makes me feel pretty hopeful (There’s not much that’s worse than No Information. I mean, I was searching Google and finding out all sorts of bad things about horse diseases and worrying a lot).
According to the doctor, it’s probably not herpes — which is fantastic because then they can get her OUT of the isolation stall. As of last night, however, the results weren’t back from the lab so there was no confirmation. I’m going to go see her today and then make a pest of myself if she’s still in isolation because it costs. I saw some horse herpes pictures, by the by, and they were ghastly so though I have not yet gotten that up close and personal with Gabby, it’s nice to know I don’t need (probably) to look for the ghastliness. And thank you Erica for your information!
But she still won’t move around although the Bute has eased her pain. And she’s got a problem in either her left shoulder or high up on her left leg. When they palpitated her, she almost went to her knees in pain.
X-rays are fine as far as what x-rays can show so BUT the doctor has suggested a bone scan to find out exactly what and where the problem lies.
Did I mention that the reason the school I bought her from didn’t want her anymore was that she wouldn’t jump? And did I worry? No. Why? Because I don’t jump so why should I worry? Hmm……
“Jane Doe” is a woman with a sick horse who, on the recommendation of a veterinarian, has her horse in the hospital of a major equine health facility at a midwestern university which is famous for football. The horse has a range of mysterious symptoms that look sorta like the herpes/rhino thing, sorta like a bad virus, sorta like a big bad series of orthopaedic problems in the neck and left front, sorta like huh? To make matters much more jolly, the available lab results are inconclusive. No news is good news, right? So the lab work is being spun out or centrifugalized in an autoharp or whatever and the bone pictures are being taken by horse bone doctors and the phone is not ringing. It’s been 5 hours shy of 48 since the horse was admitted to the hospital. How depressed will Jane Doe be in 96 hours about her horse, her decision to buy a horse, her decision to take riding lessons, her birth, her parents’ marriage, and her ancestors’ decision to immigrate to America because if they had just stayed home none of this would have happened??????
Let X equal the amount of depression after 96 hours
Let G equal Good News
Let B equal Bad News
Let ? equal Uncertainty
Let LR equal Lab Results
Let TD equal the amount of Time to Deliver News
Solve for X
I tried to walk her today and she kept stopping. Then when I took her blanket off of her to groom her, Leah noticed that her muscles were trembling just underneath the skin. Gabby was also almost too stiff to reach down and get her hay, plus she wasn’t as chipper as she’d been the day before.
So Leah called the vet again who looked at her again and this time said he thinks she might have a herpes/rhinovirus thing. Different symptoms than the stuff that some other horses had last month.
So Gabby is now in Horse Hospital, in isolation after having her blood drawn, fluid taken from her abdomen, and a complete ultrasound. No speculation at this point and the blood work is inconclusive. I stood around while the doctors said a bunch of stuff I didn’t understand. Tomorrow they’ll call me and tell me a bunch more stuff that I don’t understand.
She was awfully good during the exam. Didn’t offer to kick or raise holy hell or do anything. I held her head and rubbed her face.
Will work for vet bills.
I’m optimistic — went out to see Gabby today. While there’s still no lab results, she’s definitely eating and drinking — not as much as usual but there are inputs and outputs. She also looked up when I came in, pushed her giant horse lips against the sides of her stall and begged for treats. She of course was not given any treats but I was so relieved. I think a begging animal is a healthy animal.
The Vet was there also (just coincidence — I didn’t know he’d be coming) and he says to just keep her on the medication since it is working. No need to make any changes at this time.
I stood in her stall with her and rubbed her head. It was very sweet. She tucked her head under my arm and when I rubbed her just under her foreolock, her eyes got heavy. I also rubbed the front of her broad head and rubbed and scratched along her neck. She is not the happiest of horses at the moment, but there’s nothing to panic about.
It was so sweet to just stand there with her and rub her head. This is the first time that I’ve been able to do something that she seems to really enjoy (other than giving her food). It was a very nice, nice time. So simple. So perfect.
Got an update from the barn. Gabby’s temperature is up, but she’s eating hay and drinking water, more than yesterday when her temp was lower. Would a higher temp be indicative of the body’s immune system doing its work and that she is therefore fighting off the infection? Another horse in the barn who had this fever had Zero while blood cells and spent time in the horse hospital.
No word yet on the lab work done on Gabby’s blood. Results are pending.
Gabby has a fever. The vet saw her this morning and by tomorrow we’ll know the results of her blood work.
She doesn’t toss her head up in the air and look eagerly at visitors. She stands with her head down, her lower lip trembling a bit. She only sips at her water which is very unusual for her. Normally, there is a river of urine running from Gabby’s stall to the drain in the middle of the floor. She was eating when I left due to the horse aspirin (whatever; it brings down the fever) and the vet wasn’t panicking. But if the blood work comes back Bad, then she’s off to the hospital.
So I took off her blanket to give her a nice grooming, picked out her feet, brushed her again with her soft brush (the one with the Queen’s seal of approval on it), put her blanket back on her, talked to Leah and Dennis (they are split 50/50 — one says she’ll get better right away, the other says she’ll get worse first), then came on home.
My cell phone’s at the ready.
“So much for Buckingham,” says the soon-to-be Richard III (he’s still, what, Richard Plantagenet at this point?) after dispatching yet another rival to the throne in Shakespeare’s Richard III (or not).
So much for getting behind riding and trotting over poles and such. God’s Wounds but I was nervous last night. It took forEVer for us to walk over the d***ed poles and I was sure, just as sure as Gabby, that we would DIE if we trotted over them. Melinda said, “Go ahead. Go. You’re the boss. Tell her to do it. It’s her job.” Ah. Gabby’s job. That made sense and I could get her to walk on. Gotta fulfill your job so that during evaluation time your supervisor will say good things rather than “Eh. You could do better.”
Just as the horse picks up on my fear, I pick up on the fear that the horse feels. Thus,we have a nice microwave oven of stuff indeed; a billiard table of emotion with the cue ball struck by a novice player who thinks hitting the ball, any ball, is good enough (not that I know anyone like that).
As soon as we walked over the poles, it was fine. Fear evaporated. Poof. But it was a lot different than Sunday’s lesson, last night’s lesson was. Gabby pulled her head out of my hands over and over and I was back to square one, tsking and tsking and grabbing the reins to pull her big old head back UP. Four steps forward, six steps back. That’s just what it’s like sometimes.