Friday, June 18, 2021

A New Day for Epona

 

As you all know, since Cowgirl's delivery of Epona, we have dealt with a retained placenta and pharyngeal dysfunction. Epona is three weeks old today, and her care has been the focus of our lives. She is doing much better, and we have high hopes for a positive outcome, as she outgrows the pharynx immaturity / dysfunction.

After the last post, I was getting very discouraged at Epona's lack of progress, so I returned to my old philosophy of less is *sometimes* more.  I asked myself if anything I was doing was also getting in the way of her recovery. Horses are semi-feral animals, and they are imprinted with their own survival. What did they know that might help Epona?

That day, after I'd just written Cowgirl was over her hives, she suddenly broke out into hives again, and I determined they were related to stress.  Cowgirl was telling me something was wrong. She was, at times, avoiding nursing, and we went back and forth between--not a good mother...to pain. 

I found a website that broke down three different types of scenarios where mares reject foals, and what they mean. Cowgirl's type: protective, attentive, but walks away while nursing is 100% pain related. 

That was good to read, as it allowed me to focus on giving her pain relief with Bute until she and Epona get this nursing thing down. I imagine, much of her issue is from Epona's dysfunction issues. And vice versa. A viscous cycle. At any rate, it seems to have resolved itself, and she is allowing Epona to nurse whenever she wants to now.  They are very close, and often will mutual groom together. 



The biggest change was allowing them out into their small, grassy area again and, in the evenings, the big pasture. Within two hours of allowing them to graze, Cowgirl's hives began to disappear, and they have not returned. Epona began to copy her mom by grazing, and I felt that it was worth whatever small risk was involved if it also gave her practice swallowing. We had removed all the loose straw and hay in their area a week before, but it's impossible to keep up entirely with stray bits falling to the ground when Cowgirl feeds from her hay net. It seemed like green grass was better than dry grass when it came to Epona trying to ingest something. (Note: foals will try to eat anything they see, without discretion.)

The changes in Epona came quickly. She seemed stronger, and her nursing became more efficient. She did develop diarrhea, but that is normal for foals at this age. When our vet finally got back to us about it, she said that as long as she's active, alert, hungry, and her vitals were healthy, it wasn't anything to worry about. We told her we'd given her 20cc of Pepto Bismol and applied petroleum around her bottom, after cleaning her, to keep the diarrhea from sticking to her fur. Our vet approved of those actions and said they also have a prescription anti-diahhreal they can give her, if the Pepto doesn't work.

Her next appointment is this Monday, where they will take x-rays of her lungs again, and we will find out how much progress she has made, and if we need to take further steps.

I am optimistic. Guardedly optimistic, but definitely optimistic. I know I have said I would never breed a horse again, and that is true. But I have to also say, being a part of this foal's life has been one of the most incredible journeys of my life. It has been a privilege. As horse owners, we are often asking for miracles, and I have definitely been seeking one for Epona. Sometimes, we get those miracles we've asked for, and sometimes we don't, so we have to be okay with what comes in between--one day, one week, one year, or decades. We have to be okay with what we've been given. I'm thankful for every day with Epona.


8 comments:

  1. The 3 week mark is one I always look for- that is when they seem to thrive and get stronger and more developed. I think your little darlin' is going to be just fine; and I hope her next vet check gives her the all clear.
    Being responsible for such a fragile life is a huge responsibility and it is also very humbling and grace filled.
    You did great.

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    1. Thank you, Shirley. I look forward to seeing her grow stronger in her third week. Today is the beginning of the 3rd week for her. She looked good this morning. I may even feel confident enough to leave the house tomorrow and go see my dad for Father’s Day, and to start hauling T to our local equestrian park next week. I look forward to a little more freedom, if Epona can do well without me.

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  2. I enjoyed seeing the happy girl stretch her legs, and the mutual grooming video is very sweet! Epona is precious!! I have no doubt every day that passes with her, makes your heart(s) swell just a little more. It will be fun to watch her grow up. Your horses are very fortunate to have your TLC!! Best wishes for a good outcome on Monday.

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    1. Thank you. I’m looking forward to Monday and more clarity. So much horse care is detective work, but some things just can’t be known without xrays and ultrasounds. Our vet clinic has been crazy busy this spring. They are really hard to get into. The situation in our area is that most do not do emergency calls anymore, so our clinic has taken almost all of the emergency duties onto themselves, and they serve a massive area. I’m happy we have our appointment, and will get their undivided attention for a bit.

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  3. Loved her videos! Seems like she’s doing so much better. Good luck with the vets,I’m sure she’ll get a good report,

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    1. I sure hope so! She seems healthy, just watching her.

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  4. I agree that often less is more. I’m so glad that she’s doing well. And the mutual grooming is precious

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    1. Yes, the less is more philosophy is often just the right treatment. I have friends who breed lots of mares every season, and they’re out in pasture all day together. They seem to have the least amount of issues. I’m not comfortable with turning them out with the herd, but it is something on my mind.

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