Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Life Just Got A Lot More Complicated

 Epona had her vet appointment today, and it is bad news--we have to take her off of Cowgirl.


Although, her lungs were a little better, they weren't good enough. They listened to her swallowing.


Then they did an ultrasound of her lungs.


Finally, they did another endoscopy. 


They hope the problem is only when she's lifting her head up to nurse, but we won't know for sure until we start to feed her from a bucket. Nursing from mom has to end as soon as possible. They said if she continues to aspirate, she will start developing lung abscesses, and they are very hard to treat and can scar.

This has left us scrambling to 1) figure out a system to cover up Cowgirl's teats (tape won't work, because Epona can pull it off, and 2) Secure enough milk replacer, which I've just done over the phone at several locations. If we can get her safely through two weeks of milk replacer, she can then transition to milk replacer pellets.

The hope is to keep her with mama, but if we can't figure out a safe way to cover Cowgirl's teats, we will have to separate them in adjoining stalls.

It's discouraging, to say the least.


12 comments:

  1. That is discouraging. Didn't the vets give you any ideas for covering Cowgirl's teats. Maybe wrapping something lightly around her underside and around the top sort of like a giant gauze bandage? I don't know, they should have given you something to work with. I'm sure if you treat her the way they suggest she will be fine with time. Good luck.

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    1. They didn’t want us to use tape, but I was thinking of using vet wrap. They suggested a T-shirt with some string, but I don’t see any way of doing that safely.

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  2. I think you will find that separating them will be easiest in the long run. Cowgirl's udder will fill up and get huge and uncomfortable for a few days so she might get a little cranky with a foal trying to work through whatever covers you come up with, to nurse. The udder will also leak, which will saturate whatever you cover it with.
    Poor little darling, she sure is having a rough start to life.
    Bless you guys for all your efforts for her.

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    1. We tried three different methods, and all were complete train wrecks, in my opinion. So we divided them, and they can still be very close, but she can’t nurse. Surprisingly, they took it very well. I’m waiting for enough time to pass to introduce a bucket of replacer tonight, and the rest is up to her. I’ll let you know more in the morning. But wise words, Shirley.

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  3. This is discouraging indeed. I’ll keep my fingers crossed and send positive thoughts your way. Its so much easier when we don’t have to complicate things with milk replacer. Ugh. …I have to say, after reading about your journey, I’m very glad that I never bred one of our horses. What a stressful nightmare. Hang in there — and stay cool. We are back to triple digits this weekend so I image you may be as well.

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    1. Oh no, I hope not! Yes, this is a nightmare, and I don’t see how we will get her to drink 18 quarts of replacer a day. We’ve made up our minds to spend the day out there, 1/ Milking mama and adding to replacer milk and pellets, 2/ offering mama’s milk as stand alone, 3/ dipping our fingers into the bucket, and possibly her muzzle, and trying to get her to drink from a bucket, 4/ resort to bottle feeding, just long enough to give her a taste for replacer, 5/ if all fails, milk mama down and put them back together, try again when she rehydrated, pray we can get her to the point where pellets and water are good enough.

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  4. I am so sorry you didn't receive the news you hoped for. You've done everything in Epona's best interest, and then some. This will no doubt be complicated, but these struggles will eventually become a thing of the past. All your efforts will be worth it, when Epona is enjoying the trails with you guys and Tumbleweed as a mentor. I believe that day will come.

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    1. Thank you for the positive outlook. We are going to continue this for a while longer, but if she isn't drinking water and milk by mid-afternoon, when temps are the hottest, we're going to make a decision, I think, to put her back on her mom and let nature take its course. The antibiotics were staying ahead of the pneumonia, and every week gets us closer to solid food. I can't see letting her die of dehydration and starvation when we are so close to getting to a stronger stage. If it doesn't work, it doesn't work, but at least we tried.

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    2. I had the feeling yesterday, and so did Shiloh, that the vet is somewhat cutting us free. She made her recommendation, but that's as far as she was willing to go.

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    3. A second opinion is never a bad idea. Maybe a review of what has already been done. Do you have a vet hospital that handles more unique care? Our University has one, they get many of the more challenging equine (and other) cases. Sounds like putting her back on moms milk may be the best option. Epona might just need a little more time. Best of luck with whatever you & Shiloh decide!

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    4. I have to agree, get a second opinion.

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    5. I’m pretty confident in her care so far. I think the vet is right to encourage us to switch her to replacer, but implementing it is where there’s gray area. When we get our call back, I want Shiloh to discuss the possibility of having them keep her for awhile and getting her switched. If we did make a move like that, it would be a commitment to keeping them apart.

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