Friday, July 23, 2021

Epona's First Day At the Hospital

You all know me pretty well by now, so guess how much I slept last night, Epona's first night at the hospital? 

It was a tough night for all of us. God, we love that little horse! 

Hard to believe, but she turned 8 weeks today. It seems like she has been with us for years. 

Okay, enough sleep deprived rambling. Let's get down to business. 

We went to see her as soon as visiting hours opened, but after we'd made a call, as soon as they opened, to check on her. They told us they'd initiated an IV that night, and she had "perked up" this morning. That was NOT a lot of information, so you can understand our need to get there at the earliest possible moment.

As sad as Epona looks here, there were horses there that looked MUCH worse. It was a reminder that many people go through heartbreak with their horses. There was a beautiful fresian with a foal with a deformed front limb. There was a beautiful dunskin, that looked just like Tweed, laid out on a large table/mattress for MRI, that looked dead, but I don't know what state he was in. Seeing all of that, and more, I was rather relieved at Epona's condition.

Just like with us, she has refused any milk replacer. She also refused to drink water, and that is why they had to initiate an IV. She has eaten hay, about a flake, and started drinking a little water before we arrived. Her eye looks normal now. 

She was very, very tired from worrying all night, but happy to see us. We petted and loved on her, and tried to get her to eat milk pellets mixed with Mare and Foal. She wasn't interested. But then a palomino mare came in for examination, and when Epona saw her, she definitely thought it was her mama. 

Of course, it was not, but a sweet, sweet, beautiful mare, all the same. She reminded me of Rosalee. 

All the other horses seemed tuned into her, and she to them, and she seemed to take comfort in their presence. The techs  and interns, who live there (there are two, and they were the ones who started the IV last night at 12, with a little sedation) were very attentive to her needs.  She loved their scratches and hugs.

There is no way we could have provided the support they're giving her. We had to deal with all these things in 100 degree weather, and we knew that dehydration and starvation--coupled with stress--were killers. Hospitalization is the only way to go, in this situation.

I felt good about her energy level and health, but a little discouraged at her stubbornness eating. The vet is going to introduce alfalfa, which she also had here, and they will work to tweak a feeding regimen that works before the release her.

As you might have guessed, it's expensive. And, add to that, my daughter is expecting her first baby in 2 1/2 months. That is an added stress for them, even though we have helped them with a little bit of the burden.

As we were driving to the vet today, she made us an offer of co-owning Epona. 

To be honest, it is something I had already considered, but did not want to broach to her.

My husband and I are very attached to Epona, equally as much as our daughter and her husband. She is here with us everyday, and a big, big part of our lives.

There's a part of me that wants to do this, but another part that wants Epona to remain hers, and just help them with this. The issue, in my mind, is that there may be more costs along this road, costs that are insurmountable for them. And, she will be busy with the new baby, and I will have more time to train Epona. 

I think we will evaluate this decision as the week unfolds.


  1. I can imagine how stressful this is for all of you. I think taking one day at a time is the way to go.

    1. That’s all we can do. It’s a bit out of our hands now.

  2. Sending up more prayers for beautiful Epona.....
    It's a hard time, for sure. Your daughter being in her last trimester certainly doesn't need this stress. It's fortunate, albeit expensive, that you have good vet care for Epona, I'm sure it takes away some of the stress. Especially since the temperatures are set to soar again- hello August....
    I hope that nature will provide her the incentive to start eating her milk replacer and drinking water. (hungry, thirsty) Once it's all that is available to her, she may change her mind.
    I'm sure you are already a big help to your daughter. Having someone to just be there for you when times are tough is important. God bless you all.

    1. I just got back from my visit with her today, and she was off the IV. The pneumonia sounds worse, but they have her off all antibiotics until the culture comes back—probably 3-4 more days. She’s nibbling at her food and drinking a bit of water. Energy level is still good.

  3. Your vet clinic care is exceptional. The best place for Epona to be. I wouldn't sleep much either, knowing the first few transition days are the most critical. Best wishes that your families sweet filly has a smooth adjustment <3

    1. Yep, the first few days are the hardest. Little steps, I guess. It is a great clinic. Really nice people.

  4. Sounds like she's doing better at the clinic. I think once she starts eating and drinking more things will get better. I hope they get that culture back faster so they know what antibiotics to put her on to cure her. It's stressful not knowing but the vets know what they're doing. How is Cowgirl doing?

    1. The culture process is lengthy because they have to grow it, and then they have to try out a bunch of antibiotics, to see which it responds to. I sure hope they get it done sooner, rather than later. Cowgirl was sent home with Banamine, and I give it to her every 24 hours. That has seemed to help a lot, and has the added benefit of preventing stress colic. She didn't eat a lot the first 24 hours, but she seems to be eating more now. She isn't looking for Epona anymore, but she does want to be out with the herd. Unfortunately, she's also attacking them over the fence, so I don't think she's ready for company yet. My hope is that if, and when, we bring Epona home, we can divide their turnout and keep mom and baby next to each other until Cowgirl is unable to produce milk again, and Epona won't want it, they think 2 months. I would be able to feed them next to each other, and I think that would be good for encouraging Epona to eat her pellets and hay and drink her water. She imitates her mama. They would also be able to touch noses through the fence, and Cowgirl could stand over her while she sleeps at night. They'd have sight of one another, but not physical access.


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.