This post is breaking my heart to write...
After all we have done and continue to do for Carmen, she is still not improving. These past couple of months have been insane, hence why our updates haven't been as regular. However, this does not mean we have not been doing anything. Most of this is a waiting game... All through June & July we had our vet here. Carmen's nasal discharge was not going away, so we had nasal x-rays taken to check her sinus cavity & mouth (since we had her teeth floated shortly after she came to us). She had been on SMZ - it goes away & comes back...no change in discharge. She had been on stronger antibiotics and the same thing occurs. It goes away and then it comes back. We have not been able to move forward with extracting Carmen's tooth because she is still not stable enough according to our vet. She is concerned that if we extract this tooth with her insulin levels still being so high that we could shock her system and lose her... So we moved forward with flushing her sinus. This consisted of our vet having to drill a hole in to the sinus cavity and then flushing her sinus weekly. We were hoping that it would buy us some time and we would be able to get her insulin levels down to a number that would allow us to extract her tooth.
Carmen's diet consists of Sentinel LS as grain with flax seed, hoof supplement (to help with her feet), organic apple cider vinegar with mother, plain beet pulp - NO MOLASSES, Rx: Prascend (recommended dosage for her Cushing's), and soaked hay (to draw out sugars). Not to mention fresh water. Carmen's water buckets easily get dirty with her soaked hay, soaked feed, runny nose, etc. To promote drinking we ensure her water is checked multiple times a day and occasionally dumped and refilled multiple times a day, but at the very least both buckets are dumped and cleaned daily.
Carmen's hoof angle and growth are closely monitored. She needs trims more regularly to ensure that we bring her toe back slowly, so that we do not cause more discomfort. After taking new radiographs (x-rays) of both front hooves last week, we received more bad news. Carmen's coffin bone is not receding back to normal position and her right coffin bone is still slightly rotated. Our biggest fear is Carmen's coffin bone coming through her sole since there has been no change with her frequent trims. Our vet recommended our farrier, who specializing in laminitis, put special shoes on Carmen now that she has some solid hoof wall built up and plan a new regimen for her hoof care. She will be receiving special shoes on ALL FOUR hooves this coming week.
***UPDATE SEPTEMBER 24, 2017:
Carmen blew two more abscesses last night in both of her back feet...
As if we hadn't gotten enough bad news on Carmen, our vet just contacted us with MORE...
We received some of Carmen's bloodwork back... HER CUSHING LEVELS HAVE DOUBLED.
Now, we expected them to be a little high with the season and the stress, but not doubled. We are still awaiting her insulin level results to come back, but our vet is concerned with how much more this mare can take.
Please, Carmen... stay STRONG... WE LOVE YOU... AND WE ARE NOT GOING TO GIVE UP!!!
UPDATE SEPTEMBER 26, 2017:
Carmen's insulin levels came back normal - THANK GOD FOR SOME GOOD NEWS!!!
Her Rx: Prascend (Cushing's medication) has also been increased to hopefully bring her Cushing's levels down
To everyone who has been following her story - thank you for all of your prayers & comforting words. We will continue to fight for this wonderful girl!!!
Carmen - standing patiently WITHOUT sedation for x-rays to be taken of sinus & teeth
Our vet had to drill into sinus cavity & leave open for weekly sinus flushing... look at her KIND EYE! Even through her pain she is the sweetest horse!
Our wonderful Carmen has been stoic throughout her journey. She's never lost her sweet personality and which is both a blessing and a curse. It's often hard to tell when horses like this are in pain or if there is something wrong. The past couple of weeks Carmen has had greenish nasal discharge and an odor coming from her breath. Naturally, we called the vet - started SMZ and monitored her process. Every time we'd finish a course of SMZ, the nasal discharge would soon follow. Now we are not the type of people to "wait around and see." Not when you have a horse who has been through so much already.
The vet came back out yesterday and we finally got some more answers...
Her bloodwork came back abnormal. They ran a Metabolic test to check for Equine Cushings Disease (also known as Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction or PPID). The results were concerning...Carmen's levels were not only very high for Cushings, but also very high for insulin. She also had elevated ACTH and insulin which is consistent with EMS (Equine Metabolic Syndrome.) Not only were our hearts absolutely breaking for our girl, but the question most on everyone's mind was HOW?! Since arriving at Twin View Carmen's diet changed dramatically. She is not on grass, she is given grass hay, she is off regular grain and is strictly on Sentinal LS, all her treats are the low/no sugar... We were blaming ourselves, but our vet reassured us this is not something to blame anyone for. The cause is hard to determine in any horse. It can be genetic, age related, etc. It just happens.
Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) most commonly occurs in middle-aged horses (approximately 8 - 18 years) and is characterized by obesity (not the case for Carmen), laminitis and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance (IR) is a failure of the body to properly respond to insulin, a hormone that transfers sugar (glucose) from the bloodstream into the tissues. Since Insulin Resistance is also associated with Cushing’s Disease, the two conditions are sometimes confused. Cushing's Disease is a dysfunction of the pituitary gland often times caused by a tumor on the pituitary gland. Identifying the culprit is still essential to proper treatment. Our vet prescribed Prascend for current treatment...
But that was not all for Miss Carmen... there was still her nasal discharge and odor that needed to be addressed. The vet x-rayed Carmen's face to look at her mouth, jaw, nasal passages, etc. It was discovered on one x-ray that there is a tooth in her mouth that does not have roots appearing and another showed some swelling in her nasal cavity/sinus'. She prescribed a stronger antibiotic and will be back in a couple of days to flush Carmen's sinus' and hopefully this will give her some more relief.
As far as her hooves (feet) are concerned, there is quite a bit of new growth, but because of what is going on internally (high insulin levels and high levels for Cushing's) her hoof wall is flaky. Carmen is also battling one abscess after another. Just when one heals, another one pops up. Our farrier is out regularly checking on her process and making small changes here and there to slowly bring her hooves where they need to be while ensuring she is not in pain.
We will continue to say this again and again...we love this mare with all our heart...she is an incredible, strong girl and she deserves the best care that we can give her.
With these new challenges arising, we appreciate all the love and support that people have shown Carmen thus far on her long road to recovery!
Today was a BIG day for Georgie Girl! She was successfully incorporated into a herd with 6 new horses! She is in one of our largest pastures now and we are very proud of how easily she transitioned. She has been turned out with her friend, Zam, for multiple weeks now, so she was not incorporated alone. She still has Zam, but she quickly buddied up with our Halflinger pony, Tauri! Though it took Georgie a couple days to feel comfortable around Tauri by herself (without Zam near), the two are now good pals. Tauri even nickers for Georgie when she sees her coming out of the barn in the morning!
Check out the pictures below from day one of the incorporation!
Andre, our farrier, was up again today trim some of our horses and look at Carmen. We spoke with him at length about Carmen's feet. She's battling abscess after abscess on different feet. Just when she gets over one - another one comes up and we just feel terrible for her.
Andre explained that as her feet heal the old/damaged tissue inside needs to be disposed of. As her body pushes it out it will come through the hoof. He told us that as she continues to heal and her new hoof grows, it's going to be a bit rough. The best we can do is keep her feet clean and dry and make her as comfortable as possible. Which means, every time she acts like she's footsore - soak her foot. Pack her hoof if necessary. He praised us for always asking questions and sticking to our game plan which is getting Carmen back to being comfortable!
This has been an exciting week for Miss Georgie! She has officially been turned out with Zam & is VERY happy to be out all day with her new pal. She has also been socializing with some of the other horses across the fence and seemed especially interested in Pepper, a little pony! It has been beautiful the past couple days and today is supposed to rise to almost 70 degrees!!! All the horses are soaking up as much sunshine as they can today before we get rain showers all day tomorrow. Pictures of Georgie and her new friends below!
While Momma (Carmen) is recovering from her abscess, we have started turning Georgie out in a smaller paddock with a new friend across the fence...and she LOVES him! Alakazam ("Zam" for short) is a Shire/TB cross standing about 17.2hh. He has been looking for a friend ever since his previous herd mates found new homes. Georgie seems to be his new fix and she seems to feel the same way! Yesterday was the first try with this new turnout and Miss Georgie pranced right up to the fence to meet her new buddy. She stayed by him all day. Today was just the same. She happily pranced right up to him, said "Hi" and then proceeded to eat her hay right next to his pile (though on her side of the fence!) Since Zam has a tendency to get a little nervous when he is by himself, it was wonderful to see Georgie keeping him calm throughout the day. We are hoping to incorporate them soon! Pictures below are from day one!
For those of you who guessed...Carmen had another abscess. Our vet came out the very next day and opened the abscess to allow it to drain. Back to packing her hoof every day! She was walking much better the following day and the rest of the week. For those of you wondering - why call the vet? Our reason is simple. Yes, it was just an abscess - this time... Carmen's feet have been under a lot of reconstruction recently, which is why we wanted to be 100% sure we weren't dealing with anything worse than an abscess. Our goal is to get her better and in doing so we turn to the professionals to ensure the best care for her.
Carmen is back to turnout in our indoor arena with Georgie! Please stay tuned for updates
Thank you all for your support! Carmen was slowly improving until this morning where we had a little set back. This past week she had graduated from being turned out in our indoor arena to finally going outside in a smaller, flat paddock with Georgie. The girls loved being outside in the fresh air and munching on hay. However, this morning Carmen is non-weight bearing on her left front with heat in her heel, pastern, and halfway up her cannon. She also has some swelling on the lower half of her cannon. She will be on bute for the next couple days with around the clock monitoring. Fingers crossed this is not related to any previous issues. Carmen retains her sweet disposition through all of this and we are hoping this does not bring her recovery to a halt. Keep the prayers coming for our kind mare! We appreciate all the support and love from all of you!
Carmen getting love from her new daddy
Well, today was the day! Our farrier came out to look at Carmen's feet on Saturday and decided to come back today to start the process of getting her feet back to normal.
His work began by pulling off her casts and checking the hoof below. After the casts came off you could clearly see that Carmen's toe was bruised on her front feet. He placed a shoe on her front right foot, but is going to wait until her front left hoof gets better before placing a shoe. He also trimmed up her back hooves, but didn't want to do too much to her all at once since this will already be quite the change for her. Carmen stood very well for our farrier while he worked on her. We put Georgie on the cross ties in the wash stall a few down from her so that Carmen could have her support.
While Carmen was having her feet done, our vet continued to monitor Carmen as well as give her a thorough exam. During her exam she recommended that Carmen have her teeth done. Well, why not? The vet was there and Carmen was already sedated. So, she opens her mouth and takes a better look. Well... she did need her teeth done! It was discovered that she actually had a tooth in there that was overgrown and was likely causing her some discomfort (pictured below). BUT - we took care of that. A tooth like that explains why Carmen had lost weight. We had already been wetting her food (thankfully!) so at least it had been easier for her to eat, but now with that tooth taken care of it should be even easier.
Carmen's road to full recovery is just beginning. We are very happy that the girls have found their home with us! With that being said, the costs for Carmen's treatments are quickly piling up. If you are able to help us in supporting her recovery please click the link below. We have started a GoFundMe for Carmen!
Thank you all for your well wishes for our girl. She truly is an angel and she WILL be well again. Just takes a little time and a lot of TLC (which we have PLENTY of!!!)
You can tell from the picture above that our Carmen needs some weight (which will come with time), but look at how good she is being for our farrier!
Friday morning we discovered that Carmen had an abscess in her back left hoof. We spent a good while soaking her leg in a bucket of Epsom salt and warm water. While her foot soaked Jeff gave her a good grooming. She loved all the attention!
Our farrier is coming tomorrow to look at Carmen's feet. He has looked over her x-rays and hopefully will have a plan on getting Carmen more comfortable. We are also going to have him look at Carmen's back hoof where the abscess erupted.
On a positive note - Georgie was awesome while we were taking care of Carmen! Even though she couldn't see her mom she wasn't stressed out. She happily munched on her hay in her stall (: