Prior to my trip to the Canadian auctions in September, I was made aware of the plight of an Arabian Cross mare. She had an injury on her left rear hock that would swell, drain (no pus.....bloody liquid) and then go down some. The owner had flatly refused to allow me to call a vet and pay for it personally. TIER was/is not in a financial position to rescue this mare from the owner and the owner refused to donate her. Upon my return from the auctions, I contacted the owner of the mare to see if she was still there. She was and they still refused to donate her or come down in their asking price as she is considered to be very well "broke". Sigh.
I cannot believe how hard it is for me to write this. I have been struggling with "How do I begin". It is so difficult for me to even put this in print as I can hardly see what I am writing.
The lovely Arabian mare, Dobbin, is no longer with us. She crossed the Rainbow Bridge on 12/30/2002.
I was doing the evening feeding/visiting the horses, and when I looked up into the area where Dobbin was turned out, I could not see her. I quickly looked over at the gate to see if it had been opened as she had been there on my way out to feed. The gate was closed. I started calling her name and running over to the turnout area. There, I found Dobbin lying on her side with her feet against the wire of the pen. My first hope was that she had become cast......but Dobbin very rarely just lies down. As I ran to the gate I got that hollow feeling that is quickly followed by your stomach dropping to the ground. She was in trouble, her coat was matted with sweat and she was breathing heavily. I tried to roll her over, couldn't, and ran to the phone to call the vet. He was in the middle of a complicated surgery and gave me instructions over the phone on the dosage of medications.
I loaded the syringes and ran out to Dobbin.....but she wasn't there!! I had left the gate open and she had run back to her stall. I could hear her banging on the walls of her stall and immediately ran over. She was again lying down, feet to the walls of the stall and couldn't get up. I quickly administered the medication, got a rope around her back leg that was on the ground and flipped her over. She stood and I led her to the roundpen where there was less chance of me not being able to roll her over should she go down again.
We walked. For a long time we walked. I talked and we walked. I put my head to her forehead and cried. I called to God, to the other horses, to anything/anyone out there to help her. Whatever that help might be......but just help her.
Every two hourse I administered medication and updated the vet. Thank goodness we had that medication on hand. For that, I thank you all! Your kindness and generosity enables us to have medication on hand for emergencies and treatment. Thank you so very much.
She settled and laid down quietly. I put blankets and coolers in the clothes dryer to warm them up and covered her sweaty body. She only got up once to change positions around 1:00 a.m.
When it was daylight again, I got her up and we walked. I left her standing in the roundpen as I went about feeding everyone else and she remained standing. Always facing me as I made my rounds from horse to horse.
At some time during the previous night I knew she would be leaving us. Sometimes you just know. You hope. You cling. You deny. You cry. You pray for miracles.....yet you know.
The vet arrived and examined her. He said he could feel loops in her lower bowel and recommended that we let her go. Surgery wasn't an option as he felt it was either a twisted bowel that had ruptured, a stone or the possibility of tumors that had strangulated her intestine. Her heart rate was high and her color was very poor.
I walked away from her and just stood in the center of the roundpen. I was being overwhelmed by feelings......hopelessness, loss........ And the questions come hammering in......Can she make the ride to the clinic? Can she make it through surgery? Am I trying to hold her here for me? Am I doing the right thing? What else can I do to help her???
I squatted down and looked at the ground as if it had the answers. Dobbin walked away from the vet and came to me. She put her head down and let out a big horsey sigh through her nostrils. Warm Dobbin breath one more time blowing on my face. Soft, deep brown, loving eyes one more time looking into mine. She was tired of fighting. I believe that she was letting me know it was okay and she was ready. I laid my forehead on hers, put my hands on either side of that wonderful face and told the vet "Okay. She wants to go."
As the vet was getting the injections ready, I took my knife from my pocket and sectioned off a part of her mane. Dobbin moved her body into me as I took a lock of her mane. She leaned there, with her head down until the vet came to release her from this life. After the injection, she looked at me one more time and I swear I saw a twinkle in her eye! That wonderful, bright-eyed look of welcome, recognition, glad to see ya was there for one last moment and then she turned her head away, laid down and galloped across the Rainbow Bridge. Tail flagged, legs pumping, mane flowing, nostrils flared, eyes sparkling, feet dancing on the wind effortlessly .................Dobbin crossed the bridge while leaving a trail of love, caring, grace, dignity, respect, smiles, laughter.......and with her went a piece of my heart.
Thank you Dobbin for teaching me. Loving me. Talking to me. Thank you for you. I miss you so!!
Dobbin is doing wonderfully! (Need to get new pictures up!) The surgical site on her leg is healing slowly, but it is looking very good! This mare is absolutely awesome. She is so personable and loving. She follows us around like a pocket pony! Through the long term daily care of her leg, she has been patient and kind. Such a good girl. We are at the stage of healing where we are using Underwood's Horse Medicine & Baking Powder with very nice results! No manifestation of new proud flesh! Recently, she has had another pocket of infection open up on the inside of her thigh next to her udder. Depending on how this site responds to medication, etc. surgery might be indicated. Sigh, as I said earlier, funds are at an all time low and we still owe 1,500 for the recent acquisition of a truckload of Timothy/Orchard hay......but, if surgery becomes necessary we shall most certainly have it done.
Dobbin is doing very well after her surgery. Currently, per instructions from our vet, Nolvasan Cream is being applied to the surgical site and then wrapped in gauze. We then wrap cotton sheeting (4 large sheets) over the gauze wrap which is then followed by vet wrap (in assorted colors of course!). SWAT fly repellent is being applied below the wrap, on her legs, face, etc. due to Dobbin being so very allergic to flies. She is also wearing a netted fly sheet which was donated by Elizabeth. Thank you Elizabeth!!!!!
The site is healing well and it won't be much longer before the wrap can be removed completely. At that time, we will begin the next stage of healing applications per our vet.
Dobbin is in good spirits, eating well, shedding (most probably due to her recent surgery & the warmer days). We are adding oil & garlic to her feed. (Garlic to help repel flies--Oil to assist with shedding/dry skin).Prior to surgery, she was not lame, nor did she favor her leg. This is still the case. If we left it up to Dobbin, she would be out running around with the others!!! HA! She will remain in her "shedrow type" stall (the same one that Precious Gem stayed in when she was recovering from her surgery), until our vet indicates she is able to join the others.
Results from the biopsy of the mass on Dobbin's leg are back from the pathologist.
Lab results indicate the mass is a localized allergic reaction. The vet is questioning the pathologist on the results for more in depth information. It was originally thought that perhaps the mass was a tumor or cancerous type growth. It is not known what has caused this allergic reaction. The vet has seen localized allergic reactions before, but not to this degree.
Surgery will be scheduled at a later date.
When I last visited with Dobby she was bright eyed and, as usual, sweet/loving. We went for a walk together and she was the perfect lady! This mare is such a kind soul. I still have trouble understanding why previous owners did not feel it was necessary to care for her better. I guess I will never understand.
Once we have more definitive information on her surgery date, I will let everyone know.
Thank you to all of you who have been there for Dobbin. Also, thank you to those that have offered words of encouragement and patience to us. Although we have been knashing our teeth for information (want to KNOW right NOW!!), we have absolute faith in our veterinarian, his expertise, his knowledge and.....his heart. A good and talented man who actually cares about the welfare of the horses!!
Dobbin is at the vet clinic for evaluation/diagnostic procedures and surgery if that is the best option. A blood panel was run and a biopsy of the mass will be done sometime this week.
It seems evident that the mass has been there for at least a year or longer! The vet indicated that had this situation been addressed at the onset, it would not have evolved into the mass it has now become. If only the people who had owned Dobbin when this appeared had done something....
But, Dobbin has all of us now and we are all doing as much as we can.
Many heartfelt thanks to everyone for being there for Dobbin! Because of your caring, Dobbin will have a chance to be the best she can be. Because of YOU!!!
Let me tell you........Dobbin is a wonderful girl! She is well trained, polite and a beautiful mover in spite of the problem with her hock! The "growth" on her hock doesn't impair her movement, nor does she seem to realize that she has a problem! I put her in the pasture with Grace so she could move about a bit and she was running, bucking, kicking, farting with glee!
Okay...here's the information we received from the vet regarding x-rays:
The x-rays did NOT show any foreign object(s) imbedded. Our vet took x-rays from every angle, yet no objects were visible.
The mass is contained and the bone is NOT involved! (Yeah!!!!!!).
The initial concern was that if the vet removed the mass, the remaining skin (after cutting some of it away) would not be healthy enough to heal properly. Upon further examination, the vet indicated that he thinks the skin will heal after a surgery is performed. It will take daily care.
As to the mass itself.....the vet will not know exactly what it is unless he does do surgery. It could be a tumor, scar tissue, etc. He just won't know unless he goes in. Surgery would be a rather extensive ordeal as there are probably blood vessels within the mass and he will have to be very careful.
The vet gave us two options:
1) Because Dobbin has has this for a long time and it does not seem to be compromising her system (it is contained), we can leave it as it is or
2)Surgery can be performed and intensive aftercare would be needed.
Because this mass has two openings that drain when Dobbin moves about, we think that surgery would be the best option. (Input? What do you think?) The vet would also do a biopsy when he performs the surgery in order to establish whether the mass is a tumor, etc.
So, we have decided to send Dobbin to the vet's clinic next week (Thursday) and have the surgery done. The cost of the surgery will be approximately 350.00 barring complications and a long stay at the clinic. I will contact June & Jerry of Sunset Equine Transportion about transporting her to the clinic.
I have set up my schedule to be available to view the surgery and to make sure that I will be able to do the aftercare. I will speak to the vet to find out what type of medications and bandaging will be needed.
Thank you all for being there for Dobbin! She is such a lady. A True Innocent with class!
The vet was out on Saturday and took x-rays. Volunteer Mel assisted with cleaning the wound/leg prior to the vet's visit. Dried up discharge from the wound was very thick on her leg and hoof. Needless to say......she was patient with our ministrations and seemed to enjoy the attention.
The vet does have some concerns. The swelling is hard..indicating scar tissue or a tumor. In order to do surgery, she will have to be laid on her back to keep her from bleeding to death...thus, she will have to go to the vet's surgical clinic. X-rays were taken and we will know the results today 12/4/01 when the vet comes out to geld black 1 yr. old TB stallion that was purchased 2 weeks ago in order to keep him from going to auction. (Pics & updates will be forthcoming. He IS available for a new home.)
The main concern voiced by the vet is that if surgery is done to remove the scar tissue/tumor..or whatever it is, that the surrounding skin may not be healthy enough to heal properly. If this skin is too unhealthy to close/heal after a surgery, we may be creating a worse problem than already exists. We will keep everyone informed as to the decision per the vet's advice.
When the vet was preparing to do the x-rays on this lovely mare, he said "Bring ol' Dobbin over here." The name kinda stuck. Dobbin was/is a name used for steady - dependable horses on farms. (Kind of like.....Buttercup, etc.) So, we've been calling her Dobbin because she is quiet, listens well, causes no problems with the other horses (except when Pearl shows interest in her food.....then Pearl starts screamin at her and Dobbin pins her ears and herds Pearl away.)
We do not know if there is a foreign object in the mass on Dobbin's leg and there is no guarantee that an x-ray would pick up an object (wood, etc.). Let's all send positive thoughts that the skin on this mass is healthy enough to heal.
Thank you ALL for reaching out to help Dobbin. She certainly deserves it!
Last Wednesday, I was returning from working with the foals that are currently being housed at the UPF facility and I drove by the property where the mare was located to see if she was still there. It was obvious that the injury had been sprayed with something, but it looked worse and she had dropped weight. As I drove away from where she was being kept, I had a hollowness inside me. It makes me so angry that the life of a horse and the quality of that life is based in !!! As I traveled down the freeway towards home I felt (again) that I was abandoning this precious life. I turned around and went back.
After much haggling (Owner: "She's not lame on that leg at all!" Owner's Wife & Child: "See! She can run without limping.") I gave the man 100.00 deposit with the assurance that I would pay the balance within 2 weeks. (I hope). The important thing was to get her out of there where she could receive veterinary care. She is now at TIER and the vet will be out this morning. Updates will be forthcoming. Any assistance you may have to offer would be greatly appreciated.
Warning - some of the images below may not be suitable for everyone.
TIER is in need of funds to pay her ransom and get immediate veterinary care. Please help us help her.