White QH Gelding. Appx. 16 - 18 yrs. Stout. Appx. 15.3 hands. This horse was a roping horse. He has been used very hard. He can no longer be used for roping, but he really knows his stuff! Because he was used so hard, he is unsound in his front legs. He has given so much of himself. Doing his job to the very best of his ability and doing it quite well no matter what! Until, he could longer be a roping horse and was dispensable. So, when someone can't use him any more they throw him away?
Jake arrived at TIER on 10-23-1999. He left us on 2-21-09.
One would think that having to make this decision so many times over the years, it would be not be so difficult as time goes on. Not the case with Jake. I fell apart and am still on the roller coaster ride of emotions. Sigh.
After speaking to the vet this morning and understanding that Jake's body was just unable to repair itself and function properly, the decision was made to help him cross the Rainbow Bridge.
Peggy, a volunteer who has been with us for many years accompanied me to the vet clinic. Jake had been a favorite of hers for years and she wanted to be there to say goodby. We brought carrots and many, many hugs. I had not seen him for a couple days and when I walked up to his enclosure he turned to look at me for a long moment, then promptly walked over. When he made that turn and gave me that look, I knew we were doing the right thing. He just wasn't happy. Who would be happy if you couldn't poop and had to rely on manual relief??? We had really hoped that he would regain functionality. There was a chance that it would get better and we gave it a shot.
Jake scarfed up the carrots Peggy gave him and wanted more! He was rather rude in his attempts to find more carrots! HA! I put my arms around his neck, rubbed his chest & withers and talked to him. Jake was never a snuggly horse. He had always been ready to do the job. He was level headed, a teacher of children, adults, a calming influence for excited/unsure horses. He taught children and unexperienced adults how to lead a horse, how to pick up and clean hooves, how to bathe a horse, how to halter a horse, how to groom a horse. If he was out roaming the area he would only bother you if you had goodies and he did that with respect and good manners.
When I hugged him yesterday, this stoic, solid, level headed horse that didn't care for snuggling put his head on my shoulder and leaned into me for quite awhile. I knew he was once again doing his job. Telling me it was okay, thanks for the memories and he was ready to go.
The vet and I were concerned that with Jake's heart condition it would take some time for the injection to work. Jake once more did the job at hand in his most efficient manner. He went quickly, with grace, dignity and respect.
I really feel the loss. I am so grateful to have had him in my life and the life of others. He was most certainly a shining gift.
Talked to the vet this morning. "This horse can really wreck a stall" is what the vet said. Huh? Vet said Jake is drinking and peeing like nobody's business. Yay!! CBC & chemistry were done and all is well in that area. No sign of infection. WHEW! He was put in the vet's grass paddock for several hours so that he could graze on soft grass which is moist and will help and just recently (8:38 a.m.) put back in his stall. (AFTER Dr. Hoyme cleaned it up himself! HA! His hired help is off on Sundays)
The main concern is the deviation in his colon. Will it heal? Has there been neurological damage which would keep him from being able to push the waste out properly. Questions, Questions.
Dr. Hoyme said he wants to keep him for a week or so to see what's going on. We don't know if he's a candidate for surgery or if Mother Nature will jump start the healing. At least I know he is being cared for during the times I would not be able to be here. That's a huge load off my mind even though the vet bill is going to be a struggle. A struggle that's worth it as Jake has given so much.
2/14/2009 - Valentine's Day
Per the vet's instructions, Jake was continuing to receive antibiotics twice a day, but the Banamine was discontinued as Jake did not seem to be in pain/discomfort.
His feed consumption was not good. He would eat some of the soft pelleted feed and then walk away. It would take him a whole day to eat what was a normal morning feeding of pellets. He was interested in alfalfa, but again, it would take him the whole day to finish off one flake......just eating the leaf. SIGH. Water intake was less than desirable too!
On the vet's last visit (#5) he indicated that I needed to use a hose to put water in Jake's rectum several times a day to help soften his stool so he could pass it. I felt so bad that I had to use that cold water that I started using buckets of warm water and a 60cc syringe with the nipple on it. It felt like I was there for hours syringing warm water into this poor boy.
Jake is such a gentleman! I doubt if he's ever had this much attention at one time. Especially to his rear end!
The subcutaneous emphysema is still a factor - it's about the same. Although funds are really tight and the Emergency Fund is rapidly dwindling, the decision was made to send Jake to the vet's clinic where Stool softners will be adminstered so he won't strain while trying to poop and therefore the deviation in his colon will have a better chance of repairing itself. He will also continue to receive the warm water enemas to help dislodge any manure that might get trapped. The enemas need to be done quite often and my work schedule doesn't permit me to keep the recommended schedule.
Jake went to the vet clinic yesterday. I put him in the stall, added the soft pellets to his feeder and watched him start taking MOUTHFULLS of the feed! Before he had just taken small bites of food and then would walk away. I told him he was going to Dr. Hoyme's to heal and that he would be home soon. I kept telling him he needed to get better, that I loved him and he would be missed while he was gone.
Jake was about the same yesterday. But, you could tell he is uncomfortable. He is not interested in eating any of his pellets or senior feed. He'll take a bite or two and then walk off. Of course, he wants to nibble on hay, but he is on hay restriction and not pleased. Water intake is not as much as I would like. I gave him his A.M. dose of penicillan.
The vet arrived and did another rectal exam. He was able to remove some softer than the last time manure. He did indicate that there is a deviation in the colon where some manure was packed and there was some sluffing of the mucousa. If there had been more sluffing, he would be worried, but at this point the vet doesn't think it's too big a deal unless Jake begins to sluff more. There still seems to be some blockage just out of reach of the vet's arm.
Vet felt that after two doses of laxative that some mineral oil might help with the blockage...if it is organic in nature. Since Jake is gray and does have some melanomas, it could very well be a cancerous blockage. But, Jake hasn't had any problems with colic or colic like behavior in the past, so we just aren't sure what the blockage might be. I asked about surgery, but the vet wasn't too optomistic about it. Due to Jake's age and the subcutaneous emphysema he's not sure of his chances. But.....as the vet said....he wouldn't rule it out.
Jake was oiled, recived a shot of Banamine, his P.M. dose of penicillan and blood was drawn for another CBC. The first CBC did not indicate any glaring abnormal levels. Jake's white count was a little low, but nothing to be alarmed about. Also, Jake's heart rate was a little more rapid. Gum color is good.
Sigh....Vet bills are mounting and we still need funds for hay!
I asked the vet if Jake's chances were 50/50. He indicated that Jake was holding his own and thought his chances at this point were more like 70/30. I am hoping I walk out there this morning and find that Jake is almost like his old self. I know the subcutaneous emphysema will take awhile, but it has not gotten any worse and has gotten slightly less puffy & crackly. My main concern is the blockage.
I am doing the Horseman's Prayer every few minutes. I'm praying for poop.
We are asking for prayers for Jake as he is not feeling well.
A year or so ago he and several of the other residents contracted a virus of some sort. We think it came from some new neighbors who had a lot of horses coming in an out. Everyone got through it okay, but it hit Jake the hardest. He was off his feed for several days and developed an irregular heartbeat as a result. After he got better, the heart condition seemed to level out and all was well.
In late 2008 Jake was swatting at flies around his sheath and nicked himself. His sheath swelled and he was placed on naquazone (sp?) and then antibiotics. I also administered bute as it seemed to work better. The swelling finally went down quite a bit, but it didn't return to normal.
2 days ago I noticed Jake was off his feed and somewhat lethargic. He had had an abcess in his right rear foot and I checked that. It was dried up and there were no abcesses in any other hooves. I administered 10cc's of Banamine and continued to do so for 2 days. I let him have the run of the property so that he would move around. I also put him in the front yard so that he could eat some of the grass. He didn't seem to be getting worse, but he wasn't getting better. Thursday I called out the vet.
Jake is pretty stoic, but I figured 2 days was enough. The vet indicated there were minimal gut sounds, temperature was normal, but the heartbeat was again irregular. The irregular heartbeat may also be the reason the edema in the sheath is not going down as it should. The vet adminstered a laxative through a tube in Jake's nose and we are crossing our fingers. I checked him this morning and he had FINALLY eaten a flake or so of hay.
Yesterday morning (Friday), I checked on Jake and was totally freaked out!! His face, chest and barrell were all puffy/swollen. I immediately called the vet who came out asap. Jake now has subcutaneous emphysema!!! Wikipedia definition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subcutaneous_emphysema
Apparently he injured himself somewhere on the right side of his neck. It is not apparent where the injury is or how he injured himself. He is now on 20cc's Penicillan twice a day.
Also, he is impacted. Laxatives were adminstered Thursday and again Friday. The vet did a rectal exam and removed some manure, but he feels there is more further up. Blood was drawn and a CBC will be done. We are waiting to see how he responds and if indicated, a blood chemistry will be done. Vet bills are mounting and funds are low!! Vet did indicate that his heartbeat was somewhat better. He has been taken off all hay and is only allowed soaked pellets. He is drinking a minimal amount of water and I am worried to death!
Jake has been a retiree at TIER for several years. He was a roping horse that could no longer do his "job" due to ringbone. His new job has been to teach children and novice volunteers about grooming, leading, picking feet, how to correctly give treats, give hugs, etc. He is an invaluable teacher of people and horses.
Jake is one of the horses we put with any new arrivals after they have been here for a few days. His no nonsense approach has helped settle many a newbie and he also doesn't take any pushy behaviour from them. He will calmly put a horse in its place and then go on about his business. Never agressive in his teaching. A leader by example.
He is so stoic that I fear that he was unwell for more than 2 days and I didn't see it. I feel really guilty. Although Jake is now older (late 20's) he hasn't really ever had health issues until the virus last year and he came out of that like a champ.
Please jingle for Jake! He deserves it so much.
Jake is one of those horses that people tend to gravitate to. He just has that certain "come hither" look. Probably because he is hopeful that the visitor will have a treat for him. HA! He is such a big puppy dog when children are around him. He is big, but he never moves quickly around children or inexperienced adults. Jake loves to be brushed and pampered. Anyone can lead him anywhere without a problem as he is the perfect gentleman. In fact, he is one of the horses that is used in our youth mentor programs in educating young people about caring for horses. It is our hope that through the mentoring programs, we will not only educate youth on basic horse handling and care, but that we may plant a seed of responsibility for the future. After learning about each of the horses at TIER and the reasons they were in need of being rescued, it is our hope that each youth or adult will carry a deeper understanding of committment and responsiblity for horses in the future.
Plus, there is the added bonus of seeing the look on people's faces when one of the horses puts their head on someone's shoulder, gives them a nuzzle, nickers when they see a favorite friend. Watching their eyes and the smiles as the horse they just spent all that time grooming and pampering is turned out and rolls in the dirt! HA! Then jumping up, shaking themselves off and running through the arena bucking and playing because they feel so good!
Jake will politely stand while those that are unfamiliar with handling horses are taught the basics of putting on a halter, leading, brushing, picking hoofs, etc. Even though he is big, Jake is always the gentleman with these folks. We ask everyone to place any treats in feed bins to avoid accidents. But Jake is so sweet and appealing it is hard not to want to hand him a treat. He is always cautious about taking the offered apple, carrot, piece of watermelon, cantelope. And.....he is always appreciative....he shows you in his lovely big brown eyes just how much that treat meant to him.
The pictures below are from Bath Day 6/13/02. This is the first time the youth in our mentor programs had bathed a horse. Of course, Jake was enjoying every minute of the attention. In fact, I do believe I saw him snoozing while those small hands soaped, rubbed, rinsed and combed/brushed him. He was also thoughtful enough not to roll until after the kids had gone home! HA!
Jake is doing wonderfully! His ankle is not fused yet (farrier & vet say sometimes it takes a long time!) but he is walking so much sounder than he used to. Also, his calm, no-nonsense manner makes him such an asset when it comes to turning out anxious horses in the pasture! HA! He will simply stride in (Jake doesn't really "walk". He strides.) go to the end with the most grass, drop his head and start munching. Not paying attention to the other horses or anything else. It has a calming effect on any apprehensive horses and we turn him out with almost anyone!
As you will see from the picture of Jake & Buck that is attached. He is also good at showing newbies the ropes! HA! In the attched picture, he seems to be saying "Look here Buck, see this gate? It's closed and locked. Nothing can get in here to get us. We are safe!"
He still has white horse syndrome (lying in anything wet that is sure to discolor his coat and finding where we have just watered so he can roll), but that is okay because that is who he is. Plus, it gives the volunteers something to really work on! He is gentle enough for children to groom him and yet spunky enough to put the pushy horses in their place without being overbearing. A truely wonderful horse is Jake!
This horse is now christened Jake by his savior Alex. Alex is a lovely lady who has helped TIER and horses more than words can convey! She is the driving force behind A Drop in the Bucket - All Natural Herbal Remedies for your Horse. You can visit her site at http://www.dropinbucket.com/ for the health of your horse! TIER does!  Alex saw Jake's picture, read his story and said "I undertake to support him in his new safe home, to pay for his feed, veterinary treatment, trimming, remedial shoeing, whatever. Does he have a name from his past life? If not, will you drop the #99 and call him Jake?" So, Jake it is! Alex has become the first official sponsor of a TIER horse since Jake will come to live out his days with us. Thank you Alex, from me, TIER, all the horses (& TIERA). A special thank you from Jake. We look forward to Jake's arrival and getting him comfy!