Wednesday morning and afternoon Zoe was fine. Around 5:00 p.m. I noticed she had lost her balance and would turn or spin to right throuh the pasture. Yellow discharge in right nostril. She went down and I gave her 9 cc's of Banamine IM. Before the banamine had time to take effect, she was up and walking like nothing happened. Eating and Drinking fine, but her balance was way off. I spent Thursday waiting for our regular vet to come out as he had an emergency surgery (young show horse/trailer accident/eye removed). I did give her a dose of banamine paste Thursday morning (per vet), yet she was still quite unsteady
The vet came out and checked vitals, temperature, gut sounds, etc., etc. All were within the norm. By the time vet arrived, there was no longer any nasal discharge. I had been giving her bute to reduce inflammation and pain as she was an older mare with arthritis (all that spinning had to take it's toll on those old old joints)and she had stepped on her left ankle so many times as she spun that she had cut herself. I wrapped the wound. I also tried a shipping boot, but it made it more difficult for her when she would spin and her right foot would hit the boot.
The Vet had me TRY to walk her in a straight line. Poor gal gave it her all but just could not do it. She was propping herself on the fence to keep from losing her blance and thus going into circles. In a short time, the hair was being removed from her rump where she rested against the fence. Soon it would have turned into a sore.
Neurological testing was done by our vet and he found a section about two hand widths from her withers toward her head that were unresponsive. Also, along her hip line there was no response. Vet does not think it was West Nile. Perhaps it was a stroke, a lesion in her neck or it could have been a number of things. Although the Bute & Banamine seemed to help a bit, she was still very unsteady and I fed her along the fence line as she propped herself up. Sigh......I felt so bad for this old girl who had at one time been a show horse and was then left in field without food or water to starve and was covered in rain rot when she came to us. Once she had gained weight, she was adopted to a family that fell in love with her kindness and beauty. She taught the husband of the family and their 7 year old to ride. As their skills increased, they wanted to ride the trails and riverbeds in the area but Zoe was not suited to this as she had very arthritic knees in the front. She was returned to TIER and it was hoped that she would be able to teach another youngster to ride, groom and hug horses. She did help novice volunteers and visitors learn to lead a horse, to pick up and clean hooves, how to groom and how to feed the much needed carrots. To come so far from the bad times and then to experience this was absolutely heartbreaking.
We could have had cultures run, x-rays, etc. but it was doubtful that whatever was going on would be treatable at her age and in her arthritic condition. We made the decision to let her go. We could have sent her body to the State lab for a full necropsy, but funds are so low that we chose not to and the vet was quite sure her condition was not something that was communicable.
Other than the unsteadiness, she was bright-eyed, alert had a good appetite and wanted to be back with the other horses. She nickered everytime I went to check on her. We miss this beauty so very much!