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This is Spider, son of Birdstone, and half brother to Mine that Bird. Pedigree has never meant anything to me, but when it comes to Spider, it does, and here is why: when Spider was born, he could not get up. The people at the place where he was born, in Kentucky, called Spider’s owner the day he was born and wanted to walk the mare out of the stall and leave Spider there to die so that the owner could get a free breeding back to Birdstone. His stud fee was $10,000. Spider’s owner said, “No way, get a vet out there and get that colt up!” Well, he eventually did get up and Spider’s owner spent thousands of dollars to save his life. But, Spider may have had a broken pelvis that healed wrong, and today he is lop-sided and crooked. He is only a year and a half old.
We were contacted by Spider’s owner to see if we could take him in, as his owner had fallen on hard times and was selling all of his horses. No one would buy Spider, as he will not ever be able to be a riding horse, much less a race horse. Since we do use our rescues in Equine Therapy, he thought of us. Most vets have recommended euthanizing Spider, but we shall see what Dr. Sam can do for him. As long as Spider can stay comfortable, he will be able to live out his life here.
While researching Spider’s pedigree, I realized that most of Birdstone’s foals are incredible at beating the odds. Just watch Mine that Bird win the 2009 Kentucky Derby, from dead last, at 50 to 1 odds!
We are counting on Spider to beat the odds, too. He will need more diagnostic veterinary attention than initially thought and since he is so young, with no real chance of adoption, we need people to sponsor him here at MOP. Stay tuned for more of his story as it unfolds.
Spider update: November 16, 2014
So, I did see Spider’s ultrasound, but if you aren’t super skilled in reading what you are seeing, you have to ask more questions. I asked Dr. Sam to explain to me how it is that Spider can walk so well right now (albeit on pain meds). For any of you interested in the medical part of all of this, I will explain that at the end of the post. I shopped yesterday so I won’t have to leave the house all week. We bought 6 bales of grass hay, shavings, quick release snaps, inner tubes to tie him with, and extra rings to put in the trailer for tying him. The last thing we need to do is build a ramp for Spider to walk in the trailer easily and have it there in case we need to get him out quickly. Chris worked very late last night and is finishing up a job today. We are hoping to try this by tonight. Please pray for Spider and for us. This could go really good, or really, really bad. We have weighed all of the options and the trailer is the best one we have right now. Spider is sedated, just slightly, and we will adjust that as needed during confinement. We will stay with him as much as possible and he will be on camera. I will let you all know when he is in and camera streaming in there. We could use all of the eyes we can get on him this next week.
Here is the medical description of what is actually wrong with Spider’s pelvis:
The fracture involves the Ilium toward the top and point of the hip. It is fractured at the top of the Ilium and a bottom portion of the bone is gone below the fracture. What occurred after he broke it, and why we know it has been this way a LONG time, is called a non union. Basically, his body built fibrous scar tissue to try and form a union. This is because he moved around too much for the bone to regrow. Dr. Sam believes it is a viable non union, which means that there is adequate blood supply to the bone for it to grow back, but he needs to be still for that to happen. It is not a total non union, which means there is some bone that healed, in addition to the fibrous tissue that formed. Also, there is a chance that if this does not start the bone to regrow because the tissue won’t allow it. We could graft a piece of bone or inject cells in there. Starting conservatively, if he will submit to confinement, Sam believes shockwave would be better than the cold laser because it may be too deep for the cold laser to reach. The shockwave would help to break down the fibrous tissue, and kick start the bone regeneration.
It all hinges on if we can keep him still enough though…because in order for the bone to grow he has to be still or he will make more fibrous tissue. And, in the research Dr. Sam had me do, this sort of pelvic injury is commonly misdiagnosed. So, this is why it has taken so long for anyone to figure out what was really wrong with Spider. Kudos to Dr. Sam Wittlin, because he knew it the first time he laid eyes on him.
Note: If you can spare some time to help us watch Spider, please go to marestare.com, point to the “Member Cams” link at the top and select “Live Cams.” Scroll down a bit and select the “L-M” link in the alphabetical listing, then search for “Mea Ola’s Place Cam1″ and click on it. A new window will open with the live-streaming cams. Presently, Spider is on Cam 3. He is in a horse trailed backed up to the house so that he can easily be viewed at all times. If you see any attempts by Spider to lie down and or he seems to be getting highly agitated and trying to get loose, please call the numbers listed at the time of the cam page. The other three cams are presently showing Rowdy (except at night when it is only Spider on cam).
Spider is doing great! I am so proud of him. I think he may be enjoying this a little. He loves his massages and all of the attention he is getting. He has been perfect so far. We will try to teach him to paint to pass the time tomorrow. Betty and Chris picked up some supplies for us today. That should be messy and fun!
Update: November 20, 2014:
We have to go to plan B as Spider went down 3 times last night. It is just too dangerous and risky in there since he wants to lie down to sleep. Will update with the next plan a little later. He is going back to his stall until we can make another one for him today.
Today, our logo says it all! We have done therapy on small scale, thus far, but today, we are really living the dream. The horses are doing their work with 11 women in the Army from Fort Irwin. This is the first of three sessions. Our live ranch cams will be off today, out of respect everyone’s privacy. Thanks for understanding and thanks for supporting M.O.P. This is a service we provide for free.
(Scroll down the page to read all the updates)
May 23, 2014: We need all the prayers we can get. We just picked up the little rejected colt. Will have more info later. Prayer chain needed!
This is the colt in the backseat of my truck. He was rejected by his Mama, had a temp of only 95 degrees for hours after his birth. He was 4 hours old here and finally was able to stand about an hour after we got him home. He is doing great…keep praying for the little guy, and for us, we are exhausted. But this has been worth every minute of lost sleep!
May 23, 2014: Nap time. Please keep those prayers coming, for our new survivor, who we took in today.
May 23, 2014: This is where our rescued colt will sleep tonight.
May 23, 2014: Prayers are working…keep them coming. CAMS ARE UP! Don’t fret, he is resting, after a long walk over. Still waiting for vets…he is drinking, but not quite enough…pooing and urinating. I have left him for all of about 15 minutes today. Kayla and grandma Mary are with him right now so I could help adjust cams and have a pee break! The cam link is http://www.marestare.com/fcam.php?alias=meaola
He is not drinking enough because he is weak. Waiting for vets to get here for fluids. I called Last Chance Corral for advice….they were so helpful. Since then he has been drinking more.
Here is a video from earlier. We will keep you all posted. Please keep those prayers and good vibes coming.
May 24, 2014: He is doing well. He had a good walk at 2am and drank 5 oz! Then woke up at 3am and ate 2 oz.
His name is Kikeona — strong fighter. I will call him Kike (Kee Kea) for short. He was born on Friday around 4am. Rowdy is his barn name now.
May 25, 2014: Little Rowdy has a halter!!
May 25, 2014: Little Rowdy is live streaming on cameras 3 and 4 at Marestare.com. It is free to join and watch, just find Mea Ola’s Place on the camera list. He is still not out of the woods, and has 24/7 care, and even us sleeping in there with him at night right now.
May 26, 2014: Rowdy took a turn for the worse early this morning. We will be running blood work shortly, changing antibiotic and possibly starting him on fluids later. He had a fever and is very lethargic. Also, owners just came by and signed him over to Mea Ola’s Place.
May 26, 2014: Thank you to all those who have made extra donations recently. Mea Ola’s Place is now the legal owner of Rowdy (as of today) and all of his medical bills will now be borne by us. Your kind generosity is most welcome during these trying times. Plasma has been purchased and we will update you as to Rowdy’s progress.
May 26, 2014: Rowdy, a registered Morgan, was born on Friday, May 23, 2014, a few weeks earlier than expected. There are a few issues that require attention. We have determined that he did get colostrum after he was born, but his Momma quickly rejected him after that. His temperature was below normal for most of his first day of life and we have been addressing his issues with temperature regulation. He has a spinal curvature issue at his withers which may be the cause of his front legs being bowed over at the knee and very stiff through the shoulder; he is down on his pasterns in the rear. He has a low white blood cell count for which he has received fluids and plasma.
His feeding started out slowly and it took almost a full day to get him interested in his bottle, though he is now taking as much as 20 oz a feeding. We may be moving to bucket feeding once he perks up to our satisfaction. For now, the bottle allows us to know how much goat’s milk formula he is getting. B vitamins and 500 mls of fluids have been administered, along with plasma. This morning we ran bloodwork and changed his antibiotic.
The good news is that he is now able to get up and get down on his own and has had a few frisky little walks around his new home. He has marched his sweet self right into our hearts and there he stays.
We are so grateful for those of you who have donated at an extra pace during this trying time. We are also grateful for the supportive comments, prayers and good will being sent our way. There have been so many requests for the proper place to donate and the best way is to use the donate button, right here on Meaola.com (upper left side). Thank you, all, for your continued support.
May 27, 2014: Yesterday was a stressful day and we couldn’t post much. But, along with the other things known about Rowdy’s birth experience, it was learned that his umbilical cord was attached to the placenta after it had come out of the mare, for about an hour! It did not break, so the owner had to cut it. When we got him, it was still about 6 inches long, so it was tied off shorter and cut. It had been in the dirt for several hours because he did not ever stand until he got here. We used beta dine on it several times over the next two days. He could be fighting an infection because of this, and with no white cells to fight it, he needed plasma. We will continue to monitor his blood work and hope that he will need no further plasma transfusions. This is why we keep helping him to lie down, if it goes too long, and why I am adamant that he get every drop of food he needs, etc. We do not want him spoiled, or super-humanized, but right now, the concern is with saving his life. Then, we can worry about the other stuff.
May 27, 2014: He looks pathetic sometimes on cam in his stall, but this is partly why. He gets short jaunts outside every time he wakes up. He is still not stable. He has moments of frisky energy and still requires a lot of rest and TLC. Keep the positive thoughts and prayers coming for our newest SURVIVOR! Thank you!
Rowdy just being one of the boys tonight. He adores Chris and the dogs are his herd at the moment. Chris obviously missed him today!
May 28, 2014: Please note that the cams will be down for a while during Rowdy’s visit with Dr. L. We will update you soon with his progress! Thank you all so much for your love and prayers and continued support!
May 28, 2014:
Here are the wonderful ladies that are giving Rowdy his life sustaining milk! I have been absolutely blessed by the generosity of so many people! Maria, who owns the goats, is a lady I had never met until today, yet when she heard his story, she has graciously been giving us milk every day in return for some feed for the goats! So many people have brought us meals, done errands for us, and have “baby-sat” when we absolutely had to run into town…and even came for us to just get a nap! Feeding a foal is a 24/7 job, and with one in his condition, it is even more demanding. I cannot express my gratitude with words for all of the kind people who have made donations, been here for us and for Rowdy. Thank you all so much. We still need continued prayers and support! Volunteers are SO needed right now, as I am so tied up with Rowdy and the other rescues have been very patient, but they need love and attention too. PLEASE contact us here if you would be interested in becoming a part of Mea Ola’s Place to make a difference in our community, and in the horse world. Ann
May 29, 2014: Rowdy says, “Thanks for cheering me on.” He is such a good, sweet little guy and gets a little stronger every day. Your support means so much. Thank you to all.
Friday, May 30, 2014: Rowdy is eating well today and seems much more alert. He is getting up and down on his own, but is still wearing a wrap on his front leg for support. Limiting movement to walks for a couple more days. Ann will be doing another blood panel today to check his levels. Just taking it one day at a time! Thank you again for your continued prayers and support. This wouldn’t be possible without all of you!
Friday, May 30, 2014: For Rowdy’s one week old birthday, he got to experience a little human! His blood work results all came back normal today! What a little miracle he is…so precious and innocent. He is loved by many around the world and that has been enough to fill the void of the rejection he experienced at birth. Thank you all! He has been such a trooper for all of his treatments and life saving plasma, fluids, etc. His will to live is absolutely what got him through this first week. If you could spare an extra $5 or $10 to help us continue with his care, we sure appreciate every cent. Also, he could surely benefit from a sponsorship. Check this website for details on sponsorships. Please continue the positive thoughts and prayers. He has made amazing progress this week, but has a few more challenges to overcome. With my deepest gratitude, Ann.
May 31, 2014: Sometimes parents just gotta sleep, when taking care of a newborn! This is exhausting and rewarding at the same time. Here is Chris finishing his shift, poor guy.
June 1, 2014: Such a wonderful mare, our Mea Ola! Her mothering instincts are amazing. And who knows? She may help even more in the future…not just with Rowdy.
Rowdy: Week 2 to Week 3
June 14, 2014: Rowdy has an infection in the growth plate near the fetlock joint in his left rear leg. It is centrally located, so it has a good blood supply (which is why it is easy to figure it stemmed from the umbilical issue at birth) so systemic antibiotics should do the job. Dr Sam was fairly confident about that, so we decided to wait on any injections straight into the growth plate. Also, we cannot be sure that he doesn’t have an infection brewing in any other joints or growth plates. If we did the direct injection, it would require anesthesia and is pretty invasive, with risks of its own. He will be back next Saturday to re X-ray it. So he gets IV antibiotics once a day and another oral antibiotic once a day. Dr. Sam Wittlin really saved us here, and we are so grateful! He drove 2 hrs, one way, to see Rowdy. He was IMPRESSED with Rowdy’s good behavior and ability to submit to restraint. He adored his happy personality, and said he was exceptionally smart! Sam actually thanked me for the opportunity to work with Rowdy! He said he believes Rowdy will grow up to have a normal life
He also said that he is not worried about his back and that he will grow into it. He believes he got a small tear in the tendon across the left knee, but it is healing nicely. We will try no wraps, starting today, but he may still need one intermittently on the left front leg. The tendon is still contracted some and the drugs to help loosen that tendon would make his back ones too loose…and they are tightening more every day. He did say to use Equioxx for pain, despite the ulcer issue Rowdy is being treated for, as it is not as hard on the stomach. So he will get pain meds for the next few days for his rear fetlock that hurts from the infection.
When Dr Sam returns, we will also do a nerve block on Mea Ola. (next Saturday)
Thank you all for the contined prayers, shares, and donations for Rowdy…we have put everything we have into saving this little guy, because he just has such a strong will to live and enjoys life SO much! We cannot imagine life without him …he almost didn’t get a chance at all to taste sweet milk, feel the warm sun, or to know what love is. Much less romp and play and whinny… Ann
P.S. from Judy: If you would like to donate towards Rowdy’s care, please click the Donate button upper left on this page. Be sure to note it is for Rowdy. Thanks!
June 16, 2014:
Many of you have been following this little boy’s story. He just amazes me every day. From birth, it has been one mountain after another in his 25 days of life so far. But each day, he proves that he wants to live and fight. Not once has he lost his appetite or been depressed. He is a spunky boy, and if he hurts, he actually gets MAD about it! He is bright and happy despite all of the hurdles he has had to overcome. Today he is doing well after these procedures yesterday and the hock and fetlock are both improving. We have more lab work to do today, for a blood culture to just make sure we have him on the PERFECT antibiotics to help him fight this infection. Go Rowdy! Thank you all for sharing his story and helping when you can. We have used up funds fast these last few days ($1365) and will need at least one follow up visit and continued antibiotics.(His IV antibiotic alone for 8 days is 240.00. We are hoping praying that this is the last battle he has to fight. Please continue to keep us in your thoughts and prayers. His humans are exhausted!
June 19, 2014: Rowdy update: He is improving steadily. No fever, the fetlock is greatly improved, and the swelling in the hock is gradually subsiding! Our battle now is ulcers. He is on conventional meds (Omeprazole, Ranitidine, and Sucralfate, with occasional Mylanta added) But, we are looking for ideas for other meds (maybe natural) to help even more, as his desire to EAT SAND and now shavings, is going to get him into more tummy trouble if it continues. So, please feel free to offer any suggestions of things that have worked for you that we may be able to try. Today, we will try no pain meds, as this just compunds the ulcer issue and he seems well enough to give a try without them. He is currently on two different antibiotics that go IV into the catheter that is still in place. I believe Dr Sam chose the right antibiotics, but we are still awaiting culture results to be absolutely sure. Thank you all so much for your support and prayers. Saving Rowdy has been one of the toughest things I have ever done in my life…the stress, worry, uncertainty. And one mountain to climb after another. No real sleep for almost four weeks, financial drain and the stress that accompanies that as well, because I have been unable to work these last few weeks, except just a few hours. But, I will tell you…he wanted to live and would not give up or give in, and that is what has kept us fighting so hard for him. Every hour that goes by with improvement is joyous for us and we can feel the stress lifting. Keep the prayers and positive thoughts coming, though. We need them and value them so much. Ann
June 19, 2014: Thank you all for the suggestions for Rowdy’s ulcers. We tried an ounce of Aloe Vera juice with a bit of Papaya nectar just after this. He thinks he is Superman, anyway!
June 20, 2014: Look! We made the local paper today! Thank you, Kathy Young. (Victorville Daily Press) Please keep sharing his story. Dr Sam will be here this afternoon and I should have an update later this evening. Right now, Rowdy is feeling great. He had 11 bottles his last time up and is taking a nice nap at the moment. Prayers and shares for our trooper, pretty please! Ann
June 21, 2014: This is our enemy, everyone! This is Rowdy’s biggest battle. The infection in the growth plate can be seen in the middle of the top two bones here. This is an xray of his left rear fetlock joint. The infection is at the back of the fetlock. His joint infection in the right hock is much easier to treat. This is a challenge and precisely why we need all of the help we can get…prayers, shares, positive thoughs. It is going to be a long battle, and today we will see who is winning. If this nasty thing is, then we have to rev up our army against it with more invasive treatment. But, we got this! Who says so with me?
June 22, 2014: He just enjoys playing without being so obsessed with eating sand…thankfully! (or I would be bald by now!)
June 24, 2014: Picture Video of Rowdy from 3 weeks to today (by E.J. Seifert)
Good morning, everyone! Rowdy says, “Howdy, I am fighting the battle of my life with this growth plate infection, and although my fetlock is swelling again and getting painful, I am not ready to give up! I want my bottles, I want to play (although sometimes it hurts), and I want to love on you!”
This is the face I see every time he is up and awake. Well, many other sweet expressions, too. He calls for bottle after bottle, and just wants to be a happy boy. The reality is that his fetlock is swelling and getting painful again. We just did the first perfusion 4 days ago. This means that we may have to go ahead with the bone screw to inject antibiotics directly into it. Dr Sam will be here, at the latest, tomorrow, to re evaluate, but either way, Rowdy needs another costly treatment. Without the treatments, the only option is euthanasia. As you can see from the many pictures and videos, and if you are watching him via the live streaming camera through Marestare.com, that is not an option for us, as he still has no idea how bad this infection is and is no where near giving up!
We are working on other fundraising ideas, but if you have not yet bought a candle, I am hoping you will today, because he needs the prayers, the funds, and the hope. Well, today, I need a candle too, because I cannot fathom the worst here, I just can’t imagine it! He is no where near giving up on this! We have worked tirelessly for over a month, fought and overcome one thing after another, and I will be damned if we will stop now. He has the best team in his corner, and I have all of the faith in the world that Dr Sam can help us beat this.
Please share our page here as it has all of Rowdy’s story in it. Please help us continue to help him and beat this infection with your prayers, shares, and if you can… please purchase a candle at our website www.meaola.com. If you send a prayer, please share!! I will be sure to keep everyone updated.
Chris, Ann, and Rowdy
June 26, 2014: This little guy has such a strong will to live and so much life in him! Dr Sam will be here this morning to tackle this growth plate infection. We are holding an auction to help with the cost, so please check it out. Again, we are asking for your prayers and shares, because we HAVE to save Rowdy! We have to kill this infection as his life and future depend on it. I will keep you all posted as to how it goes today. There are still candles available through our website to help as well.
Chris, Ann, and Rowdy
June 26, 2014 Update: 12:30 pm. Dr Sam is here, we are waiting for Rowdy to lay down for a nap. Then we will x-ray him again and get started. Cameras will be down until he is in recovery and waking up from anesthesia. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers this afternoon!
Still later on June 26, 2014: He is in recovery! He is so happy to wake up with Dad! Cameras back up and streaming!
Rowdy did amazing, once again, with anesthesia and waking up! We re x-rayed him and found that we do have slight improvement in the infection. It is now enclosed; however, Dr Sam is consulting with the best vets in the country for the next step in treating this. Today, Dr Sam used the opposite (inside) vein for an antibitotic perfusion. We will need more treatment directly to the growth plate, whether through a bone screw that we can inject into, or more perfusion. He is still on very powerful IV antibiotic injections (3x a day) and will be for a couple of more weeks. Dr Sam was amazed at his body condition and growth rate! We practically have to adjust antibiotic doses every day because, just like a foal with a mama, he grows almost hourly!
Thank you all so much for your support! We still have a battle, but we are gaining ground. We are in it for the long haul, who else can commit to seeing this through with us? Just comment, “All In” if you are, because Rowdy is, and WE are…I also know MANY of you are…but I want to know who is behind us… it helps me so much! It is so hard to keep going with no sleep for 5 weeks…the worry, the stress…and I have been home to take care of him for almost 5 weeks! And we have others to love and care for too! (video loading of some of them now). This has been a HARD hit on our pocket book and impossible to have done without the support you all have given!
Again, he is worth it all, but the support I receive from all of you, (words of encouragement, prayer, positive thought) really helps me to “keep on keeepin’ on”…and no matter what, we will not give up or give in, unless Rowdy does. That is so far from the reality of where he is or what he is thinking. He really thinks he is just a “normal” colt!
Thanks, TEAM MEAHOLICS, for the ideas, and the hard work so far, to put the candle idea together, the auction, and JUST WAIT FOR THE ROWDY PENDANTS. We got this! And thank you for being here to help make milk, feed him bottles, let us get a few hours sleep, donate distilled water, formula, help us clean, cook, etc! ( We have even been brought meals!) My gosh, we could not do this alone! We know we are so blessed! So is Rowdy…because of all of you!
With the deepest thanks,
Chris, Ann, and Rowdy!
June 27, 2014: He feels great this evening…and the last two times out….NO SAND EATING! He loves to pester the dogs, which are great sports, but it is time to keep them separated and for us to really work on getting him an equine buddy. (We have several to try and choose from,)
For those of you that don’t know, Rowdy’s condition with the growth plate in his left fetlock is called septic physitis. Foals with this condition usually have a poor to guarded prognosis. But, we have refused to accept that, because he is such a fighter and has such a will to just live and be happy.
And…..we received good news today! Dr Sam consulted with a vet in Florida that has a lot of experience treating foals with this condition. He sent her all of the x-rays and diagnostics, including what we have done, are doing, and where we were as of yesterday. She was very interested and phoned him after reviewing everything and said she was very optimistic about us beating this with Rowdy. He has a lot going for him, as he has the best care, the best support, and is healthy in every other way.
The down side is that we may need up to five (3 more) perfusion treatments. As I have said before, this will be a long battle. But, I am sure that we will look back on this one day and it will have felt like a small amount of time and effort to have grown and saved such an amazing horse as Rowdy. Keep those candles lit, the prayers coming, and keep sharing. Dr Sam will be here again Sunday to do another treatment and we are “all in”!
Love, Chris, Ann, and Rowdy
June 28, 2014: Our prayers have been answered! The infection is almost half gone now! He did great, waking up now…more later
June 29, 2014: This is our SURVIVOR one hour after his third treatment for his growth plate infection. Does he look like he is in shambles? Hardly! And, guess what? We are beating it!!! We are gaining ground on his infection that came with a “poor to guarded” prognosis! Why is that? well, TEAM ROWDY, that’s why!
If you do not know his story, it is worth the time to learn it. Search our page and you will learn it, or message us. Better yet, ask one of the folks that have lit a candle!
We have given everything to save him. We believed, we risked having faith….in ourselves, in him, in Dr Sam Wittlin, and in our supporters. Without the support, his life-saving treatments would not be possible. But this boy is special! He will not give in or give up! So, we risked it all to get the job done. It has, and is, paying off!
…AND WE ARE BEATING THIS NASTY INFECTION….against all odds!
Today was his 3rd perfusion treatment for the septic physitis. The xrays showed THE INFECTION ALMOST HALF GONE!!!
We have at least two more costly treatments and another month of expensive antibiotics…so PLEASE keep sharing, caring, praying, and looking for ways to help him. Our next fundraiser for treatments will be coming up soon! Vidoes of his “Rowdy “personality, and never-give-up attitude, coming up. They were also taken tonight.
Go TEAM ROWDY! Will you join us????
Love, hugs, and celebration.
June 29, 2014: We are hoping for an army this week to help put down sod and put wire up on these panels. Can you believe it? After everything he has faced? He just keeps going like he is one, normal, liitle colt….GOD BLESS HIM!
Look at what Bucket Of Bolts has made for Rowdy! Thanks so much…can’t wait to hang it on his stall!
July 1, 2014:
Colts and boys! Rowdy does realize that Payton is more “his age” and does look to him for playtime. But, I really wish he could have another colt to play with. I am seriously considering a rescue of a mare and foal or maybe a weanling if we could get a sponsor for them. Or, if there is some kind person who would like to board their mare and foal here so Rowdy could have a playmate, that might be another option. Or, maybe we could foster a foal from another rescue? Even with a Nanny, he will miss out on rough housing with someone his own age.
Please share this post and we just may get an answered prayer, once again! (PS…the last part of this video is the best..so stinkin’ cute!)
July 2, 2014: Welcome Rowdy’s new buddy, GASSTON! He is a 4 yr old BLM gelded, jack burro. We found him throught the nice folks at the Ridgecrest adoption center while looking for an orphaned colt. They suggested a donkey, as have several others, and told us about Gasston. He was gentled by Familyhorses.net and is only 30 minutes from us! He should be coming home to meet Rowdy this Sunday!
July 3, 2014: We have now stopped counting bottles as he is drinking a cup or two short of a gallon at each feeding! How do mares keep up? His next treatment is this Saturday and the fetlock is looking good! We are also hoping to be able to change to oral antibiotics. His foal halter is on the last notch on both sides already! Growing, growing, growing. And, I can’t wait to introduce him to Gasston!
July 5, 2014: Look, Gasston made the newspaper today! Very nice article with great updates about Rowdy, and the news that Dr Sam Wittlin will be hosting lameness examination clinics in our area soon! Thank you, Kathy Young, and Victorville Daily Press! We are so proud to have a BLM burro and thank you Familyhorses.net for doing such a great job gentling him!
July 5, 2014 update: Rowdy got to experience rain for the first time today. He LOVED it. I finally had to bring him in and dry him off. And, I am sorry to say that we had to postpone Dr Sam until tomorrow afternoon, because it appears that I may have broken my foot and need to go have it looked at. I dropped a heavy pipe-panel on it last night while making Gasston’s area, darn it!
July 6, 2014: Gasston is home! It is going great! They will be BFF’s in no time! Rowdy is not afraid, and Gasston is very patient, calm, and interested. More video and pics later. Dr Sam will be here this afternoon for Rowdy’s next treatment…and he is doing so well, that I am praying that this is the last one he will need. We shall see!
July 6, 2014 update: Cams will go down shortly, Dr. Sam should be here any time …. Prayers…I think this may be able to be the last treatment. But, we will need a follow-up with xrays to be sure after today. But, for the first time, I am looking FORWARD to seeing the xrays today!
Further update for July 6, 2014 update: Rowdy’s x-ray results were not as promising as we had hoped, however, there is improvement. We will definitely need another treatment and perhaps a change of antibiotics. Gasston and Rowdy are getting along well. I will post the X-rays as soon as Sam sends them to me, so you can all see as well
July 7, 2014:
Here is some video of Rowdy and Gasston this morning. Gasston is such a good sport! We are still just letting them get to know each other before putting them together. I am testing them both to see if there will be food aggression and/or dominance about food. Funny, Gasston is fine, but Rowdy does not want Gasston anywhere near him when he is getting a bottle. So far, Rowdy has been the only one to show any “dominance” about food. Gasston is such a good sport!
July 7, 2014 update: Rowdy update: Will you look at this? This is their first time together after about 10 minutes. They spent just over 24 hrs next to each other before this! Gasston is a saint, and absolutely perfect. He is smart enough to not scare Rowdy at this point. I am not sure that a MOM would have been so patient!!!! Love MY DONKEY, GASSTON! He has an endless supply of carrots for being such a GOOD sport! Rowdy should sleep well tonight!
July 8, 2014:
This was their second time together last night. Here you can see that Gasston does start to introduce the word, “No.” (Excuse me, Saint Gasston)
Um, does it get any better than this? First time together! Gasston is a Saint!
July 9, 2014: Here is the xray taken last Sunday, July 6th. As you can see, we still have a fight on our hands with this infection. We will be starting another fundraiser to cover the cost of his next treatment, so stay tuned for that, TEAM ROWDY….We can’t give up on this!
July 10, 2014: Good morning! Rowdy is taking his first look at his new yard! He says thank you, Ej, for the donation of sod. And thanks, Daddy Chris, for working so hard to get it down for me!
July 13, 2014: Rowdy, chapter 3….thanks, Kathy Young and Victorville Daily Press for keeping his story out there! Here is another great article from Kathy Young! It was in yesterday’s paper. Kathy also brough Rowdy a bigger halter and I will post pics with him in it today. We will be making his inside stall larger today. Dr. Sam comes for his next treatment today, and if all possible, we will get the other two cameras outback so you can see Rowdy on his grass and “meet” Gasston for yourselves! CLICK HERE TO VIEW ARTICLE
July 13, 2014: Here is St Gasston tonight. This video was taken after 20 minutes of Gaaston getting bombarded by Rowdy. At the end, you will see he tells Rowdy: “Enough!”
July 16, 2014: The great news is that we have about 70% improvement in his growth plate infection and I will post the latest xrays of that shortly. But, here is video explaining why he is also getting shockwave to the right hock. He had joint ill in that hock (caused by the same blood infection he had from the birth experience) and now it is bending in slightly. This is causing him to grow lop-sided, as his left leg is straighter and longer. Hence our need for continued fundraising for his treatments. One more perfusion and two more shock wave treatments. More on this later, as the little booger is calling for his bottle. Ann
July 16, 2014: These are side by side views. You can see MUCH improvement…but he still needs at least one more perfusion for this and it is scheduled for this coming Sunday. Stay tuned, as we need help to finish these treatments so he can just be a normal, healthy foal from here on out! Thanks, Team Rowdy!
July 16, 2014: OMG! Just came across this video of Rowdy right after he got up, by himself at about 5 hrs old (he was here for just 45 minutes at this point). We sent out requests for prayers and positive thoughts…and BINGO…he got up for the first time since he was born! BTW, don’t ever give corn syrup to a foal. I learned the hard way! He was so new that he did not have a name yet! Aw…he had a floppy ear still!
July 19, 2014: Rowdy was full of himself last night! Here you can see he is getting pretty fast and using his legs well. And what can I say about Gasston? Patient as summer days are long! Gasston even comes to the fence when they are not together to let Rowdy pester him!
July 20, 2014: We have made miraculous progress with what started out as a poor-to-guarded prognosis with the growth plate infection. Dr Sam is confident that this was the last perfusion needed! I will post xrays when I receive them. We are divising a special “shoe” to help Rowdy with the right rear leg issue, and performed shockwave. There has been improvement since the last treatment for his hock, and again, we expect a full recovery. The bad news is that our bill was $980.00 yesterday. However, what we have spent is nothing compared to what he would have really needed to survive if all of the circumstances had been different.
Please take a few minutes to read this outline of events, so you will understand that Rowdy is destined to be alive and he will do something great with his life. We do work with foster children and sexual abuse survivors. As a matter of fact, we will be doing a six-week program with Ft. Irwin this fall for Army women Survivors. I don’t want to speculate as to what sort of “special” job Rowdy will have in his future, because the sky is the limit for him!
Here is an outline of events and circumstances that help me to know, with certainty, that Rowdy is meant to be alive. And actually it kind of starts with Einstein! (A Starling I saved and have been raising.)
The week before Rowdy was born, my Vet employers had a dinner party at a restaurant in town for their son’s bday. The whole hospital crew and close friends attended. Well, I had been at work that day, so Einstein was in his carrier in my car. At one point, I excused myself and explained that I had to go out and feed Einstein. When I returned, Dr D was questioning me “Ann, WHY are you saving a BIRD?” I replied, “Because it is a life and it wants to live.” Simple and a no-brainer to me…but evidently it really made her think. She admitted to me a couple of weeks ago that it was that statement that kept going through her mind when they were called to euthanize Rowdy. Hence, the phone call to me that morning.
Next, if I was not a vet technician, there is no way this could have been pulled off. The IV catheters, sedation, plasma transfusion, IV fluids, umpteen million injections, the knowledge and experience of what to give for various problems…catching the bleeding ulcers, the research for his front leg issue when he was face planting, the wraps for that…but most important the “gut” to know when something is not right and address it ASAP.
If Chris and I were not together and I did not have his help, this could have never been pulled off. He had the ability to make his stalls, pick up everything needed, and has taken an equal part in his care physically (as well as being my “assistant” LOL).
If Dr Sam had not been willing to treat Rowdy, it would have all been over, because the only other option would have been a hospital, and there is no way we could have raised THAT kind of money. Not to mention the fact that Rowdy may have given up in a hospital setting, and may have even contracted further bacterias or disease since he has no real immune system.
And last, but in no way least…if we did not have the support from our admins, Meaholics, the new folks that jumped on board, our volunteers and friends that came to help. Well, Chris and I could have never pulled this off either.
So, I hope this helps you all to know, just like I do, that Rowdy is a special horse and destined for something special. We absolutely can’t give up and have to follow through with whatever he needs. I know we are all worn out…but just go back and remember this story when you think it is just too much! That is what I do.
Love to you ALL!
July 22, 2014: Here is some video of Rowdy today. We still have to spend the heat of the day in air conditioning, so I find various ways to try and keep him amused and busy. He has been introduced to all sorts of fun things, including the vacuum. He loves to be vacuumed, and has several toys to play with, including his water bucket, LOL!
July 24, 2014: Rowdy’s Auntie Barbara is visiting and took this pic of our handsome fella!
August 3, 2014: I can barely write this because of tears of COMPLETE joy and relief. I literally cannot stop crying! We have given everything and more! Team Rowdy formed, and BINGO…WE pulled off a miracle! The xrays are just unbelievable. I will post them when he can send them to me. We put off the shockwave today to the right hock, but he will need that last treatment in 2 weeks. Rowdy was doing so well, that Dr Sam wanted to extend the benefit of the last treatment. AND…only ONE more week of antibiotics! We will still need a few more follow-up visits with X-rays, and the last shock-wave…BUT…. WE (Team Rowdy) DID IT!!!! ROWDY DID IT!!!! I can’t stop crying tears of joy right now! (Pic is of Dr Sam tonight with Rowdy)
August 7, 2014: Rowdy shows just how great he is feeling!
August 14, 2014: Open house day! Meet Rowdy and Gaaston and enjoy a BBQ. It was a great success; hope you were able to make it.
August 20, 2014: Photos are trickling in…thank you, Frannie, for this one. It moves me to tears! This was our Celebration Hug at the end of the BBQ. A lot of emotion for me in this pic!
August 23, 2014: Rowdy is 3 months old today! Thank you to all our supporters for being with us on his journey to being healthy..we could not have accomplished this without you.
August 25, 2014: This will be a long post. I will call it chapter 1. I promise it will be worth the time to read it….especially if you have been following Rowdy’s story and progress. A share of this would be great…because Rowdy’s story could save lives! It is also miraculous and full of love, support, and things that are beyond coincidence! I have been asked several times to share and write his whole story…and it is time before I forget details that are so important.
EJ Seifert, a faithful supporter since the beginning of MOP, from Canada, was kind enough to put this story together in video form, but it will leave out SO MUCH!
So here goes:
This actually started with Einstein, a Starling that I rescued, saved, and have raised from about 4 days old. For those of you that don’t know, I am a vet tech of 27 years. I was working for a mixed animal practice (small and large animals) and someone brought in a litttle bird that wanted to live and they could not take care of it…so I did. About a week before Rowdy was born, our work crew were celebrating a birthday at a local restaurant. Well, a baby bird must be fed a few times every hour as long as the sun is up, so I had Einstein in my car in a carrier. At one point during dinner, I excused myself to go and feed Einstein. When I returned, I had a serious question imposed upon me from one of the vets I worked for. “Ann, WHY are you saving a bird?”…my reply? “Because it wants to live.” Simple for me, but sort of “out there” to many people. But, this is the statement that never left the mind of the vets that were called to euthanize Rowdy when he was just 4 hours old! This is going to be a painfully honest story. Please do not judge! There were many mistakes made, as you will soon find out.
On May 23rd, 2014, our morning started as any other. I got dressed for work, had my coffee, and Chris and I headed out to feed. It was a rare morning, because I had my phone on me, which I almost NEVER do! (I just realized this!) The time was about 7:15am. I saw the call was from one of my bosses, so I answered…and this is what I heard. “Ann, remember XXX’s horse that was in foal…well, she is rejecting the foal, it is in bad shape. He is 4 hrs old and has not been able to stand. Would you be interested in trying to save it? Do you have help? Do you know anyone with a wet mare? Do you have one?” Immediately, I replied. “Yes, I will save it! Mea Ola will make milk and adopt it…that is the kind of horse she is. Will it fit in my truck?” “Yep! Hurry, it’s temp is only 95 degrees, and can you stop and get coffee for XXX? They have been up all night.” Me: “Will do, we will be there ASAP! Can you sedate the mare and milk out some colostrum?” And we were there about 20 minutes later.
The scene is still fresh in my mind. Rowdy had a little blanket on and was lying in a corral all by himself. He looked dead. I handed the coffee to the owner, chatted with the vets for a minute, about where we were, as far as Rowdy was concerned, and Chris and I scooped him up. We put him in the backseat of my truck and off we went…for bottles, powdered colostrum, and formula on our way home.
Rowdy immediately wanted to nurse the warm body next to him. He had been unable to stand due to severely contracted tendons. His original owners had even fashioned a harness, that was still on him, made from a horse halter, to help hoist him up…to no avail. It did not help that MOM was not cooperating! In the midst of everything, she had stepped on his left rear fetlock and broke the skin there.
It was probably the longest 15 minutes of my life waiting for the local vet supply to open to buy him something to drink! But, as we were waiting in the truck, his temp kept climbing. Before we got home he was at 99 degrees! (101 to 102 is normal for a foal). While waiting, I placed a call to Last Chance Corral for their advice. They suggested a human bottle and nipple. We spent about $80.00 that day trying to find one he liked! By the time we arrived home, we had several to try from. He sucked down about 2 ounces…and guess what? HE STOOD…BY HIMSELF….about 15 minutes after getting here and receiving a little nutrition. As hard as it was not to help him, I knew we couldn’t. We steadied him side to side when he got up, and then he took his first steps! This was when I knew he was a fighter…I knew he wanted to live! At that moment, I committed to do everything in my power to make that happen…and I have!
I have decided that this must be a nightly series this week to tell the whole story with words…I cannot write anymore tonight…too many things (and animals to tend to)…but I will end this with what I stated about Einstein in the beginning. (It will skip ahead just a bit) …At about 20 days old, I had a conversation with one of the vets that was there to euthanize Rowdy. They admitted that all they could think of was my statement that I saved the bird because it wanted to live. They SAW that Rowdy wanted to live! So, instead of euthanizing him and walking away (which happens EVERY day in vet medicine), they talked to the owner about it, and convinced her that he was a life worth trying to save because he WANTED to LIVE, and then they called me. Enjoy the video…more explanation to come…ROWDY IS CALLING ME!
August 25, 2014: Rowdy story, Chapter 2
We left off on day 1, just after Rowdy stood. Just before that..I removed his blanket and noticed that his umbilical cord was about 6 inches long and had not been tied off. As he was passing his first stools, (meconium) blood was oozing from it. I had nothing but some ribbon, so I dipped it in betadine and double tied his cord (after dipping it several times) and cut it shorter. But, this was too late for Rowdy, as we will soon find out. He had already laid with it in the dirt for 4 hours before I got him.
I was making call after call for things I needed…Desitin for his little bum, goat’s milk (because the only formula we could find that morning was really not ideal) and help to make a place for him. We showed him to Mea Ola once he was stable on his feet and she took right to him. But, he was too weak to leave him with her, so we made him a stall close to her, where we could sleep with him and set up a heater for the night. He was doing well, all things considered and was getting better and better each hour at nursing from the bottle.
The next morning he was even stronger. But, I called the vets to come see him. I noticed that his lymph nodes were swelling and I was concerned about the scrape and swelling to his left rear fetlock. They did come and see him but were so impressed to see him standing, nursing and walking, that they were not concerned about anything else. They did give me penicillin to start him on, as a precaution. So he was started on that right away. I mentioned an IgG test, but it was dismissed as not needed. I also found out that I was actually saving Rowdy for the owner at this point. They wanted to give him 2 days with me, and pay for my time and care, to see if he would improve. I must admit that I was disappointed, this was the first I had heard of that deal…but I agreed. My job and calling is to save lives, so that was my mission, regardless.
We slept with him again that night. As a matter of fact, we had not left his side, at all. We took shifts (Chris and I). He would sleep for 45 minutes to an hour and then nurse his bottle. He was still weak and sometimes, I allowed him to nurse lying down without having to get up. But, every few hours I forced him to get up. He needed to get those legs working and straightened out. What he could not do was lie down by himself. His legs just would not bend for him to do it. So, each time that he needed to lie down, we physically laid him down. This went on until he was about 2 weeks old! And sometimes, he would be so tired, that he would literally fall asleep as we put our arms around him to lie him down.
The next day, Sunday, his owners came to visit. I was very proud of his progress, but they were not very optimistic and told me they were still deciding whether or not to put him to sleep. They asked me if I would give them more time to make a decision (two more days) and I said, “Not if you are going to put him to sleep. He wants to live and he is a fighter. Plus, I am already attached to him. I will not be a part of that. He is not suffering, just needs time and TLC” I told them he could stay here forever at MOP and that we could use him as a therapy horse. They left to think it over, and were supposed to let me know in 2 more days.
Rowdy was cruising the property a couple of times a day now. We kept taking him to see Mea Ola and hoped we could put them together in a few more days. The weather was still cool at night but really warming up during the day. So, that day, we brought in a portable air conditioner for him…and still had the heater running at night. That night he tried to climb into the cot with me.
On Monday morning, Memorial Day, we did our morning cruise around the property about 6 am, but Rowdy was very lethargic and weak. I took his temperature and it was a whopping 103.6 degrees! (His temp and vitals were being monitored several times a day, so I knew this was BAD!) I immediately called my vets, pulled some blood and asked if I could have someone meet me at the hospital so I could run his blood work. By now it is about 8 am, and Rowdy’s owner (the husband) pulled up to Rowdy’s stall. He told me they had made a decision to give him to me (to MOP)…and thank God, because this was the beginning of a nightmare roller coaster!
It was already getting hot and the air was on in his stall. I left to run the blood work and Chris stayed with Rowdy. His results were horrible! He had almost no white blood cells….nothing to fight infection! I got on the phone to one of my vets that had chosen to save Rowdy, and I was frantic! “He needs PLASMA and he needs it NOW!” Great, this is Memorial Day. Well, I was not taking, “we need to wait until tomorrow” as an answer. Rowdy would not have made it! I grabbed supplies needed for an IV catheter and fluids, and kept calling, bugging, and being persistent about finding plasma TODAY!
I got home and at about 9:30 am, it was already 100 degrees outside. The air conditioner in the stall outside could not keep up.Rowdy was fading…so I made a very STRANGE decision, but one that would prove, again, to save his life. I looked at Chris and said, “Can you build a stall in the house? We need to move him to the house, NOW!”..Chris, “You mean the garage?”…me: “No, THE HOUSE!” Chris: “Okay” (♥)
I then started calling for bodies to help because I could not help him build the stall and tend to Rowdy. People came to help, and by 11:30 am…his stall was constructed and Chris scooped Rowdy up and headed to the house. That scene is still so fresh! Rowdy was almost limp from heat exhaustion. He was heavy, and Chris struggled to carry him the 200ft to the house. Once inside, I put in his IV catheter and started IV fluids. The next call was our confirmation for Plasma. Chris made a 3 hr round trip and paid the $400.00 cash needed for it.
At about 6pm, plasma now defrosted, we sedated Rowdy and gave him the transfusion….chapter 3 tomorrow.
We dressed Rowdy up for his 2 week birthday…and here he is sucking my chin…he still tries to do that!
August 27, 2014: Rowdy story, chapter 3
We left off on day 4 when Rowdy got his plasma transfusion. In addition to the penicillin that was prescribed a couple of days before, he got an injection of Excede that day, as well. Excede is an antibiotic, and a pretty powerful one because it only has to be given every fourth day. There was some apprehension about using it in a foal, but it was the best choice the vets had at that point. Rowdy had also been receiving Banamine injections every day since birth. This was to help with pain, inflammation, and to give him an over-all boost.
By the morning of the 5th day, Rowdy was much better. The vets came to have a look and advised me to keep him on the banamine, and give him another Excede injection in 3 more days. His lymph nodes were starting to shrink and his appetite was great. The heat was still too much for him to handle though, so he remained in his house stall. Every time he woke for bottles, we would take him outside…except in the heat of the day. This meant that he was out mostly at night. We slept on the couch, next to his stall, and sometimes even with him. Chris and I took shifts through the night.
On day 6, Rowdy started having problems with his left front leg. From the knee down, his leg would bend into a “C” and he would face plant into the ground! At first we thought maybe he had over done it playing and hurt himself. I called the vets, again, and they advised me to wrap it from the knee down. So, I did. It took several days to get it right, as I experimented with different kinds of wraps. During this time, he injured his knee during one of his face-plants. It was actually being caused by the contracted tendons in his front legs. He could not have the treatment to relax them, because his rear tendons were too loose and this would have made the back legs worse. So, I researched wraps and finally made one that worked well. It actually had to go above the knee and all the way down around the coronet band to work. I had to change them a few times each day. Wraps can be dangerous if not placed on a leg properly, as they can cut off circulation, and cause a host of other problems. I again called the vets to come and have a look to make sure his knee was okay and that my wrap was suitable. We had an appointment for day 10. (Remember, I am a tech and worked for the vets that called me to save him. This did give me discounts on and meds and supplies, but by this time, we had spent about $1800.00 already! We pay full price for calls and time spent on the rescues.)
Another issue we were having was that Rowdy was unable to have bowel movements by himself. He would try and try, with no results. This was causing him to build up with gas and be very uncomfortable. So, for every bowel movement until he was over 3 weeks old, he had to have a water enema. We tried everything, and I mean everything, to help. I diluted his formula, added Pedialyte, tried goat’s milk…all to no avail. The vets recommended using mineral oil a few times a day in his bottles, too. Well, about the time he was 9 days old, I noticed he was starting to look pot-bellied and his coat was getting dull. I started doing more research about what could be causing his problems, and while doing so, I learned that the pot-belly look and dull coat were being caused by electrolyte imbalances and not absorbing nutrients properly. Well, that was probably due to the mineral oil! It coats the intestines and therefore, the minerals, nutrients, and electrolytes cannot be absorbed correctly. So, I racked my brain to think of how to get the mineral oil out, and I decided to start giving him oatmeal in a few bottles each day. This did the trick…along with a lot of pedialyte mixed in his formula. Within just a few days, he looked normal again. But, this did not help with the bowel movements, which we realized were actually a problem with his intestines called peristalsis(the contracting of them to push out a BM). As he matured and started absorbing nutrition correctly, this resolved..but his poo was still too hard. Again, I went to researching and realized the FOAL LAC (don’t ever use it, regardless of the name!) uses animal fat and corn syrup solids…the two things a foal cannot digest properly. Hence, I found the formula he is now on which costs $900 a month, and can only be ordered on line and shipped here.
This was also the time we got our first helpers to come and stay with us. Cieji and Maya Dougherty…all of the way from San Fransisco! They have been long time supporters of the rescue and have become great friends…family, really. Cieji and I had talked the first day and she offered to come. I was apprehensive and said, “What if he doesn’t make it?” Well, she was willing to risk it anyway and would have enjoyed the visit, regardless. So, Maya drove and stayed for a week…Ceiji stayed an extra week after that and took the train home. Boy did we need, and appreciate, the help! We were able to get at least 4 hr blocks of sleep! Rowdy had a very predictable routine from day one…up an hour, down an hour, 24/7, so anything more that an hour of sleep was a blessing!!! And, thankfully, Rowdy had gotten over the “I only want a bottle from Mom or Dad” by the time they arrived.
The next chapter is when things really get scary…as if this is all not enough, already! But, there were about 5 days during this second week of Rowdy’s life, where we were able to bring Mea Ola to the back to see him…we celebrated his 2 week birthday with great anticipation of a bright future…only to find that things were going to get terribly worse. There were things brewing beneath the surface that I saw though, and I tried desperately to get a local vet, even the vets I worked for to address..and as crazy as this sounds…no one would! We were stood up for the 10 day old check and In the next chapter I will explain that and how Dr Sam entered the Rowdy story.
August 30, 2014:
Rowdy story, Chapter 5
Well, now enter Dr Sam into Rowdy’s story, thank God. Rowdy was still on pain medication, ulcer medication, probiotics, yogurt, and oatmeal in his bottles (and still requiring enemas). We had charts, just like in a hospital, for his daily routines. We charted when he woke up, how much he was consuming, bowel movements, and what meds he needed to have at each feeding. His routine was still one hour up and one hour down. So, for three weeks now, we had been surviving between 2 and 4 hrs of sleep each night.
On Saturday, June 14th, Dr Sam arrived in the mid morning. I had told him that Rowdy was in the house, but I guess he thought I was kidding. (We have laminate wood floors. We put down double rubber mats and made a 4x 8 stall in our living room. We had a rubber mat for a runner to the back door, and Chris made a ramp for him to walk in and out of the door to the back yard.) The look on Dr Sam’s face was priceless when he saw him, and his first question to me was, “Have you ever raised a foal?” then, “How are you restraining him?”
In the beginning I literally had nightmares about raising a “man killer.” The movie, Buck, played in my mind and that one stallion that had been raised in the house that ended up having to be euthanized at 3 years old because he was never taught manners, or that he was a horse.
It only took a few minutes for him to realize that we had moved him in out of necessity and then he was impressed with the fact that we had taught Rowdy to be respectful already. We took the first X-rays as Rowdy was asleep and saw the infection in the growth plate, like he suspected. I did not understand the severity of this until a couple of days later.
Dr Sam put in an IV catheter (under sedation) and we started Rowdy on IV Gentacin, and this was to be given in addition to the penicillin twice daily. Poor Rowdy, hated the penicillin injections…and I hated giving them.
Dr Sam explained that this bone infection was much harder to treat than a joint infection and he needed to research some options. Our plan was for him to come back later the next week for a more invasive treatment and possibly a culture from the bone.
But, the next day, I noticed that his right hock was swollen. I knew, in my heart, what this was. Sam had explained that the infection was in Rowdy’s bloodstream…that is how it got into the bone of the left rear fetlock growth plate. He had also warned me that it could be brewing in other places (joints, bones) and that he could actually die from sepsis. The infection was pumping through his heart, lungs, liver, kidneys…every organ in his body. I was to monitor him closely for additional signs of trouble, and I noticed the hock swelling immediately.
I called Dr Sam and sent pictures right away. He made plans to come back the following day, June 16th, to flush the right hock joint and try to get a culture of the left fetlock infection, as well as inject antibiotics directly in it.
That night, the hock got bigger and bigger. Rowdy did not quit eating, but had slowed down on his milk consumption. I called another tech that I worked with to come and help, one of our volunteers, and asked Chris to stay home for the procedure.
By the next morning, Rowdy was extremely painful. Dr Sam had to make two stops on the way here (he is 2 hrs away) looking for a blood collection bottle for a blood culture. It is a special bottle and would have taken us days to get one, so he was going to try and find one from another vet on the way here. And let me tell you…it was an agonizing morning of waiting! When I went to give Rowdy his penicillin injection that morning, he fought it. In doing so, the struggle made him have severe pain in the hock and he went down. He started sweating and trembling. I thought we were going to lose him. I assumed that maybe he was getting septic and going into septic shock. I called Sam, crying, asking where he was. I told him what was going on and said, “He is going into septic shock, isn’t he?” He was still over an hour away.
I sat with Rowdy, crying, and begging God to not take him. About 30 minutes later, he got up, like nothing happened. The only thing I can figure is that while struggling it caused excrutiating pain, where the was horrible pain already. And his reaction (trembling and sweating) was actually slight shock from the pain.
We got Rowdy’s stall stripped and cleaned for the procedures. We washed blankets and towels and had warm towels going in the dryer for when he would wake up from anesthesia. Sam arrived and we transformed my living room into a hospital with all of the equipment and supplies, sterile towels, etc. needed for the procedures. We did the hock first, and collected the fluid for a culture to identify what we were fighting there. We drained the infection and flushed the hock joint with saline and an antibiotic (Amikacin). Dr Sam used his fluoroscope to try and get into the fetlock next, but the bone was too hard. So we did the first perfusion to the fetlock. What that entails is putting a tourniquet about 6 inches above the fetlock, placing a small catheter in a vein that runs along the back of the fetlock, and injecting Amikacin/Saline into the vein. Then, pressure was put at the catheter site and the tourniquet left on for 15 minutes. He was unable to locate a blood culture bottle, so we only had the joint fluid to send out. He did warm me that there could be different organisms in the blood than what was in the joint…but this was all we could do.
Rowdy woke from anesthesia well. Our plan was to watch the hock and make sure it would not require a second flush. Dr Sam had researched the growth plate infection and said we had two options…the perfusions or a bone screw that would allow direct injection to the bone. The latter came with many risks that he was not comfortable with, like the possibility of adding bacteria, and because it was at the rear of the bone, going through the back of the fetlock would be risky with all of the tendons right there. He was going to call a vet he knows in Florida that had a lot of experience with these infections and get her advice.
In the meantime, we switched to all IV antibiotics, which meant he had to have an IV catheter sutured in place. His meds went like this: Ranitidine every 8 hrs, Suralfate every 6 hrs, Omeprazole once daily (these 3 for ulcers, in his bottles), yogurt and probiotics 4 times a day, oatmeal 4 times a day (in his bottles), Kpen IV every 6 hrs, Amikacin IV every 12 hrs. Charts were definitely needed!
That night, I was on the phone with Dr Sam again. I was so worried about Rowdy. He had spiked a fever of 103.2. And Dr Sam gave me some great advice that I will never forget…but I didn’t necessarily like it at all that night. He did not want me to give him Banamine to lower his temperature. He called it a “fighting” temp. He believed it was best to let Rowdy’s body fight. If it got any higher, I was to give him something, but he wanted to let him fight on his own. He reminded me that he would be here, no matter what time of day or night, if Rowdy should take a turn and the worst needed to happen (Euthanasia)…I am crying as I relive this writing it down. I could not even say that word or fathom the possibility of losing him because it would have killed me, I am sure of it! This is when I told Sam my motto as a vet tech, “Nothing dies on my shift!” It was a long night for me. I was so, so, worried. I had to let go and I had done all I could do…it was now up to Rowdy and his little body to fix this. But, about 4 hrs later, his fever broke.
To be continued…
August 31, 2014: Another great article for MOP. It summarizes the great time we had at the BBQ and the celebration of Rowdy’s victory.
September 4, 2014: Chapter 6
We left off the night of his joint flush. His fever finally broke in the middle of the night and he was feeling much better by the next morning. For the next three weeks, he had IV antibiotics. The good part about that was that I no longer had to give him injections in his muscle of penicillin, which HURT! But, we risked getting an infection in his jugular vein, or even introducing additional bacteria via the catheter. So, I was diligent about keeping it clean and we had to replace it several times. The first one lasted about 4 days. The second one, 6 days, then after that, it seemed like he figured out how to rub them out fairly quickly. If Dr Sam was going to be coming for a treatment, he would replace them, but I had to put several of them in myself. And it always stressed me out! I had plenty of experience putting in IV catheters, but it was so hard for me to have to put them in Rowdy (emotionally). Somehow, we got through it all. As you can imagine with no sleep, and all of the stress and worry, I was not always a fun person to deal with! How Chris and my friends put up with me, I will never know! One night as I was trying to put Rowdy’s IV catheter back in–he was not cooperating–and that was making me stress out even more. I managed to get it in and he was wiggling all over the place. I managed to save it several times, and as I was about to suture it in, he jumped and the whole thing came out. I chucked my suture scissors across the living room in frustration, because now, I had to poke him again and start all over!
I found myself throwing fits and crying sometimes over the stupidest things. I was worn out! We were still getting only minimal sleep. Rowdy was up for an hour and each time he was awake, he drank bottles, had to go outside for exercise, his stall had to be cleaned. We had to keep track of at least 5 different medications, make sure he got his probiotics and different supplements for ulcers in his bottles. His vitals were still watched closely and then he would sleep for about an hour. Sometimes it was easier for me to just stay up and ready everything for the next hour he would be awake. I did not do well with 45 minutes of sleep every couple of hours at night. There was too much to take care of during the day, and in the first three months, I think I got only 2 or three naps in during the day! Chris was working 7 days a week, so I would try and let him sleep. But several times, he let me sleep all night and did not wake me to change shifts. (Probably because if I didn’t sleep, he was going to kill me, lol!)
We were so fortunate to have Barbara Konney come and stay for a week when Rowdy was about a month old. She was able to take some of the night shifts that week so Chris and I could both get 4-6 hours of sleep. Next, a couple of weeks later, my parents came for 4 days and did the same for us. And, Barbara came back when Rowdy was about 9 weeks old, and helped us again for a few days!
About the time Rowdy was a month old, I switched his formula to Foal’s First, made by Progressive Nutrition. Immediately his stools started to soften and he was able to have bowel movements on his own. Dr Sam had consulted with a vet in Florida with experience in successfully treating the growth plate infections and after our second perfusion treatment and X-rays, she felt confident that we could beat this. It was slow progress, but she thought it would take at least 5 perfusion treatments, each being about one to two weeks apart. She was right! By the third treatment, June 29th, we started to see that the infection was now encapsulated. I really started to feel hopeful after the July 6th Xrays and treatment, and that is when I knew we were going to win. His hock did not require any additional flushes, but he did require 3 shockwave treatments, as it was not growing like the left hock after the infection and treatment. He received the last shockwave treatment on August 16th, so as of this writing, we are still experiencing the benefits of the last treatment and won’t really know if anything further will be needed for it. Although, Dr Sam was confident that we would not.
We did blood work to make sure his CBC was good and on July 6th Rowdy was switched to oral antibiotics. These antibiotics made him susceptible to heat stroke. So, he could not go outside much at all during the day for the next month. Once after being outside for 15 minutes at just 9 am in the morning, he came in and collapsed because of the heat. This made it more important for us to get him out for exercise during the night, so we still were not getting any sleep. He was now up to about 12 10-oz bottles an hour and consuming about 10 gallons of milk replacer a day!
He was on the oral antibiotics for four weeks. So, he has been off antibiotics for about three weeks now. At this point we introduced a bucket and it took only about 2 days to get him from bottle to bucket! We were able to finally get some sleep. But, the first week or so, he called to me anyway in the middle of the night, just for company. However, for two weeks now, we have slept all night–for the first time in 3 months. I will tell you that I still feel like I could sleep for a week straight! His only meds now are just for the ulcers. They will take many months to heal completely. He is now sleeping in his outside stall and we are currently running a fundraiser to enlarge it, once again…he keeps on GROWING! LOL. We also need to make sure it can keep him cool enough during the day as he is just now acclimating to the heat and elements for the first time in his life. It will serve as his winter stall, too and it is right outside the back door on our porch.
We did adopt Gasston, a BLM burro, for him to have a buddy and company, as it will be a few more months until he can be out with the horses. So, Gasston lives in the backyard with him, near the house. We do bring horses in for Rowdy to see and he has access to two of the horses that are next to turn out, so he can get to know them and socialize with them, too.
Our BBQ and celebration on Aug. 16th, was a perfect evening and he was a big show-off for the company. At times, I still have a hard time relaxing and believeing we are through this with Rowdy. I have had anxiety attacks now that things have calmed down, lol. However, I am looking forward to enjoying watching him grow into a healthy yearling, and beyond. He is destined for great things. So, this may be the end of the story of his miraculous beginning…but it is the begining of something much more miraculous to come. He defied all of the odds, he faced euthanasia and escaped it, he fought battle after battle, and he brought so many people together to believe in him and help him survive. We may have done the hard work, but it would have never been possible without each and every person that prayed, shared his story, and donated funds for us to keep fighting for him.
Thanks, once again, to every one of you!
Chris, Ann, and Rowdy
September 6, 2014: Rowdy meets Sassy, who is the former baby of Mea Ola’s Place.
Yesterday, two of those mares were delivered to Mea Ola’s Place.
These girls were in atrocious condition, dirty and starved. They are frightened and untrusting.
Barbara’s Gardenia, aka “Babs” is the dun and MOP’s Matilda, aka “Tilly” is a roan. They have NO idea what a carrot, treat, or even their soaked pellets are.
Tilly, the red roan, is estimated to be only three years old. She is not as insecure as Babs.
With loving care and healthy food, they will learn what love is and beome happy, healthy, and trusting as they, and their foals, have a second chance at life.
Thank you to Red Bucket for entrusting us with their care.
Please consider donating towards their care.
DATE October 17, 2013
Mea Ola needs help! Today, I came home from work to find her more lame than she has ever been. Her left front is so tired from bearing too much of the weight. Both back legs are swollen. Dr Sam has agreed to come and see her all the way from Mission Viejo. We talked history and he told me to start her right away on Doxycycline, which I am. Also, wrapped all four legs with linament. He believes he can help her and will be here Saturday, however the price tag is steep. We have set up a fundraiser for this. We just don’t have an extra thousand to do this. He suspected it would cost $700-800, plus whatever prescription shoes, blood work and new xrays, call charge from 100 miles away, sedation, etc. because even the shape of her right foot has changed since the last ones. If anyone can help, I sure would appreciate it. There is no other choice but to try him. I have exhausted all other options.
If you can help, please click on the Donate button to the left, and thank you from the bottom of my heart.
DATE October 17, 2013 5:00 pm
This horse, Mea Ola, Survivor, was destined for something, I am sure of it. I just got off the phone with Dr. Wittlin (Sam). After reviewing xrays, video, and pictures I sent, he believes he knows what is going on. However, physical exam is what is needed to have his diagnosis in stone. There is good news and bad news.
Bad news first: This is serious and may require some extreme therapy and treatments. He believes that she is dealing with digital flexor contraction…not the kind that foals have when they are buckled over, but the kind that actually pulls the coffin bone upwards and why we see her so “down” in her pasterns and fetlock joints. The right is the worst, and he believes this is why she developed ringbone to start with. He spent over an hour explaining it to me, so forgive me for not being able to explain it all. Good news: 3 treatment options. Shock therapy first. Alcohol joint injections to speed up fusion (and because she is a brat, we would probably have to lay her down for those…under anesthesia, of course) and the $8000.00 surgery to fuse the joint faster…which is basically what was done to my neck. Regardless of the cost, I told him that I would not put her through that. There is one other injectable treatment that is still “experimental”.
The kicker is that he admitted to being “sucked in” by her story and is willing to help with his whole heart and mind and experience. He asked if he could use her as a case study for a presentation he has to give next May. The answer was, OF COURSE. I told him she was already famous, LOL.
I feel like I did those days when she was battling lamimitis and pregnant. So worried. So concerned. So afraid to lose her. I told him he was our last hope. I explained how many people love her and that we have to try whatever he recommends. Bad news: he agreed.
He will be here sometime Saturday afternoon. Time to set the prayers in motion, once again.
DATE October 18, 2013 10:56 am
Morning Mea Ola update: She is off her feed again due to ulcers from the meds, which makes it is difficult to medicate her. So, back to ulcer treatment and switching meds back to Previcox. Because we are at a critical point in this and her lameness, today we are doing a DMSO/Dex SP sweat on the right pastern and standing wrap for support on the left. I will update with pics later.
DATE October 19, 2013
I had to go in for an emergency surgery at work this morning and didn’t have a chance to post, but Sam will be here about 2pm. Mea Ola is feeling pretty good today…although mornings are usually better for her. I do think the sweat wrap helped some. I am really excited and nervous, too. We will take lots of pics and video. Also, the folks are still coming to see Rosie, but it will be next Thursday at 3pm. Also go a call from some folks we met at the Horseman’s Center that are coming out tomorrow to give us a $50 dollar donation and carrots!!!
DATE October 19, 2013 11:59 am
Dr Wittlin will be here around 2pm. Thank you, Kayla, Alex, Kendra, and Lynda for all of your help yesterday. Mea Ola is feeling pretty good today, still sore of course, but the sweat wrap really seemed to help some.
DATE October 19, 2013 8:00 pm
Update: No wonder Mea Ola is hurting!!!! She has lesions on the Superficial flexor branches, both medial and lateral….Enlargement and lesions in the oblique sesamoid ligaments, deep flexor tendon pain….along with her high rinboone!! Today was treatment number one to alleviate pain and assist healing. She also has special meds for sweat wraps to that right front pastern (different meds for the front and back every day). Next treatment in one to two weeks. Thank you, Meaholics and DR Sam Wittlin. Thank you, Wendi, for the referral! Thank you to everyone that has donated. Today’s price tag: $1038.00!!! Two follow -ups for the tendons, ligaments (at about $560.00 each)….and on to the ringbone.
DATE October 20, 2013 2:30 pm
Mea Ola update: She is sore from the shockwave treatment today. It is more of a superficial soreness. She is bearing weight a little more on the right and the swelling has gone down a bunch in the left front. But, we were going to put the a special shoe on today and she is just too sore when we touch that leg (around her pastern), so Doc Sam said to wait a couple of days. She got a big kiss of support today from me and everyone who is here supporting us!
DATE October 22, 2013 8:32 am
Mea Ola is about the same this morning as yesterday morning. She was more sore last night. She does tend to be better in the mornings. I will sweat the front part of her pastern tonight, but am waiting for the meds to be delivered that I need to use on the back, and those should be here tomorrow.
DATE October 23, 2013 4:47 pm
Mea Ola update: She is pretty sore again today. The Surpass (meds) came in, so today we start that sweat. This is a hard, heart-wrenching road. The next couple of months will probably be up and down. But, we have to try! She deserves it. Mea Ola is one tough cookie!
DATE October 29, 2013
This morning Mea Ola was feeling so good that she was running around in her stall. I am hoping she didn`t hurt herself. She gets to feeling better and over-does it. I believe we will be doing her second shock-wave treatment Saturday and I am just waiting on the conformation from Dr. Sam.
DATE November 20, 2013 Noon
We will be doing more diagnostics on Mea Ola next week. It appears that her knee is now involved. Right now she is wearing standing wraps and is taking Previcox. She is a trooper and is enjoying her daily “extra” attention. I do not have to halter her for her wrap changes anymore at all.
DATE November 23, 2013
We have had ups and downs since treatment started, but she has really improved over the last few days. Now we just have to make sure she doesn’t over-do it since she feels better. She is walking better than she has in months. Thank you to everyone who donated to her medical fund! We spent that and a little more on diagnostics and treatments, as well as the medications for sweats (which continue). She also got special pastern boots and wraps for both legs. Next will be her special shoes….and we are hoping this forward progress continues!
Merlin spent his life as a succsesful show horse. Unfortunately, at the age of 20, he found himself slaughter-bound. He is such a joy to work with and is full of personality. He was shown in Country Pleasure, Western Pleasure, and as a driving horse. He is very decorated and, even 3 years ago, was still winning classes. He is a Registered Morgan gelding and stands 15 hands high. He is one of the ranch favorites and is beginner safe!
Sassy is maturing into a beauty! She should mature at 15.2 hands high and is currently about 14.1 hh. She is as smart as a whip and has learned walk, trot, canter, and whoa in the round pen. She still has about a year and a half until saddle training will start, but she will make an amazing jumper or Dressage horse. She is our beloved Sassypants and lives up to her name every day!
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Desert Mountain Veterinary
- Rick Schultz, Farrier
( 661) 713-3979 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
J & K Feed and Pet Store
16361 Yucca Street
Hesperia, CA 92345