Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ah ha moment about shipping a horse off to the sale

All this time I've been thinking judgmentally in my head about the sad adds I see on Craigslist from awful owners who want to dump their poor old horse that's too old to be pumping out babies, or ride any more. That poor old/or crippled horse who has devoted their whole life to making babies, or giving trail rides, and now that it's not useful anymore, you want to dump it at the sale. You know what's going to happen at the sale. The meat man is going to buy it, and ship it to the processor, and it's going to go for dog food. But hey, it didn't happen where you can see it, so it's ok, Right?

I see adds for horses that are permanently lame, I've know a few people who sent their horse to the sale, or have an unrideable horse out on their property and they are talking about making the decision to send the horse to the sale. "I won't keep a horse I can't use. I can't afford to keep a pasture pet." I've always looked down my nose and thought, "That is so uncaring." Euthanasia costs a lot more than some people can afford. And then there's the problem of having the deceased animal hauled away. That ain't cheap either. 

The past year or so we've had to sell two great horses. My daughter's paint gelding and my husbands paint mare. Both sales were thought out this way. I know I can sell this horse to pay for the feed for the remaining horses. I can get more money for the horse I am selling than for the ones we're keeping. It was a hard hard decision to sell them. I didn't want to do it. I hoped like hell that the money fairy would come visit, I could bury my head in the sand, and everything would be ok. We're down to two horses. I know we can afford to buy hay for two horses. No more. We could maybe have kept three, but they would have been three skinny, sorry looking horses come spring if there was a brutally cold winter. That's just something you can't predict.

Now I'm faced with a gelding going blind. This is my heart horse. He's small, he's got steep shoulders, an ewe neck, thin chest, scrawny mane and high withers. And I love him. He walks out faster than any other horse I've ridden, he will come over and let you love on him all day, he loves to go out and see the world and ride all day, and he's got ERU, and eventually will be totally blind. He's only 7.

I know I can afford to feed two horses.

I'm going to miss out on a lot of the riding plans we had for the future. I can't take him hunting up in the mountains. Even with sight in one eye, his depth perception is shot. Sure people ride and compete on completely blind horses all the time. On The Flat. Not in the mountains. Some of the places we ride I've asked myself, are we really going to make it out of here with out some one going ass over tea kettle, and needing a trailer to come haul us out?

I can afford to feed only two horses.

So all of a sudden I'm faced with the thought of what so many other horse owners must go through when they realize they have a horse they can't use. I won't ship him to the sale. If he ever becomes a danger to himself or others, I'll have him euthanized and rent a back hoe. But I see where the thought of I have to get a different horse when the one I have isn't useful anymore. I need a horse for Scott, and I need a horse I can ride all over the mountains and desert and back, and Apache might not be that horse for much longer.

All of a sudden I find myself realizing where the people I've looked down my nose at are coming from, and it's not a nice place to be. 

Diagnosis of equine recurrent uveitis

Apache went to the vet Friday afternoon. The vet he saw used to work at the  Equine Ophthalmology Clinic here in Idaho. He said it's definitely ERU. He's lost most of the sight in his left eye, and he could see the beginnings of damage in his right eye. This is really disappointing news. I knew what the answer was going to be before we even went to the appointment, but I still hoped. 

I remember this summer Apache's eye clouded over. I saw three little white spots in his eye. I thought maybe he had rubbed it from irritation from the heavy fly problem we had this last year. I had gotten some 2 oz Animal Ophthalmic Gel and treated his eye twice a day for a week and a half till the cloudiness and the irritation went away. All summer long he squinted and had weepy eyes. Looking back, these are all symptoms of ERU. All along he's had hazy, not crystal clear eyes. 

The vet isn't 100% sure if it's just the fluid/gel inside the pupil that the lens rests in that is the problem, or if it's the lens itself in the left eye. If it's just the gel, then there is some hope for him to regain some of the sight back. In the right eye, he's sure it's just the fluid in the back of the eye. Either way, the fluid will eventually crystallize  and the lens will cloud over completely in both eyes. 

This was a great website with some reasons for ERU, and support for the owner.

Right now we're putting a steroid ointment in his eyes twice a day for a week. Let me tell you that trying to argue and wrestle with a 900 pound horse when it's 10 degrees outside first thing in the morning is not a pleasant experience. I have to have my gloves off, he doesn't want to stand still, he doesn't want me mucking about with his eyes, and all he has on his mind is FOOD. I have done some research and it looks like I'm going to be adding a low dose aspirin to his feed once a day. It helps keep the inflammation down, and looks like it may also help in preventing flare ups. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Frozen frost free hydrants and equine recurrent uveitis

I love my husband. Our "Frost Free" hydrant froze the other day. This is the spigot you see sticking up out of the ground on with the handle that looks like an old water pump handle. As long as you disconnect the hose and drain it well, it's supposed to keep from freezing up even when the faucets off the house won't work. Supposed to being the key word here.

The way the are designed to work is there is a little tube coming off the pipe towards the bottom, and this drains into a little gravel pit. The water in the pipe drains out, and there is nothing to freeze inside the pipe. Somehow it seems that ours got plugged. The ground is frozen solid right now, with no hopes of digging four feet down to clear it out. We got some heat tape for it and that was working great, no issues. Well until Tuesday that is.

Scott got home Tuesday morning after I had watered Mon night, and it was froze up. The heat tape plug had come undone from the extension cord. He plugged it back in and we hoped for the best. Tues evening when I got home, it had come unplugged again. Still frozen.

I unplugged the tank heater, I knew they were going to drink it down far enough over night, that I didn't want the tank heater to burn up. Scott, bless him, got up at 7 in the morning to go work on it. He was out there with the propane weed burner trying to unfreeze everything. He dug out the soggy ground around the pipe and was able to get down far enough to get it all flowing again. Took him four hours. I had to run into town and get him more propane before I left for work. He put more heat tape on it, fixed the plug so it would stop falling out, and so far, everything has been fine. It'll be a major project come spring to make it all work again the way it's supposed to.

Equine recurrent uveitis

This is the way a hosre's eye should look. Even for an old man, the eye is clear, the pupil is black.

Apache's eye is not looking like that. The eye itself has a haze over it. The inside of the pupil looks like there is silver shining out from the back. There is non of the crispness in the colors of the iris like Ben's eye.

Even the right eye has a haze over it. I talked to my sister and it doesn't look good. As quoted from, "Equine recurrent uveitis, sometimes known as moon blindness, is a disease of the horse's eye that can be caused by many different things -- bacteria, virus, parasites, or trauma.
    Signs that an eye is in distress include redness, swelling, pus, pupil constriction in the dark, cloudiness, squinting, and photophobia. Uveitis is often diagnosed as something far less serious and valuable treatment time is lost. If not treated aggressively from the onset, there is less chance of saving sight in one or both eyes. Unfortunately, even with very aggressive treatment, some eyes cannot be saved, but in other cases the disease can be halted or at least slowed down." There is more literature on their page.  

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Orange Vinegar Cleaner

That glass jar that's been sitting on my counter since Thanksgiving has been getting, "The Look." That look that silently asks me if I'm aware I have a jar of something that looks like it might be a disgusting something I forgot to wash. I just giggle. It's my new batch of orange cleaner. After a while the vinegar gets thick as it drawls all the oils out of the peels, and the orange leeches out leaving them a grey-ish sort of color. It does look a little like a jar of something that was pushed behind something else on the counter and forgotten about. I did forget to take an after pic.

 I finally got a chance to use my new cleaner today. I used it on the laminate floors and all the counter and table tops. I was really happy with it all around.

The Recipe
One large glass jar
White vinegar
Orange peels
I throw the orange peels in the freezer until I have enough to fill the jar. Fill the jar with vinegar after all the peels are in. Tighten the lid and forget it. Well don't completely forget it. I shook and flipped mine once a week, so it's good to leave it on the counter where you'll see it. Leave for 6-8 weeks.

Using it, I strained the liquid into a plastic spray bottle. I got about a cup and a half of concentrated cleaner. I added some hot hot water to the jar with the peels and swished it around. That stuff is thick. I filled the sprayer almost full the rest of the way and went to cleaning. Next time I think I'll use a larger glass jar. I'd like to have some straight concentrate to try on the greasy stuff in the kitchen.


Try these other posts