For as long as I can remember I grew up around horses. We always had horses around the house and I got to know how to take care of them at a very young age. My dad and granddad taught me all I know about taking care of them, cleaning stables, grooming the horses and just enjoying their company.
Over the years I’ve seen happy horses, sick horses and had to let one of my biggest friends go. She taught me a lot and I still miss her at times, I sometimes walk into the stables half and half expecting her to greet me as soon as I walk in, but I know that will never happen again.
Luckily for me I still have two of her friends to take care of. I’m very grateful to have my two horses in my life and have them located so close to home. Unfortunately one of them, my little friend Dribbel, got sick a few weeks ago. He wasn’t walking properly and although it didn’t seem too severe yet, the vet was called in to check on him. She told me she was suspecting him of having cushing, along with laminitis. The conclusion of laminitis didn’t really surprise me, I recognised it in the way he was walking and standing (the reason the vet was called in, laminitis is not innocent)
Little Dribbel was tested for cushing through a blood test, and he tested positive for it. Cushing is caused by overproduction of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) by the pituitary gland. In horses it results in numerous symptoms including laminitis. There is medication to treat cushing, the only thing is horses have to continue to take it, it’s not a matter of a few weeks, but a lifetime. It also takes about 6 to 8 weeks for the medicine to start working. Once the cushing is under control it’s easier to treat the laminitis. He’s now on this medicine and hopefully in a few weeks we will really start to see results.
Like I mentioned before, laminitis is not that innocent. It can be caused by many things, including being overweight and getting too much high nutritious food, but also by cushing. Dribbel’s laminitis is caused by his cushing and once under control he will always be very vunerable to get it again. Laminitis can even cause death, something I’d rather not think about.
Where Dribbel was walking and standing a bit funny in the beginning, his laminitis has gotten progressively worse over the past week. The vet has been out a few times over the past week to check on him and to give him more painkillers to keep him comfortable but last Thursday he was bad, very bad. So I called the vet in again and she confirmed what I thought; his laminits has gotten extremely worse. She suggested to have x-rays taken to see if his coffin bones in his hoofs have been sinking. Once they have sunken down in his hoof they can’t be placed in the right position again. They could even end up penetrating the hoof if untreated.
Yesterday the mobile x-ray unit came to our stables to have Dribbel’s x-rays done, only to reveal what I feared; both his coffin bones have sunk. I’m happy our vets are honest and said they see an option for him to be treated and continue on his merry way, yet at the same time they also let me know that there is a possibility he might not make it through, that I have yet again let one of my friends go.
Right now I don’t even want to think about that last option, We’re going for his treatment 110% and try to look on the positive side of things (as far as there is one). Currently he’s on painkillers for his laminitis, and of course his cushing medicine. Since the start of his latest prescription of painkillers I can see a huge difference, he’s more comfortable walking around albeit still not as he should be but how can he with his sunken coffin bones. I’m just very pleased to see he’s alert, eating, walking and even playing the occasional joke on his humans.
Apart from all his medicine the farrier will be here this week to work on his hoofs to change the way he stands on them. By changing the way he stands we can hopefully bring back the position of the coffin bones closer to how they are supposed to be; parallel to the hoof walls. This takes time as they can’t do it on one go. So hopefully in time both the cushing medicine and the farrier’s work will give a positive result a pain free happy horse…
For now I’m focussing on all the positive there is and hope he pulls through, I really don’t want to have to miss my little friend. He’s such a little rascal making me laugh every day. I hope to be able to be the pun of his jokes for a long time to come.