A case of acute ulceration
A painful piece of paper came through the letterbox today it was a bill for almost £1750 - say in round figures $2500 representing the testing for, the finding of and the medication to treat ulcers. Luckily my mare is covered by horse insurance for the vet’s bills.
As I looked down the bill I see the amount for the drugs proscribed - £800 say $1200. Some pharmaceutical company is making a fortune. But as you might guess, if questioned they’d say :
“Wasn’t your horse worth it?” In this case I must answer: ‘yes’. But can I always say that?
I have absolutely no idea as to why she became infested with ulcers -
Apparently she has level 4, the most serious condition and what is more she has been suffering for some time. The photos are attached.
How we got to the diagnosis is worthy of discussion but maybe this is not the place for a detailed review of how I insisted that there was something wrong with her; something which would give her pain enough to make her highly disagreeable - in fact dangerous to handle. My guess is that the staff at the clinic thought I was a silly old man who was imagining her pain. Even on the day the ailment was discovered we had already been told by two vets that ulcers were unlikely. They suggested that some early signs of arthritis were the most likely cause of any pain, but I knew better. Finally at around 2.30 - five hours after entering horse clinic, she was finally diagnosed with ’chronic ulceration’. We left with the gold dust - the medication.
She’s been dosed up with medication now for a couple of weeks and soon we shall find out if the ulcers have started to heal over. The insurance company will probably cover her against ulcers reappearing for twelve months as a maximum. After that the bills will be for me personally.
The problem is that since I do not know how she ’caught’ them , how can I make sure it doesn’t happen again? Are the walls of her guts damaged irreparably by the existing invasion of the sores and open scars? What shall I do if they return?
One thing is for sure, the ideas I once had about passing her on as a sports horse are now out of the question. If in future she is exerted to any stress then in theory the ulcers will return. If she goes through an inadvertent period of malnourishment they might return. If she comes under stress in her environment, they might return. And if she has reason to undergo another batch of treatment, the question arises as to whether I should let her be subjected to it. After all, she has got that funny cough, which is nothing to do with infection and also an Xray which shows the first signs of arthritis in her wither. And we still don’t know why sometimes she stands oddly.
Today she is standing listless and still in her paddock. On a sunny day she is taking in the rays. She has no energy even if I only work her gently on the lunge. Any effort seems to exhaust her.
Is that the side effect of the treatment or is it the healing process?
On Thursday we take her down to have the camera stuffed down her throat again. There will be the journey, the arrival at a strange place which smells funny and the humans in white coats. Will she panic when she sees the vet approaching? That horrible man will first prick her with the needle and then move towards her with the invasive camera.
As her carer I am supposed to be positive, but I don’t feel that way.
Apparently it is all for her own good - but how can I tell her that?