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DiDi - Whither goeth SHe?

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  • Pony with a dry cough following lot of wet weather

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    04-30-2012, 11:11 AM
  #251
Trained
Article on EMPF
     
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    04-30-2012, 11:40 AM
  #252
Yearling
Yes, my Googling found that site and a few others. It wasn't clear from Barry's earlier posts in the thread that DiDi was conclusively diagnosed with this. Either way, I'm sure he'll find the best solution for her. I'm just saying, there could well be options closer.
     
    04-30-2012, 03:34 PM
  #253
Started
Silver,
DiDi's two afflictions - a history of severe ulceration and EMPF - effectively mean that her future is constricted to being retired perhaps as a companion horse. Coincidentally my horsey friend, who owns a fully equipped equestrian property currently needs a companion for her own retired horse.

One of the problems with EMPF is that the common symptom which DiDi herself displays is a repetitive dry cough. Some days there is nothing to be heard, on other days, such as today, the coughing comes on in bouts. There's no mucous - just a dry 'smokers' cough. On DIY livery yards such as my neighbour's, horses with coughs are not welcome in case they be seen to be a source of infection for other horses. This one significant issue of coughing makes my taking DiDi back to that yard inappropriate, even though EMPF is not seen to be infectious. The lung condition is associated with Equine Herpes Virus 5 - which lies dormant in some horses.

I now have the offer at an affordable cost to place DiDi on my friend's yard where she will be safe and constantly supervised by the staff. I can't personally offer DiDi better conditions even if I could find, local to where I live, suitable fenced and watered land for short term renting. Neither do I have a companion horse for her.

As the vet has said, DiDi needs some time to recuperate. Time is needed to see whether the ulcers heal and the lung condition stabilises. EMPF is a newly recognised condition and any prognosis is not necessarily accurate.

Six summer months of supervised rest and recuperation, put out on clean grassland, gives DiDi that chance to stabilise. The die is cast. It is up to DiDi. There is nowhere else viable to go. On a sports yard, a very different decision based on simple economics might already have been made by the professionals.

The next hurdle is to get her safely through the 140 mile journey to the green verdant valley.

B G
     
    04-30-2012, 04:05 PM
  #254
Showing
Barry, I'm struggling to come up with the right words. So sorry to hear this.

I hope she has a safe, uneventful trip to her new green pasture. I will keep you both in my prayers.
     
    04-30-2012, 11:34 PM
  #255
Yearling
Barry, DiDi is fortunate to have you as her advocate and friend. Here's wishing that her vacation and tincture of time will restore her health....
     
    05-02-2012, 10:23 AM
  #256
Started
EMPF an implacable enemy.

The plan was to drive DiDi the 140 miles over to my friends pad on Thursday and there was pressure for me to confirm the booking with the horse transport contractor. My thinking was to get her to her new pad as soon as possible. But a bout of coughing was already making me rethink. I decided to let the driver make the decision as to whether he felt he could cope in case of an emergency. He had confidently agreed to accept the job but of course he did not know the horse. We made plans for the route. Subsequently I drove over to the vet to collect the ulcer medicine which would be needed n the coming months. Finally I drove home with a lot on my mind.

As it happened there wasnít to be much sleep for me that night. The rain came pouring down adding yet more water to the floods already raging across Western England. Britainís archaic road network which was laid down by the Romans and the pack horse drovers of Medieval times does not cope with modern levels of traffic on good days let alone those when Mother Nature interferes with snow, ice, hot sunshine or heavy rain. The thought of taking DiDi 140 miles in the wet when road blocks are to be expected because of localised flooding was weighing heavily upon me. Yes, DiDi has been driven thirty or so miles to competition but to get to the Home Counties would take three to four hours including some stops. If she were to stumble and fall or freak out during the journey then we might find ourselves in a layby miles from safety. .Another complication was that the driver of the hired transport was unknown to me. I decided to review the situation in the morning.

When I awoke and as soon as was acceptable I phoned the yard to check on DiDi. Again, because of the storm, she had slept overnight in her stable. She seemed a bit better but she was still coughing. The lanes around the stable yard were partially flooded because of the rain and more wet weather was forecasted. It would be only fair to the transporter to tell him of my fears about travelling. I phoned my friend who was to give long term shelter to DiDi but she had already left for the day. The Countess would not be able to make the journey with us because she had a long standing hospital appointment Once on the list, if she were to forgo her booking then it might be months before she was offered another appointment. The British NHS might be free at point of delivery but delay in treatment is endemic in the system. It would be unfair to ask her to cancel. But the result was that the Countessís expertise which might be invaluable on the journey were something to go wrong would not be available to us.

I felt that the omens were stacking up against us. So finally after much soul searching I cancelled the move. The risk of an incident were too high. I accepted that DiDi would have to stay where she was until she had almost stopped coughing and until the spell of wet and windy weather had passed over. There was no other option open to me. Finally it came home to me that without my friendís help with the private and safe grazing I had no other alternatives. DiDi would have to stay where she was for the time being. The question loomed: for how long?

I realised that having cancelled the journey should have to explain to my friend clearly and in detail the exact nature of EMPF and that it is a progressive lung disease with no known cure. It is only the rate of progression in a horse which is the variable. Roughing her off was to reduce stress and so help to prolong her life however now my plan for DiDi to enjoy a long .lazy hot summer in idyllic surroundings might be mere star gazing on my part

The scenario had changed, yet again. I was running out of options. Even if I got DiDi over to my friendís property then there would be no coming home for her Hopefully she would get an extra lease of good life but for how long? No one would know the answer.

I decided to phone the vet that had originally vetted DiDi when I bought her to ask him for a second opinion. Over the phone I explained the circumstances as best as I could He listened quietly and eventually said that things did not look good. Since a couple of separate ailments were involved, the best treatment for one malaise might impact on the other health issue(s). The lung issue was the fundamental matter, and whilst the ulcers could to a certain extent be managed, the cough might induce stress on the horse and react with the ulcers. He felt that unless I could guarantee to the horse a stress and pain free life it would be wrong to perpetuate that life. Not enough was currently known about the cause and development of EMPF. Steroids were a partial treatment for relief of the symptoms but they come with side effects and the increased risk of laminitis.. The only known medication was an horrendously expensive tablet, which itself did not always work. His final words on the subject in a calm voice were that in his opinion the likely best course of action in the circumstances would be to put her down.

Despite my every twist and turn in order to find a solution the inevitable was looming. My delightful, clever, pretty dapple grey mare was approaching her nemesis. The virus was winning.
     
    05-03-2012, 12:05 AM
  #257
Yearling
Oh, Barry..... What a sad time for you as you grapple with these decisions. I will keep you and DiDi in my prayers.
     
    05-03-2012, 09:32 AM
  #258
Started
Today was to be the day she was to travel 140 miles to my friends property for a sabbatical of rest and recuperation. When I reached the yard DiDi immediately came over to me. Now whether this was a token of affection, or a realisation that she would be doing something, or whether it was because she knew there would be some pears in my pocket - who knows?

"Where's my pear?" So OK I gave her a bite. Then I led her back to the hitching area to give her a groom. Instantly I felt the need to fight with her.
There was to be no lethargy today and there wasn't. She was standing badly, she didn't want to be touched, she fidgeted, there was a dull look in her eye and even though double tied she worked to evade the brushes. I could not get near her hind quarters on the right hand side. She was fractious in the extreme.
Of course with persistence and patience, I managed to give her a light grooming. I swopped over one of her day rugs. I washed her face, I combed her tail. But the only time she enjoyed the grooming was when I washed her face and rubbed it dry with a towel. Throughout the process I slipped her a feed pellet treat which she snatched at and so in an attempt to calm her down I chopped up a juicy pear. Slobber, slobber, slobber she went. But one pear did not improve her mood.

Eventually she was tidy again and I decided to lead her in hand to nibble on some young fresh grass which I know she enjoys. But it was tricky to keep control of her. I should have used the knotted training halter rather than a simple head collar. She tugged, I pulled but I believe she got some pleasure from the grass. Finally I put her back into her paddock. During the whole process I counted six dry coarse coughs but apparently she had been coughing before I arrived.

If I had planned to lunge her,which of course I had not, then she would have flipped and fought me. That was her mood. No way was she lethargic.

The question came to my mind, - say we had not cancelled the drive and we had set out - what would have been the result? I had to admit that we would have been lucky to complete the 3.5 - 4 hour drive without incident. She would have been kicking the bulk heads and waving her head about for sure. It was just as well I had cancelled the drive. The coughing alone made the journey problematical.

Amazingly my friend has confirmed her willingness to take her - even if she remains an irritable mare. But first I have to get her over there. The decision has been made to give DiDi the very expensive medication for EMPF for a two week trial - so long as the insurance company will approve. We await their decision.

So everything is back on hold. DiDi has got a further reprieve of three weeks. She is a fighter if nothing else.
     
    05-03-2012, 09:48 AM
  #259
Showing
Keeping my fingers crossed Barry.
     
    05-05-2012, 09:57 AM
  #260
Trained
My thoughts and prayers are with you and DiDi.
     

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