DiDi - Whither goeth SHe? - Page 28
   

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DiDi - Whither goeth SHe?

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  • Keeping an old horse alive with steroids
  • Is it cruel to keep a horse with cushings disease alive?

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    05-13-2012, 02:58 AM
  #271
Yearling
Oh my. I can't even express how sad it is to read that your dear Didi is in this shape. I'm so sorry for you, and for her. I know it might not help, but you have a forum full of people supporting whatever decisions you may or may not make for Didi.

I once made reference to what a wonderful person you are for keeping Didi foremost in your plans. I'd like to say again, Didi is very fortunate to have an owner who is truly planning for her comfort above all else.
     
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    05-13-2012, 05:06 AM
  #272
Started
Ladies, thank you for all the kind words. Very much appreciated in these sad times.

The thing about horses is they get under your skin. Along with dogs, they arouse such strong emotions in sensitive humans. They take over your life.

DiDi is not a horse for everyone. She can be pushy at times and she never has been a novice ride. Her pretty looks deceive. She has a mind of her own which one comes to tolerate and accept. She has been a dominant mare in the herd. But once met with, you'll not forget her.

But when one watches such a strong character slowly wilt in the fight against a silly persistent, merciless cough it is hard not to cry. You hear the dry sound, even if you are some distance away, and nowadays I am beginning to count the frequency. And then sometimes there comes a sequence of coughs - which I suspect are in some way associated with mood of the moment -as if a bout of nervousness can induce a cough.

In the meantime we wait for the curse of modern man - paperwork - to wend its relentless way to a decision.
     
    05-13-2012, 09:27 PM
  #273
Green Broke
My thoughts and prayers are with you.
     
    05-15-2012, 06:14 AM
  #274
Started
The Insurance company gives the go ahead.

Yesterday I arrived at the stables to find The Countess in despair. DiDi had been coughing badly. We had left behind a video camera which had recorded the scene of DiDi wretching. I could not watch the video run through to the end of the recording. It was horrific to watch and to listen to. The horse at times could barely stand. EMPF is indeed a cruel disease. Then slowly the coughing slowed and finally stopped, only to start up, luckily in milder form, a few hours later. DiDi was exhausted.

I decided to immediately take the video to the vets who are located about 5 miles away. We waited for the specialist vet and then showed the video to him. He watched almost disinterestedly, he had seen it all before. ‘You either treat or euthanase’ he said - politely but bluntly. At that moment I was ready to say that we would bring the horse up to the veterinary hospital that afternoon but putting her down had to be a three way decision.

The Countess was for euthanasia except for the ramifications of putting her down for ’social’ reasons. Any ‘authorised’ euthanasia had to be within the conditions laid down by BEVA - the vet rule book which stipulates the treatment for horses in need of treatment for a recognised health condition. If we did not follow those rules, then the insurance company would not pay towards the costs of any disposal of carcass etc. Anyway the vet felt there was a chance for DiDi to respond to treatment but he accepted that before she got better, if indeed she ever did, then she might get worse. He accepted that the caring humans surrounding the horse would pay a high price for watching and listening to DiDi’s distress. But the rules say that all possible treatments must be given and there was still one available for use, an anti viral drug normally kept for use by humans. The trouble was a human may weigh 100 kilos whereas a horse weighs more than 500 kilos. The dosage rates are very different.

We phoned the insurers. They needed to speak with the vet. The vet was, as usual elusive. Emails, and even telephone calls are not answered. We phoned again. Finally we got the approval for treatment which should start today. Vets don’t like putting finger to keyboard, that’s for sure.
In about two weeks time, if we get that far, we‘ll know if the drug works, We‘ll know then if DiDi is to live or to die.

In looking back over the course of this ailment, one things sticks in our mind that the coughing got worse after she had been treated briefly with steroids, drugs which are known to have harmful side effects. I’ll be careful before giving permission to use steroids again. However at my feet sits my Rottweiler who is cursed with Cushings Disease and it is only the steroid tablets which keep him alive. It was steroids which allowed my terrier to walk. Who am I to say anything? I am merely the caring owner of a very sick horse and an ailing dog.

All this emotion, all the sleepless nights, all the rushing back and forth, is in order to give a 12 yo horse who might never ever be ridden again some extension of life. Yet out on the moors of Southern Britain are dozens of healthy cobs who have been abandoned by their owners. I can now see for myself the dilemma being faced by owners who cannot afford to keep a horse in these times of economic hardship. In a way, I can understand that perhaps it is better to let the horses run wild on the moor as once they did, than to desert them in a small fenced off field which sooner or later will be grazed bare and drank dry.

I am calm now. I have arranged to pick up the tablets. DiDi’s life is ordered for another two weeks. The die is cast.

After this is over, one way or the other, we’ll both be set for a prolonged period of rest and recuperation.
     
    05-15-2012, 06:52 AM
  #275
Yearling
So sorry to hear this. At least you have the drugs now. Fingers crossed they do something for her.

Your vet sounds a bit lacking in the empathy department.
     
    05-15-2012, 07:48 AM
  #276
Started
Silver, "Lacking' - I could use another word.

But in two weeks we shall know - 'life' or 'the beyond'
     
    05-15-2012, 08:06 AM
  #277
Yearling
Hugs to you, the Countess, and Didi.
     
    05-15-2012, 09:19 AM
  #278
Green Broke
Oh my, I did not realize she was only 12. I just cannot imagine the agony of the decisions you are facing. With two seamingly disinterested parties weighing heavily in the mix, the insurance co and the vet, it must be that much more difficult. The best to you and your girl.
     
    05-15-2012, 02:31 PM
  #279
Started
At last. I collected the tablets, which are an anti viral medication for humans.
An adult takes one tablet three times a day - DiDi is to take 22 tablets, three times a day.
DiDi has herpes - maybe that is how she contracted the disease by getting too close to another of her species. The pills are for the same as humans. The possible side effects read like a list of what you don't want to know about.

However, this maybe is the first day of rehabilitation. Maybe she's got a chance. Mercifully she ate the pills when smothered with sugar beet and honey, all fed from the bucket by hand. She gobbled it up.

When I left her. For the first time in ages she was her obnoxious self. She bronked around her field because a storm was brewing. She was coughing, yes but she was full of the joys of Spring.

It is up to her now. I've supplied the medication, it is for her to make use of it.

She's got two weeks more to say 'She's worth it'..
     
    05-15-2012, 04:59 PM
  #280
Started
I have to ask if lung cultures have been done via teams tracheal wash. Se almost sounds as if she has a fungal issue going on in there, which steroids would exacerbate. Here we have a fungus called blastomycosis which causes much the same and that's what makes me wonder.
God bless her and her humans.
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